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Natural Sciences Programs

The Pomona College science faculty and facilities are among the best of any undergraduate institution in the nation. Libraries, laboratories and computer facilities are comparable to those at major universities, with the important distinction that Pomona’s resources are wholly dedicated to undergraduate education.

Students profit from close and frequent interaction with faculty beginning with introductory lab courses. The opportunity for collaborative research with faculty gives students the experience, unusual for undergraduates, of doing original investigatory work in science or mathematics. A range of summer internship programs allows Pomona science students to take advantage of research opportunities on and off campus.

Pomona science students are regularly awarded National Science Foundation, Watson, Luce and other fellowships and are offered admission to professional schools and medical schools at a disproportionately high rate, even among the most highly regarded colleges and universities in the nation. In a study among liberal arts colleges, Pomona ranked fifth in the number of science graduates who went on to earn Ph.D. degrees.

Biology

The Biology major permits students to gain both a broad background in the field and a sub-specialization such as evolutionary biology or cell and molecular biology. With a new, state-of-the art building and extraordinary field and laboratory resources, the department encourages and empowers students to engage in collaborative research. Faculty: 15 (Research interests include: developmental genetics, the biology of aging, adaptive solutions for terrestrial colonization, origins of the genetic code, stress physiology, seed dispersal, food web dynamics.)

Chemistry

The Chemistry major introduces students to the experimental and theoretical methods for understanding phenomena at the atomic and molecular levels. With a broad array of modern instrumentation—including equipment that is seldom available to undergraduates—the department offers a curriculum rich in hands-on research experience. Faculty: 12 (Research interests include: self-assembly of nano-materials, new methods for determining solution conformation, detectors in microanalytical systems, phase transitions, quantitative structure-activity relationships.)

Computer Science

The Computer Science major permits students to explore the nature of computation, with applications ranging from designing sophisticated programs to understanding how the mind works. With a remarkable new facility, the department offers a full range of courses to meet the needs of both majors and non-majors. Faculty: 5 (Research interests include: the design of programming languages, computer security systems, efficient methods for solving large linear algebra problems, artificial intelligence, multi-platform support.)

Geology

In the Geology major, students work closely with faculty to examine geological problems ranging in scale from microscopic to interplanetary, using fieldwork, laboratory analysis and computer modeling. Proximity to the San Gabriel Mountains, the Pacific coast and the Mojave Desert offers unequaled opportunities for field research. Faculty: 5 (Research interests include: volcanology, igneous petrology, land use issues, the mechanics of fault systems, geological records of the Cambrian Explosion, comparative surface formation on Venus, Earth and Mars.)

Mathematics

The Mathematics major offers four tracks: the general track; pure mathematics (for those interested in math for its own sake or planning graduate study); applied mathematics (individualized curriculum suited to such fields as economics or the physical sciences); and statistics (theory and practice of data analysis). Faculty: 12 (Research interests include: functional analysis, topology, geometry, combinatorics, dynamical systems, differential equations, knot theory, operator theory, matrix analysis, complex analysis, algebra, number theory, statistics, applied mathematics.)

Molecular Biology

Molecular Biology majors develop a strong background in the study of biological macromolecules and the means by which they mediate the chemical processes of cells, regulate gene expression and define cell structure. This interdisciplinary major is supported by the Biology and Chemistry departments. Faculty: 12 (Research interests include: protein/DNA interactions, chemically modified biological structures, enzymes of hydrothermal vent organisms, microbial genetics, microtubules and molecular motors, molecular evolution.)

Neuroscience

Neuroscience majors become part of the fastest-growing field in experimental biology—the integrative study of the nervous system and behavior. The interdisciplinary studies in this program may be capped by a special study-abroad opportunity at University College London, one of the foremost centers of neuroscience research. Faculty: 8 (Research interests include: the cognitive components of memory, synaptic physiology and plasticity, synaptic formation, mechanisms of neurotransmitter release, sex-related differences in hemispheric specialization.)

Physics & Astronomy

In the Physics and Astronomy major, students study the fundamental properties of matter and energy, stressing the experimental determination and quantitative description of nature. For this purpose, Pomona provides a remarkable array of state-of-the-art equipment and advanced facilities in physics, astronomy and astrophysics. Faculty: 10 (Research interests include: biophotonics, nonlinear optics, computational fluid dynamics, super-thin films, gravitational wave detection, remote sensing of star-forming regions, galaxy evolution.)

Psychology

The Psychology major provides students with the conceptual background to understand human behavior. The major includes laboratory courses in such areas as cognition and neuroscience. A fieldwork course in clinical psychology provides the opportunity for students to experience the link between psychological theory and clinical practice. Faculty: 11 (Research interests include: language and aging, cultural variables in cognition, multidimensional signal-detection and memory, multicultural education, adaptive assumptions of control, war and community-based interventions.)

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