Feb 23, 2024  
2020-2021 Scripps Catalog 


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Professors Armstrong, Black (on leave spring 2021), Fucaloro, Gould (on leave fall 2020), Hatcher-Skeers, Higdon, Landsberg (on leave spring 2021), Milton, McFarlane, Preest (on leave fall 2020; spring 2021), Purvis-Roberts, Tang (on leave spring 2021), Wenzel, Wiley
Associate Professors Coleman, Edwalds-Gilbert, Ferree, Gilman, Leconte, Robins, Sanii (on leave spring 2021), Schmitz, B. Williams, N. Williams
Assistant Professors Budischak, Chandrangsu, Finseth, Marzen, Monroy, Sheung, Solomon-Lane, Van Arnam (on leave fall 2020)
Laboratory Lecturers Davis, Dershem, Otte, Purser

The W. M. Keck Science Department of Claremont McKenna College, Pitzer College, and Scripps College allows students to fulfill the college requirements in science and to pursue advanced studies as majors or as supplementary studies to related fields. Because of the significant role of science and technology today, a knowledge of the methods and concepts of science is considered an essential part of a Scripps College education. The department curriculum, taught by a broadly trained science faculty, offers general and advanced courses and the opportunity for individual research projects. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the department’s in-service training opportunities, such as laboratory, research, and teaching assistantships.

The department offers courses of study for the student interested in enlarging understanding of natural phenomena and courses for students desiring a major in biology, chemistry, physics, or some combination of these areas. An interdisciplinary major in biology/chemistry is available to those students whose interests overlap both fields. Contact Professor Hatcher-Skeers for specific details of the program. A major in neuroscience is available for Scripps students who wish to pursue a multidisciplinary study of the biological bases of behavior. Interested students should contact Professor Coleman. Premedical and environmental emphases made possible by the above majors are two particular strengths of the department. Additional courses in science are offered at Harvey Mudd and Pomona Colleges.

Requirements for majors in biology, chemistry, or physics include the successful completion of a certain minimal number of courses and of an individual research project that culminates in the writing of the senior research thesis.

A combined degree program in engineering with Harvey Mudd College is also available. Course sequences are arranged in consultation with Professor Gould and other members of the department.

The Science Management Program is designed for students who wish to enter business organizations with a scientific-technical emphasis. Interested students should consult with Professor Wenzel.

W.M. Keck Science Department Common Learning Outcomes

Students completing a major in the W.M. Keck Science Department should demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Use foundational principles to analyze problems in nature.
  2. Develop hypotheses and test them using quantitative techniques.
  3. Articulate applications of science in the modern world.
  4. Effectively communicate scientific concepts both verbally and in writing.

Keck Science Faculty Research Interests

The faculty and the areas in which they are particularly willing to direct independent study are as follows:
J. Armstrong: Genetics, cell and molecular biology; chromatin dynamics and gene regulation in the fruit fly.
K. Black: Organic chemistry; reaction mechanisms studied by computational techniques.
S. Budischak: Disease ecology; host-parasite interactions; immunology; physiological ecology; co-infection and community ecology.
P. Chandrangsu: Microbiology; molecular biology, biochemistry, microbial stress response.
M. Coleman: Neurobiology, neurophysiology, neural basis of behavior, neural control of auditory-vocal learning in songbirds.
G. Edwalds-Gilbert: Cell and molecular biology; pre-mRNA splicing in yeast.
P. Ferree: Genetics, molecular biology, and early development of Drosophila (fruit flies) and Nasonia (jewel wasps); chromosome structure and evolution; host-pathogen interactions.
F. Finseth: Genomics; evolutionary biology; genetics; selfish evolution, sexual selection, adaptation and speciation in Mimulus (Monkeyflowers).
A. Fucaloro: Physical chemistry, especially emission and absorption; molecular spectroscopy; electron impact.
S. Gilman: Marine ecology; invertebrate biology; climate change ecology; biophysical ecology; population biology.
S. Gould: Scanning probe microscopy; physics of sports.
M. Hatcher-Skeers: Applications of nuclear resonance spectroscopy in determining the structure of DNA and other biological macromolecules.
J. Higdon: Astrophysics; fluid dynamics; biophysics.
A. Landsberg: Non-linear systems: pattern formation, bifurcation theory, chaos, Josephson Junctions.
A. Leconte: Biochemical investigation of evolutionary intermediates.
S. Marzen: Reinforcement learning, biophysics, rate-distortion theory, prediction
D. McFarlane: Evolutionary ecology; biogeography; late Quaternary paleoecology and extinctions.
J. Monroy: Neural control and mechanics of animal movement; muscle physiology; comparative animal physiology.
M. Preest: Physiology and ecology of animal energetics; thermal biology of terrestrial ectotherms; osmoregulatory physiology; herpetology; muscle physiology.
K. Purvis-Roberts: Chemistry of urban air pollution, primarily aerosol; public policy aspects of air pollution.
C. Robins: Applications of soil science research to challenges in geomorphology, plant ecology, and environmental science.
B. Sanii: Experimental physical chemistry; self-assembly and bio-inspired folding of soft materials.
L. Schmitz: Functional and evolutionary vertebrate morphology; paleobiology; evolution of vertebrate vision.
J. Sheung: Biological imaging, cellular regeneration, active matter, soft matter, optical spectroscopy, diffractive optics, physics laboratory curriculum development
T. Solomon-Lane: Neural and developmental basis of behavior, neuroendocrinology, social behavior.
Z. Tang: Cell and molecular biology, biochemistry; cell cycle control in yeast.
D. Thomson: Conservation biology, population modeling, ecology of biological invasions, plant ecology and plant/pollinator interactions.
E. Van Arnam: Natural products chemistry and chemical ecology; structure, function, and evolution of microbial metabolites.
A. Wenzel: Catalysis, asymmetric synthetic methodology.
E. Wiley: Molecular biology; genetics; chromatin structure in the ciliate Tetrahymena.
B. Williams: Paleoceanographic reconstructions on recent timescales from marine climate archives.
N. Williams: Fundamental late-metal organometallic chemistry, mechanisms of basic organometallic reactions.

Areas of Study


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