Nicholas Robertson

Professor of Chemistry

Nick Robertson headshot faculty
Office:214 Larson-Juhl Center for Science and the Environment
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Earned and Honorary Degrees

PhD, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
MS, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
BS, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


I grew up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and moved to Ithaca, New York, for graduate school. Following graduate school, I started at Northland College in the fall of 2009. Since then I have taught General, Organic, and Inorganic Chemistry courses and have enjoyed every one of them. The opportunity to work closely with students in small class settings is one of the main reasons I chose to come to Northland.

I have a young daughter who keeps me on my toes and constantly entertained. When I am not spending time with my family, I love silent sports—cross country skiing, biking (road, mountain, cyclocross and snowbiking) and paddling.


My research group focuses on using synthetic chemistry to reduce the environmental impact of society. We work to develop new biorenewable and/or biodegradable materials as well as developing methods for reducing the quantity of waste materials heading to landfills. All of the lab work for these projects is performed by Northland students and they have been involved with publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Selected Publications

Krall, E. M.; Klein, T. W.; Andersen, R. J.; Nett, A. J.; Glasgow, R. W.; Reader, D. S.; Dauphinais, B. C.; Mc Ilrath, S. P.; Fischer, A. A.; Carney, M. J.; Hudson, D. J.; Robertson, N. J.; “Controlled Depolymerization of Polyesters and Polycarbonates via Hydrogenation Catalyzed by Ruthenium(II) Pincer Complexes”; Chemical Communications, 2014, 50, 4884-4887

Hunsicker, D. M.; Dauphinais, B. C.; McIlrath, S. P.; Robertson, N. J. “Synthesis of High Molecular Weight Polyesters via In Vacuo Dehydrogenation Polymerization of Diols.” Macromolecular Rapid Communications 2012, 33, 232-236.

McIlrath, S. P.; Kuchta, R. J.; Robertson, N. J. “Bustin’ Bunnies: An Adaptable Inquiry-Based Approach to Introducing Molecular Weight and Polymer Properties.” Journal of Chemical Education 2012, 89, 928-932.

Robertson, N. J.; Kostalik, H. A.; Clark, T. J.; Mutolo, P. F.; Abruña, H. A.; Coates, G. W. “Tunable high performance crosslinked alkaline anion exchange membranes for fuel cell applications.” Journal of the American Chemical Society 2010, 132 (10), pp 3400-3404.