The foundation of chemistry education in Thailand

The Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University has a rich heritage and a long history. Chemistry education in Thailand actually began in 1910 even before the establishment of Chulalongkorn University, formerly called the Civil Service College. The Faculty of Arts and Science, one of the four faculties, established in 1918, was responsible for teaching the basic science courses for medical and engineering students.

Chemistry I Building
Professor Dr.Tab Nilanidhi

Professor Dr.Tab Nilanidhi

The bachelor program was established in 1934 by Professor Dr.Tab Nilanidhi, who was awarded a full scholarship from The Rockefeller Foundation to pursue his doctorate degree in chemistry at Cornell University. He is the first Thai with a doctorate degree in chemistry who is a prominent contributor to the evolution of the Department of Chemistry.

1st Generation graduates

1st Generation graduates

The first generation of chemistry students graduated with bachelor degree in 1935. The Department later launched a Master of Science program in 1941 and became the first Chemistry school in Thailand with curricula for both undergraduate and graduate levels.

One of the first four departments of the Faculty of Science

Once the Faculty of Arts and Science was divided into 2 separated faculties in 1943, the Department of Chemistry was then established as one of the 4 departments of the Faculty of Science. The Doctorate program was not started until 1993. In addition, many of graduate programs have evolved from multidisciplinary collaborations among various departments with the Department of Chemistry. We celebrated 100 year of chemistry teaching in Thailand that is originated from The Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University in 2010.

Chemistry II Building

Global collaboration

During 1976-1983, The Department of Chemistry was the headquarter for UNESCO Regional Network for the Chemistry of Natural Products in Southeast Asia. That is when the first research unit, Natural Products Research Unit (NPRU), was established. A visit by Professor Jean Marie Lehn, a Nobel Laureate from Louis Pasteur University, as a plenary lecturer initiated a strong collaboration between Chulalongkorn University and Louis Pasteur University in France and led to an exchange program for students and faculties. Many Ph.D. graduates from Louis Pasteur University have later become faculty members of the department. As a consequence of this collaboration, another prominent research unit named Supramolecular Chemistry Research Unit (SCRU) was established. SCRU, in fact, received Science and Technology Award from the Thailand Toray Science Foundation in 2001.

Establishment of Research Units

Another collaboration that marks the success of research is the one with Innsbruck University, Austria that began in 1988. The Computational Chemistry Unit Cell (CCUC) was soon established after that and has become one of the most productive research units in the department. Thereafter, there are 7 additional research units that are full of potential and have been supported by Chulalongkorn University. They are Chromatography and Separation Research Unit, Environmental Analysis Research Unit, Materials Chemistry and Catalysis Research Unit, Organic Synthesis Research Unit, Research Centre for Bioorganic Chemistry, Sensor Research Unit, and Electrochemistry and Optical Spectroscopy Research Unit.