The Department of Chemistry and Physics

Photo of the Department of Chemistry  Physics faculty members

First row: Kathryn Rowberg, Libbie Pelter, Maria Longas, and Dan Suson Second Row: Robert Kramer, Adam Rengstorf, Michael Pelter, Norm Relich, Harold Pinnick, and James Lesniak

The Department of Chemistry & Physics at Purdue University Calumet provides baccalaureate degrees with several concentrations available in both areas. Faculty in our department have a breadth of experience in a wide range of sub-disciplines within chemistry and physics, and most are actively engaged in research. Both chemistry and physics majors are regularly involved in research projects with faculty and collaborators at other universities, laboratories and observatories. For more information on both the chemistry and physics programs at Purdue Calumet, click on the appropriate links to the left.

Department Head’s Message

Welcome to Chemistry and Physics!! Our department teaches chemistry, physics, general science, astronomy, and earth and atmospheric science courses – about 10,000 credits per year. These courses include traditional chemistry, physics, and astronomy courses as well as forensic science, brewing science, nanotechnology, polymer chemistry, and energy efficiency improvement. Research is as varied as the coursework and includes aging studies, star clusters, neutrinos, organometallics, chemical education, environmental pollution sources, drug design, high energy physics, quasars, purification techniques, and nanotechnology.

Our proximity to Chicago is a big plus for Chemistry and Physics. Two unique national laboratories — Argonne and Fermilab – are about an hour away. Also, there are many companies in this area which rely on chemistry and hire many chemists

We also are excited by the recent funding of a telescope to be installed in Lowell. This will be a big boost to our astrophysics efforts.

Our Department has much to offer – look over these pages and see!!

Purdue University Calumet

Dept. of Chemistry & Physics

2014 Outstanding Student Award

Daniel Suson and Devin Whitten

Daniel Suson and Devin Whitten




Adam Rengstorf Named Academic Director of Summer Science Program

Photo of Adam Rengstorf

    Dr. Adam Rengstorf, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Purdue University Calumet, has been named Academic Director of the 2014 Summer Science Program (SSP) campus at the New Mexico Institute of Technology. For the past two summers, Dr. Rengstorf has taught at SSP’s California campus as Associate Academic Director.

Each summer since 1959, the Summer Science Program hosts 36 of the world’s top high school science students and immerses them in hands-on astronomical research: imaging and measuring the speck of light from a near-earth asteroid, and writing software to calculate its orbit from those measurements.

This central project is supplemented with prominent guest speakers and behind-the-scenes field trips to Magdalena Ridge Observatory, the Very Large Array of radio telescopes in the New Mexican desert, and more.

SSP is operated by an independent non-profit, in cooperation with Caltech, MIT and host campuses New Mexico Tech and Westmont College. Complete information is at



Photo of Libbie Pelter, James Lesniak and Peggy Gerard in Lab, holding framed certificate 

Going the Extra Mile with a Smile Award
Recipient for Fall 2013
James Lesniak

Chemical Technician, Department of Chemistry and Physics

Congratulation’s, James on a job well done!  This award recognizes clerical, service and administrative professional support staff within Academic Affairs who have exhibited exemplary customer service and have gone beyond the expected to provide noteworthy service to the University. 

Jim is known and respected for his contributions to the Department and the University. 

Jim was nominated by Libbie Pelter. She had this to say about why James deserved to receive this honor; “Jim does an amazing job keeping our labs running efficiently.  He does his job with such professionalism that he serves as a great face for the department and a terrific role model for the students.  He deserves recognition for the job he does everyday, but this semester he has really gone the “extra mile” working to make sure our teaching and research labs meet the highest possible safety standards.  He has been serving on our safety committee and has spent countless hours researching best practices and safety requirements. He has also been working hard to see that this good idea is put into practice, starting with his stockroom and the teaching areas.  Jim definitely deserves this recognition!”