The Catholic University of America

Welcome to the Chemistry Department

The Department of Chemistry offers several programs that lead to the B.A. or B.S. degree. The curricula are designed to prepare the student for a career in industry or secondary education, for admission to a graduate program in chemistry or biochemistry, or for admission to medical school.

           Dr. Greg Brewer, Chairman  




A Brief History


The Chemistry Department at CUA was founded in 1895.   The Martin Maloney Chemistry Laboratory, now Maloney Hall, was built in November, 1917.  Maloney Hall was  named for Martin Maloney, a papal marquis from Philadelphia, Pa., who gave $120,000 for the main building and $100,000 for the auditorium. During World War I, a Chemical Warfare unit was stationed at Maloney Hall and there developed the War Gas Lewisite. This gas was first produced by Fr. Julius A. Nieuwland, C.S.C., the first Ph.D. in 1904 from the Department. He was later a Professor at the University of Notre Dame and  synthesized Neoprene or the first synthetic rubber.

A distinguished chemist, Francis O. Rice served as Chairman of the CUA Chemistry Department from 1938 to 1959  where he performed research in chemical kinetics and free radicals. 

The founder of the department, Rev. Dr. J. J. Griffin, stated that portraits of chemists helped the students to be “constantly reminded of those eminent workers who laid the foundation and aided the development of the science.” Some of his portraits of prominent chemists are located in The Hall of Chemical History in the west wing of the second floor of Maloney Hall.

    Fr. Julius A. Nieuwland                    F.O. Rice
      Photo by Jim Bohning                

Rev. J.J. Griffin  

  The Maloney Hall Chemistry Laboratory




Contact Us


Chemistry Department
NBIO - Rm B-51
The Catholic University of America
620 Michigan Ave NE 
Washington, DC 20064

Phone: 202-319-5385
Fax: 202-319- 5381

Email:  The CUA Chemistry Department

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Prof. Vadim Knyazev

Gave a presentation on “Kinetics of Hydrocarbon Radical-Radical Reactions in the Gas Phase” at the Institute of Chemical Physics at the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow. That same day, he gave another presentation titled “Structure and Practices of Higher Education in Physics, Chemistry, and Related Fields in the United States of America.” He gave a June 4 presentation titled “Chemical Kinetics of Unimolecular and Recombination Reactions of Radicals in the Gas Phase” at the meeting of the Scientific Research Council at the Institute of Chemical Physics at the Russian Academy of Science. He gave a presentation titled “Kinetics and Mechanism of the Reaction of Vinyl and Hydroxyl Radicals” at the Sixth European Combustion Meeting held June 26 in Lund, Sweden.






Matthew O’Reilly (B.S. 2010) ,
attending Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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