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!!


Kay Rowberg


Dr. Kathryn Rowberg’s Environmental Chemistry Class (CHM 32400) were shown the ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer) and XRF (x-ray fluorometer) in the analysis laboratory at the Field Museum in Chicago.


Dawit Gizachew Speaking at:

The 28th Purdue Water Institute Lecture Series
Friday, October 30, 2015

Title: Myctoxins: Detection and Analysis

Abstract: Toxins that exist naturally are major concerns for food safety globally including in the USA. Mycotoxins are toxins that are produced by certain fungi that can grow on a variety of crops. Some of these mycotoxins include aflatoxins, ochratoxins and Fusarium toxin. In order to determine their effect on both human and animal health, various analytical techniques and methods have been designed. Methodological approaches including detection techniques, risk assessment, consumption data analysis, and biomarkers of exposure will be discussed. Many countries have adopted regulations to limit the level of mycotoxin exposure, therefore, their presence is not only related to the effect they might have on consumer health, but may also have an impact on world trade. For example, recently the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) reported that mycotoxins were the main hazard for border rejection in the European Union. Among these toxins, aflatoxin is one of the most highly toxic metabolite of Aspegillus fungi that can contaminate animal feed. There are different types of aflatoxins including B1, B2, G1 and G2. Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is the most toxic form of aflatoxin and it has been found in most feeds and foods and is highly carcinogenic, causing liver cancer in humans. In addition, Cows that consume AFB1-contaminated feed excrete aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) in their milk. This means that milk and other dairy products may contain toxins that pose threat to humans, particularly children who consume it. Preliminary data on the studies of aflatoxin level in animal feed and milk will be presented.


Chemistry & Physics Faculty Participate in
Friday University 2015 – October 23rd & 30th

Fakes in the Art World

Instructor: Kay Rowberg

Crime is crime but for some, there is something tantalizing and even romantic about the theft of great works of art. Ever wonder how experts determine whether a newly acquired piece of art or artifact is real or a forgery? Building upon her popular Friday U class “Inventing Color in Art,” Purdue’s Kathryn Rowberg exposes both the artists’ techniques in creating fakes and the latest technology used to identify forgeries. Hear accounts of how a few infamous artists, sleuthing scientists, and art conservators worked to uncover evidence of fraud. 

The Origin of the Universe

Dr. Neeti Parashar

Come join Purdue Calumet’s internationally acclaimed physicist, Dr. Nettie Parashar, for an examination of the evolution of the universe from a scientific point of view. Without using any mathematics, students will examine the Big Bang Theory, Black Holes and Particle Accelerators. Dr. Parashar will share her contributions into the recent discovery of the Higgs Boson, better known as the “God Particle,” and the Large Hadron Collider, the largest scientific machine ever built. A gifted teacher and lecturer, Neeti Parashar was widely acknowledged as a major contributor to the 2013 award of the Noble Prize in Physics. And she’s right here on campus!


Fall 2015 Undergraduate Research Awards Recipients

Faculty Mentor                            Student

Robert Kramer                    Robert Maldonado

Kathryn Rowberg                Ellis Dawyne Moore, Jr. and Sam Wagman

Dan Suson                          Arturo Garcia



New Chemistry Faculty Member

 Dawit Gizachew, Ph.D.

Welcome, Dawit Gizachew!