Gordon G. Brown, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Chemistry; Coordinator of the Chemistry and Chemistry Education Programs
(843) 383-8089
Ph.D., University of Virginia
B.S., College of William and Mary

"I love teaching and doing research with students at Coker College. I teach chemistry and physics courses, and I work with students doing research in microwave spectroscopy."


My research background is in microwave (MW) spectroscopy.  In this research, it is possible to learn amazing amounts of information about molecules by how they interact with microwave radiation. We cannot see the molecules, but we can find out accurate and precise information regarding their shapes, including bond lengths and bond angles.

Coker College students have built a one-of- a-kind Fourier transform microwave spectrometer. This spectrometer uses modern, high-tech equipment to generate broadband microwave pulses and detectors. No one sells MW spectrometers; we have built our own.

Once built, the microwave spectrometer is applied to the structures of environmentally important molecular systems.

  • We study the attractive interactions of carbon dioxide and several organic molecules.  This will lend insight into the intermolecular forces between the CO2 and the binding molecule. This insight will be valuable for designing effective materials for carbon trapping, which is the process of storing carbon dioxide so that it is not released as a greenhouse gas.
  • We are currently studying energy differences in various shapes of chemicals important in combustion engines. These energy differences affect the rate of the reactions, the efficiency of the engines, and the environmental impact of the exhaust gas.
  • In related research, we use sophisticated software to perform quantum chemical calculations. These calculations are used to predict, interpret, and analyze the experimental data we measure with our microwave spectrometer.


My teaching interests include physical chemistry, general chemistry, analytical chemistry, and physics. I love giving students problems that make them think in new ways. I especially enjoy laboratory classes where students get to become scientists as they discover the physical world around them. And they get to "play" with cool (science) toys.


2016-2018 American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (ACS-PRF), “Measuring Conformational Energy Differences using Pulsed-Valve CP-FTMW Spectroscopy,” $70,000.

2013-2016 National Science Foundation – Chemical Measurement and Imaging – Research at Undergraduate Institutions (RUI). “Low Frequency Microwave Spectroscopy of van der Waals Complexes,” $144,213.

2016 South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) Student/Faculty Research Program, $3,060

2014 EPCSoR GEAR Research Experiences Program, January, 2013. ”Chirped-Pulse Microwave Spectroscopy of Halogen-Bonded Complexes,” $22,000.

2011-2013 American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (ACS-PRF), “Rotational Spectroscopy Investigation of Interactions between Carbon Dioxide and N-containing Cyclic Compounds” $50,000


Sydney Gaster, Cameron Funderburk, and Gordon Brown, “Microwave Spectrum of the 2,3-Difluoropyridine-CO2 Complex,” Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, October, 2016, Columbia, SC.

Gordon Brown, “Lots of Numbers: Microwave Spectroscopy at a Small College,” Invited talk, Department of Chemistry, University of Georgia, March, 2016, Athens, GA.

Sydney Gaster, Taylor Hall, Sean Arnold, Deondre Parks, Gordon Brown, “Chirped-Pulse Microwave Spectroscopy in the Undergraduate Chemistry Curriculum,” International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy, June, 2015, Champaign, IL.


Kyle N. Crabtree, Marie-Aline Martin-Drumel, Gordon G. Brown, Sydney A. Gaster, Taylor M. Hall and Michael C. McCarthy, “Microwave spectral taxonomy: A semi-automated combination of chirped-pulse and cavity Fourier-transform microwave spectroscopy,” J. Chem. Phys., 144, 124201 (2016).

M. A. Martin-Drumel, A. Roucou, G. G. Brown, S. Thorwirth, O. Pirali, G. Mouret, F. Hindle, M. C. McCarthy and A. Cuisset, “High resolution spectroscopy of six SOCl2 isotopologues from the microwave to the far-infrared,” J. Chem. Phys. 144, 084305 (2016).

Miranda Smith*, Brandon D. Short*, April M. Ruthven*, K. Michelle Thomas*, Michael J. Hang, Gordon G. Brown, “Chirped-pulse microwave spectrum and ab initio calculations of four distinct conformers of 3-vinylbenzaldehyde,” J. Mol. Spectr., 307, (2015) 49-53.

Caroline C. Womack, Marie-Aline Martin-Drumel, Gordon G. Brown, Robert W. Field, Michael C McCarthy, “Observation of the simplest Criegee intermediate CH2OO in the gas-phase ozonolysis of ethylene,” Science Advances, 1, (2015) e1400105..

Dan Dong* and Gordon Brown, “Measuring Ibuprofen Quantities in Expired Over-the-Counter Tablets using HPLC,” The Chem. Educ., 19, (2014) 351-353.

McJunkins, Austin and Brown, Gordon G., “An inexpensive Room-Temperature Chirped-Pulse Fourier Transform Microwave (RT-CP-FTMW) Spectrometer,” J. Undergrad. Chem. Res. 10, (2011) 166-169.

Gordon G. Brown, Brian C. Dian, Kevin O. Douglass, Scott M. Geyer, Steven T. Shipman, and Brooks H. Pate, “A Broadband Fourier Transform Microwave Spectrometer Based on Chirped-Pulse Excitation,” Rev. Sci. Instrum. 79, 053103 (2008).

Brian C. Dian, Gordon G. Brown, Kevin O. Douglass, and Brooks H. Pate, “Measuring Picosecond Isomerization Kinetics Using Broadband Microwave Spectroscopy,” Science.  320, 924-928  (2008).

Affiliated Academic Programs: