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Facilities and Departmental Instrumentation

Bair Family Center for the Sciences

The Bair Family Center for the Sciences is named for the family of the Montana pioneer and rancher Charles M. Bair. Completed in 1981, Rocky Mountain College's Bair Science Center houses the chemistry, biology, physics, geology, and mathematics disciplines and also contains classrooms, teaching and research laboratories, seminar rooms, and faculty offices.

The construction of this facility was made possible through a major gift from Ms. Alberta M. Bair, the daughter of Charles Bair, together with additional gifts from other donors to the RMC Second Century Fund.


Students in chemistry courses at Rocky use many of the analytical instruments traditionally found in chemical and biochemical research laboratories. This hands-on experience with instrumentation begins in the general chemistry labs and continues throughout the entire laboratory teaching program.

The instrumentation routinely used by undergraduate students in our teaching labs include:

Nanalysis 60 MHz NMR Spectrometer

Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) is primarily used by chemists to determine or verify a compound's molecular structure. This instrument is also used to monitor the progress of chemical reactions, analyze the purity of samples, conformational analysis, kinetic studies, and more. Our NMR is configured to analyze 1H and 13C nuclei.

Shimadzu GC-17A Gas Chromatograph

Gas chromatography (GC) is primarily used to separate a liquid mixture of easily vaporized components. GC separation techniques find widespread use in all fields of science where mixtures of liquids or gases must be separated into the individual components.

Shimadzu Multispec 1501 Photodiode Array UV-Vis Spectrophotometers

UV-Vis spectroscopy is used to identify and quantify a wide range of compounds and materials that absorb light at either visible or ultraviolet wavelengths. Common applications are the study of rates of chemical reactions, the study of metal ions and their complexes, and the study of biologically active compounds.

Perkin-Elmer Spectrum Two FT-IR Spectrometer

Infrared spectroscopy is primarily used to identity the functional groups present in organic compounds, and it is also widely used in the chemistry industry for process control.

SpectrAA 220 Atomic Absorption Spectrometer

This extremely sensitive analytical instrument is used to detect and quantify single elements in samples. One practical application of atomic absorption spectrometry (AA) is in the determination of heavy metal concentrations in water supplies.

Agilent 1100 Series HPLC

High-performance liquid chromatography, one of the most powerful tools in analytical chemistry, is used to separate, identify, and quantify the components of a chemical mixture. HPLC analysis is used for analysis in pharmaceutical chemistry, food science, cosmetic chemistry, environmental chemistry, forensic science, and industry.

NanoBrook ZetaPALS

The NanoBrook ZetaPALS utilizes phase analysis light scattering to determine the electrophoretic mobility of charged, colloidal suspensions. This instrument is used to analyze proteins, nanoparticle, and colloidal-sized materials suspended in a non-absorbing liquid.

Additional instrumentation used in our laboratory program includes:

Eppendorf Mastercycler Gradient PCR Systems, BioRad Biologic LP Low-Pressure Chromatography System, Amicon Ultrafiltration System, Bausch & Lomb ABBE-3L Refractometer, several electrophoresis systems.