Chemistry / Biochemistry
Department Chair:
Rebecca Whelan

Administrative Assistant:
Rachel Wysocki

Department Email:

Phone: (440) 775-8300
Fax: (440) 775-6682

Science Center A263
119 Woodland St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Office Hours: 8:00-noon | 1:00-4:30pm

Norman C. Craig

Norman C. Craig

Norm Craig

Norman C. Craig,

Emeritus Professor, (at Oberlin 1957-2000) retired in 2000


Educational Background

  • Bachelor of Arts, Oberlin College
  • Doctor of Philosphy, Harvard University



Research Interests:

Infrared/Raman spectroscopy and vibrational analysis of small fluorocarbons; determination of equilibrium molecular structures from the analysis of high-resolution infrared and microwave spectra and quantum chemical calculations.

Research focuses on semi-experimental equilibrium structures of interesting small molecules such as butadiene, the isomers of hexatriene, and the isomers of 1,4-difluorobutadiene. To obtain such structures a suite of isotopically substituted molecules must be synthesized and high-resolution infrared spectra (for nonpolar species) or microwave spectra (for polar species) recorded. Ground state rotational constants are extracted from the detailed analysis of these spectra. With the aid of quantum chemical calculations the ground state rotational constants are converted into equilibrium rotational constants, i.e., for the molecule with all its atoms at rest, and a structure is fitted. These structures are accurate to 0.001 Å and can be used to assess structural responses to pi-electron delocalization and fluorine atom substitution. Such structures can also be compared directly with those computed by quantum chemistry from first principles. This work is done in cooperation with scientists at other institutions in the U.S. and abroad. Oberlin students participate in many phases of the work during the academic year, Winter Term, and the summers.

Physical Chem, General Chem, Chem & Environment

Contact Info:
PH: 440 775 8664  
FAX: 440 775 6682

Feature articles:

C&EN article

Research Award


Representative Publications:

  • "Vibrational Spectroscopy of 1,1-Difluorocyclopropane (DFCP)-d0, -d2, and –d4; the Equilibrium Structure of DFCP," Norman C. Craig, David Feller, Peter Groner, Hong Yuan Hsin*, Donald C. McKean, and Deacon J. Nemchick*, J. Phys. Chem. A, 2007, 111, 2498-2506.
  • "s-trans-1,3-Butadiene and Isotopomers: Vibrational Spectra, Scaled Quantum-Chemical Force Fields, Fermi Resonances and C-H Bond Properties," Donald C. McKean, Norman C. Craig, and Yurii N. Panchenko, J. Phys. Chem. A, 2006, 110, 8044-8059.
  • "Equilibrium Structures for Butadiene and Ethylene; Compelling Evidence for Pi-Electron Delocalization in Butadiene," Norman C. Craig, Peter Groner, and Donald C. McKean, J. Phys. Chem. A, 110, 2006, 7461-7469.
  • "Analysis of Rotational Structure in the High-Resolution Infrared Spectrum and Assignment of Vibrational Fundamentals of Butadiene-2,3-13C2," Norman C. Craig, Michael C. Moore*, Amie K. Patchen*, and Robert L. Sams, J. Mol. Spectrosc, 2006, 235, 181-189.
  • "Cementing the Foundations of Thermodynamics; Comparison of System-Based and Surroundings-Based Definitions of Work and Heat," Eric A. Gislason and Norman C. Craig, J. Chem. Therm., 2005, 37, 954-966.
  • "Let's Drive 'Driving Force' Out of Chemistry," J. Chem. Educ. 2005, 82, 827-828.