Steven T. Shipman
Assistant Professor of Physical Chemistry
Division of Natural Sciences
New College of Florida


I am a physical chemist, which means that I'm particularly interested in obtaining a quantitative understanding of chemical phenomena from firm grounding in basic principles in atomic and molecular physics. At New College, I teach these concepts in the two semester Physical Chemistry sequence.

Physical Chemistry I, offered in the fall semesters, is primarily concerned with quantum mechanics and how the quantum nature of electrons leads to many of the concepts that make up 'chemical intuition'.

Physical Chemistry II, offered in the spring, is concerned with thermodynamics and moves from a single molecule picture to a many molecule picture and shows how basic qualities of the interactions between molecules lead to macroscopic qualities like freezing and boiling that we're familiar with from everyday life.

In addition to these courses, I also teach General Chemistry I (the first semester in the two-semester introduction to chemistry sequence) as well as the Physical Chemistry Lab. I've also sponsored numerous tutorials and ISPs. More information about these can be found on the teaching page.



My research is focused on the study of the rotational and vibrational motions of small molecules (5 - 10 atoms) at room temperature and modest (1 - 100 mTorr) pressures. The technique I use for these studies is called RT-CP-FTMW spectroscopy, which stands for Room Temperature Chirped Pulse Fourier Transform Microwave spectroscopy. A picture of the spectrometer is on the left.

In the New College spectrometer, a high-powered microwave pulse covering nearly 5 GHz of bandwidth is used to polarize a molecular sample contained in a 10 meter length of coiled waveguide. After the polarizing pulse passes through the sample, a fraction of the molecules continue to emit microwave radiation in phase. This signal is detected in the time-domain and Fourier transformed to give a frequency spectrum.

For more information about the molecules that I study and how this technique works, please see the research page.