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Peter M. Smith

Peter M. Smith


Chemistry Faculty

(724) 946-7299

Campus Location:
   Hoyt Science Resources Center
Mailbox: 197


About Me

I have been at Westminster College since 2002 and currently serve as Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Biochemistry and Chemistry.

I earned my B.S. and Ph.D. in Chemistry (Inorganic) from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

I regularly teach CHE 180 - Inorganic Chemistry, CHE 261 - Organic Chemistry I, and CHE 391 - Advanced Inorganic Chemistry.

Addtionally, I am heavily involved in the American Chemical Society where I serve on the Committee on Environmental Improvement in the Policy Subcommittee.



My research students and I are interested in creating and analyzing rare earth and other critical materials. The rare earths are a collection of 15 elements that exist together in mineral deposits primarily in China, the US, ad Australia. These elements are widely used in many high-tech products (e.g. magnets, light-emitting displays, aerospace alloys, etc.). Because of this, the rare earths are recognized as critical materials for naitonal security. Our research projects follow two lines: (1) the synthesis and characterization of new rare-earth-containing solid-state catalysts for environmentally friendly oxidation of hydrocarbons; and (2) developing new methods for extracting and purifying rare earths and other critical elements from scrap and end-of-life high-tech products.