Renowned chemist Steven Bernasek joins Yale-NUS College as new Science Divisional Director

14 January 2015

Singapore’s first liberal arts college continues to attract leading educators from around the world

Yale-NUS College will welcome Professor Steven L. Bernasek as its new Science Divisional Director in July 2015. An experimental chemist with research interests in the area of surface chemistry and chemical physics, he will helm the College’s Division of Science in the new academic year. Associate Professor Kang Hway Chuan, who has been instrumental in growing the Science faculty and establishing key courses in the College’s Common Curriculum, will be stepping down after a two-year appointment.

Professor Bernasek said, “Science in the modern world is an increasingly interdisciplinary endeavour, and these disciplines include the humanities and social sciences as well as the various categories of science. I’m convinced that the practice of science in the modern world relies on grounding across the broad areas of the liberal arts and sciences, and I’m excited to be involved in bringing that type of learning to Yale-NUS College.”

Prior to joining Yale-NUS College, Professor Bernasek’s academic appointment was at Princeton University where he spent about four decades in various roles. He has been an academic advisor to freshmen and sophomores, and was a Faculty Fellow at Rockefeller College, a residential learning community at Princeton University. Professor Bernasek’s research focuses on the application of gas phase molecular reaction dynamics tools to the study of heterogeneous reactions and he has published over 200 papers in journals such as Journal of Chemical Physics, Journal of Physical Chemistry, Journal of the American Chemical Society and Surface Science. From September 2014 to February 2015, Professor Bernasek also served as the interim Division Director of the Chemistry Division of the National Science Foundation. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has been a Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Over the past 16 years, Professor Bernasek has also served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the National University of Singapore’s Department of Chemistry on eight occasions.

Instead of traditional academic departments, Yale-NUS faculty members belong to one of three broad divisions: Science, Social Sciences or Humanities, which enables interdisciplinary teaching and learning at the College. With a full faculty team in place, the College will have about 100 faculty members in its three divisions. The list of Yale-NUS faculty members can be found at


Professor Bernasek’s biography can be found here. For media enquiries, please contact


11 June 2019: Links have been updated.