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Dates of existence
The Department of Chemistry at Simon Fraser University was founded in 1965 as a charter department in the Faculty of Science. The Department has been responsible, through its Head, for the promotion of research and the development and delivery of programs in organic, inorganic, physical, theoretical, nuclear chemistry, as well as biochemistry. It became known for its breadth of programs and was unique in Canada for its involvement in the nuclear field, which is commonly found in physics departments.
The Department offered degrees at all levels from the beginning. Honours and majors degrees in Chemistry are awarded at the B.Sc. level and after a separate program in Biochemistry was instituted in 1968, similar honours and majors degrees in Biochemistry were added. In addition, minor programs are offered in all areas. A joint program with the Physics Department in Chemical Physics was initiated early in the history of the Department, and in the early 1980s, a joint Nuclear Science minor program with the Physics Department was started. An undergraduate cooperative education program began in 1982.
Administratively, the Department began with a Head of Chemistry who was appointed without term. In 1968 this was changed to an elected Head which, in turn, was changed to a Chair in 1972. In addition to the elected Departmental Tenure Committee, there were 3 main standing committees charged with the responsibility of ensuring the smooth and effective operation of the Department's business. They were the Undergraduate Studies Committee, the Graduate Studies Committee, and the Appointments Committee, which also acted as a long-range planning committee. These committees were appointed by the Chair and, in the case of the Undergraduate and Graduate Committees, had separate chairs. There were additional minor committees such as the Space Committee and the Safety Committee. Departmental operations were also assisted by Academic Advisors in Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the Graduate Admissions Officer. The Laboratory Coordinator (formerly the Departmental Assistant), helped with many administrative tasks.
The Department has been involved with TRIUMF (Tri-University Meson Facility) since its establishment in 1974, which marked the beginning of a major local research program in the nuclear sciences and associated areas. A long-standing research collaboration with members of the Department of Biological Sciences, called the Chemical Ecology Research Group, was formed in 1981.
During the Department's first year 12 faculty members were appointed. After an initial rapid increase in the next few years, the Department had a relatively stable number of 26 permanent faculty members by 1986.