Mission & Values

Harvard’s Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology (CCB) takes an interdisciplinary approach to discover new chemical phenomena, design technologies for a more sustainable and healthy world, and craft novel medicines for uncurable or intractable diseases.


CCB's inclusive, supportive, and innovative community collaborates with a vast network of university- and hospital-based research and education programs. With the creative power of diverse perspectives, we can explore new chemical frontiers and build the next generation of innovative scientists and educators. We educate and train scientists at all career stages and across disciplines, including undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral scholars.


Our Mission & Values

Our mission is to make critical discoveries and advancements in both chemistry and chemical biology, in basic discovery and applied or clinical settings. We are committed to transforming research ranging from sustainable energy technologies to human disease, and to training the next generation to explore creative new frontiers through a vast range of disciplines.

We see scientific exploration as a service to humankind, and diversity of discipline, background, and perspective as essential to its success.



CCB is a starting point to launch innovation networks and cross-disciplinary collaboration. Our faculty collaborate across sectors with research institutions at Harvard and across the world, entrepreneurs, industry researchers, and discovery scientists in a wide range of settings, always with the goal of translating discoveries into solutions.


A Brief History

1771: The Erving Professorship of Chemistry, named for William Erving, Harvard graduate and British army major, was the first gift for chemical education in the newly formed United States.

1819: The first American chemistry textbook, "The Elements of Chemical Science" was written by John Gorham, the Harvard Erving Professor of Chemistry.

1850: In the basement of University Hall, Harvard built its first experimental chemistry laboratory to teach undergraduates. It had no gas or running water.

1860: The first American chemical physics journal, "Elements of Chemical Physics" was written by Josiah Parsons Cooke, the Harvard Erving Professor of Chemistry.

1877: Harvard's first Ph.D. in chemistry was awarded to Frank Austin Gooch, a mentee of Professor Cooke.

1914: Theodore William Richards is the first American recipient of a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in determining atomic weights.


Academic Degrees

We offer three separate undergraduate degrees in chemistrychemistry & physics, and chemical & physical biology as well as two distinct graduate degrees in chemistry and chemical physics. 


CCB By the Numbers

Over 500 people work, research, study and teach in the five-building, 200,000 square foot chemistry complex.

Faculty Snapshot
Senior faculty 22
Junior faculty 5
Emeritus faculty 6
Other academic 78
Education Snapshot
Total students 417
Postdoctoral fellows 139
Graduate students 158
Undergraduate concentrators 56
Non-CCB students in CCB labs 64
Staff Snapshot
Total staff 64
Core department staff 10
Finance 11
Faculty support staff 24
Research staff 8
Undergraduate education staff 6
Centers and core facilities staff 3
Facilities 2

Faculty Honors & Awards


7 Nobel Prize Laureates
Martin Karplus2013
Jack Szostak, 2009
E J Corey, 1990
Dudley Herschbach, 1986
William Lipscomb, 1976
Robert Burns Woodward, 1965
Konrad Bloch, 1964
3 Wolf Prize in Chemistry Recipients
Stuart Schreiber, 2016
Charles Lieber, 2012
E J Corey, 1986
9 National Medal of Science Recipients
George Whitesides, 1998
Dudley Herschbach, 1991
E J Corey, 1988
Konrad Bloch, 1988
Frank Westheimer, 1986
E. Bright Wilson, 1975
Paul Bartlett, 1968
George Kistiakowsky, 1967
Robert Burns Woodward, 1964
5 Priestley Medal
George Whitesides, 2007
E J Corey, 2004
Frank Westheimer, 1988
George Kistiakowsky, 1972
James Bryant Conant, 1944
9 Welch Award
Charles Lieber, 2019
Richard Holm, 2016
David Evans, 2013
Christopher Walsh, 2010
George Whitesides, 2005
Jeremy Knowles, 1995
William von Eggers Doering, 1990
Frank Westheimer, 1982
Paul Bartlett, 1981
E. Bright Wilson, 1978
Japan Prize E J Corey, 1989
Kyoto Prize George Whitesides, 2003
Albany Prize Xiaoliang Sunney Xie, 2015
Blavatnik Prize
Xiaowei Zhuang, 2018
Adam Cohen, 2014
3 National Academy of Science Award in Chemical Sciences
E J Corey, 2002
Richard Holm, 1993
Frank Westheimer, 1980
Dreyfus Prize in Chemical Sciences George Whitesides, 2009
Eni Award for Innovation in Energy Roy Gordon, 2019


Bolded names are current members of our faculty