Gordon D. Sproul, Ph.D.Gordon Sproul, Ph.D.

204 Marine Science Building (HB)
801 Carteret St., Beaufort, SC  29902
227 Science and Technology Building (HHG)
One University Dr., Bluffton, SC 29909
(843) 521-4162


B.S. Chemistry, Harvey Mudd College, 1966
M.S., Ph.D Inorganic Chemistry, Univ. Illinois, 1969, 1971
Postdoctorate, Tulane Univ., 1971-72
Postdoctorate, Univ. South Carolina, 1972-75


At USCB he has taught courses in General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, nursing courses in General, Organic and Biochemistry, as well as courses in Astronomy, Physics, and various graduate education courses in the physical sciences.  He served as the Division Coordinator for the Division of Science and Mathematics, currently chairs the Department of Natural Science, has consulted on several occasions with business in the area on various chemical problems, and served as president of the South Carolina Academy of Science in 1986-87.  In 1977 he initiated the Beaufort County Science Fair and served as director and fundraiser of this for five years, then joined with several individuals to form the Beaufort Regional Science Fair, affiliated with the International Science and Engineering Fair until 1996.


While preparing lecture notes for general chemistry in the 1990’s and attempting to simplify the concept of chemical bonding for his students, he realized that there was a connection between bonding and electronegativity that had not been pursued by others.  He analyzed this relationship, compared it with the ideas of other researchers, and arrived at a description of bonding that related the three types of bonding between pairs of atoms: ionic, covalent (molecular) and metallic.  This research was published in a series of several papers in refereed journals and has since been included in both general chemistry and in inorganic chemistry textbooks.  In the mid 2000’s he teamed up with Professor Stephen Borgianini to evaluate the types of fatty acids found in local fiddler crabs.  The purpose of this has been to determine what, if any, connection there is between the fatty acid content of crabs that live in the saline estuarine environment near the ocean and those which live upstream in waters of very low salinity.  Currently, Professor Sproul has been evaluating a possible scenario for how life began.  He has been synthesizing compounds that could mimic the surrounding membrane of protolife’s organisms.  This research couples concepts of the protection provided by the lipid bilayer found in cells of all organisms with the potential to metabolize and evolve due to the attachment of the more reactive peptides.  This research has demonstrated that it is readily possible to form such compounds under presumed prebiotic conditions.


  • The Structure of Bis(methylammonium) Tetrabromoferrate (III) Bromide, (H3CNH3)2[FeBr4]Br, G. D. Sproul and G. D. Stucky, Inorg. Chem., 1972, 11, 1647‑1650.
  • Stabilization of the Higher Oxidation States of Nickel.  Molecular Structure of Bis(2,6‑diacetylpyridinedioximato) Nickel (IV), G. D. Sproul and G. D. Stucky, Inorg. Chem., 1973, 12, 2898‑2902.
  • Mechanism of Sickling in Deer Erythrocytes, E. L. Amma, G. D. Sproul, S. C. Wong and T. H. J. Huisman, Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci., 1974, 605‑613.
  • The Structure of Sickling Deer Type III Hemoglobin by Molecular Replacement W. C. Schmidt, Jr., R. L. Girling, T. E. Houston, G. D. Sproul, E. L. Amma, and T. H. J. Huisman Acta Cryst. 1977, 335‑343.
  • Electronegativity and Bond Type 1. Tripartite Separation, G. D. Sproul, J. Chem. Ed. 1993, 70, 531-534.
  • Van Arkel-Ketelaar Triangles, L. C. Allen, J. F. Capitani, G. A. Kolks, G. D. Sproul, 1993, J. Molec. Structure, 300, 647-655.
  • Electronegativity and Bond Type 2. Evaluation of Electronegativity Scales, G. D. Sproul, J. Phys. Chem., 1994, 98, 6699-6703.
  • Electronegativity and Bond Type 3. Origins of Bond Types, G. D. Sproul, J. Phys. Chem., 1994, 98, 13221-13224
  • Electronegativity and Bond Type: Predicting Bond Type, Gordon Sproul, J. Chem. Ed., 2001, 78, 387-390.
  • Abiogenic Syntheses of Lipoamino Acids and Lipopeptides and their Prebiotic Significance, Gordon Sproul, Orig Life Evol Biosph 2015, 45, 427-437

  • Preparation of Lipoamino Acids and Lipiopeptides Using Salts as Co-Reactants, Gordon Sproul, US Patent Application USC-430 (1107), 2015