Pursell is a chemistry professor at Trinity University where he teaches lecture and laboratory courses in physical chemistry, general chemistry and advanced chemistry topics.
Having grown-up in California, Pursell earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry at the California State University in Sacramento. He earned a doctoral degree at the University of Chicago, studying physical chemistry and spectroscopy in the laboratory of Professor Takeshi Oka. He received additional teaching and research experience while a postdoctoral fellow at Indiana University, working with Professor Charlie Parmenter. He has been teaching at Trinity since 1993.
* denotes Trinity undergraduate student
Pursell's research area has changed and evolved over time. Presently he is involved in two separate collaborative research projects: (1) a study of gold nanoparticle catalysis with Professor Chandler (chemistry), and (2) a study of the evaporation process with Professor Kelly-Zion (engineering science).
A common theme to Pursell's research has included the use of spectroscopy. In fact, as an undergraduate student, his fascination with "the interaction of light with matter" (or "experimental quantum mechanics," as he sometimes calls it) motivated him to study physical chemistry in graduate school. This fascination continues to inspire and motivate his research interests.