Dr. Joel Davis
Assistant Professor of Chemistry (2013)


  • B.S., Chemistry, Wisconsin Lutheran College, 2008
  • Ph.D., Chemistry, Purdue University, 2012


"You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end each of us must work for his own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful." -Marie Curie

Chemistry impacts our lives every day, from the food we eat, to the medicines we take, to the air we breathe. Many professions, including the fields of agriculture, engineering, and medicine, rely on a fundamental understanding of chemistry that is applied to that subject area. Thus, college students need to have a good working knowledge of chemistry, not only to be successful in their future careers but also to be informed citizens.

As a professor at WLC, my goal is to help students gain the chemical knowledge they will need. I prefer using group learning activities to keep students actively involved and to promote critical thinking skills, since college is a time to hone the problem-solving, interpersonal, and individual learning skills that students will need throughout their lives.

Courses Taught:

  • CHE 161 General Chemistry I
  • CHE 162 General Chemistry II
  • CHE 341 Physical Chemistry I
  • CHE 342 Physical Chemistry II
  • CHE 349 Physical Chemistry Laboratory II
  • CHE 430 Inorganic Chemistry
  • PHY 201 Space, Time, and Motion Laboratory


Water is ubiquitous in geological and biological chemistry. Protein folding, self-aggregation, and micelle/membrane formation are just a few of the many examples of biological processes that are mediated – if not initiated – by water, especially its interactions with (and at) hydrophobic interfaces. However, many long-standing questions about water structure near hydrophobic interfaces remain unanswered experimentally. My current research focuses on using Raman spectroscopy to probe water hydration structure around hydrophobic solutes.


  • Joel G. Davis, Blake M. Rankin, Kamil P. Gierszal, Dor Ben-Amotz, Water Dangling OH Cooperativity at Molecular Hydrophobic Interfaces, Nat. Chem. 5, 796-802 (2013).
  • Joel G. Davis, Kamil P. Gierszal, Ping Wang, Dor Ben-Amotz, Water Structural Transformation at Molecular Hydrophobic Interfaces, Nature 491, 582-585 (2012).
  • Kamil P. Gierszal, Joel G. Davis, Michael D. Hands, David S. Wilcox, Lyudmila V. Slipchenko, Dor Ben-Amotz, π-Hydrogen Bonding in Liquid Water. J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2, 2930-2933 (2011).
  • Jill Tomlinson-Phillips, Joel Davis, Dor Ben-Amotz, Daniel Spångberg, Ljupčo Pejov, Kersti Hermansson, Structure and Dynamics of Water Dangling OH Bonds in Hydrophobic Hydration Shells. Comparison of Simulation and Experiment. J. Phys. Chem. A 115, 6177-6183 (2011).
  • Daniel D. Ebeling, Joel G. Davis, Impact of Experimental Factors in Soil Phosphorus Tests: Shaking Vessel, Filtration, and Centrifugation. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 40, 1610-1623 (2009).

Professional Memberships:

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Chemical Society