The department of chemistry at Newman College was established and the academic functioning started in the year 1964, to teach chemistry in the intermediate courses. The Pre-degree laboratory was setup during the year 1966. The tremendous all-round development of the department started in the year 1967, with the introduction of 3 year degree course in Chemistry under the leadership of Prof. V.A. Mathew as head of the department and Fr. Mathew Palamattam, the then Principal of the college. The Department crossed yet another milestone when M.Sc. course in Chemistry was introduced in the year 2001. Department has separate laboratories for B.Sc. & M. Sc students and for project/research works. The students are given apparatus for their individual use at the beginning of the academic year and they return it at the end of the year. They are always directed to compensate for their loss. At present the total strength of PG students and UG students are 24 and 130 respectively. The department has been producing excellent results for the B.Sc. / M.Sc. degree programmes for the past four to five decades including many top ranks of the university. The curriculum of the UG course was revised in 2009-2010 academic year and choice based credit and semester system (CBCSS) was introduced. Credit and semester system (CSS) was introduced in the post-graduate level during the 2012-2013 academic year.
At present, the department has 10 faculties, out of which 7 are permanent and 4 adhoc. Among faculty members 4 have PhD as their highest qualification. Six research scholars are doing their Ph. D thesis under supervision of faculty members of chemistry department. Many major/minor research projects are successfully completed and one major and one minor project are ongoing. Extensive research activities, which are undergoing in the department is reflected in the number of outstanding publications in the international journals. The teachers of the department often present their research works in national/international conferences and seminars. The department conducts an endowment lecture (V. A. Mathew memorial endowment lecture) and a quiz competition (Sr. Jose Mary memorial) every academic year.
The chemistry department has 22 former faculty members and of them, Prof. V. A. Mathew, Prof. Rev. Sr. Jose Mary and Prof. (Dr.) K. U. Joseph were called to their heavenly abode. All other former faculty members frequently visit the department, which in fact inspire and support us, in all our work. The department utilize the experience of retired faculty members and seek their opinion in every developmental activity.
The department is proud of its alumni, many of whom are serving in various fields and contribute towards nation building process. The chemistry alumni forum is very active and organizes an annual meeting on 26 December of every year.
The chemistry department has two research laboratories with many modern instruments. The former is supported by Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) and University Grants Commission (UGC) and the latter is the laboratory for Materials Science Research supported by Department of Science and Technology (DST) under FIST scheme of SERC. The FIST laboratory has advanced facilities such as Infrared (IR) Spectrometer, UV-Vis-DRS spectrometer, Electrochemical work station and Fluorescence spectrometer. The lab has additional facilities such as UV-spectrophotometer, low-temperature ultracentrifuge, rotary-evaporators, shaker and other common lab equipments needed for material science research. For research purposes Digital Autoclave, Homogenizer, Innoculum hood, Deep freezer etc were installed in the KSCSTE supported research lab for cellulose based nano composites. The physical chemistry lab has many facilities to conduct experiments, such as, in Colorimetry (photoelectric colorimeters), Potentiometry (potentiometers), Conductivity (conductometers), Refractivity (refractometers), Polarimetry (polarimeters) etc. We have one electrical and five electronic balances (2 digit, 3 digit & 4 digit accuracy).
As for the extension activity, we assist our local farmers by providing them the facility to test the dry rubber content of their rubber latex since 2011.