Few branches of science fostered at Vilnius University can boast of such ancient and respectful traditions as chemistry does. The teaching of chemistry at the University was introduced in the 18th century when Martynas Pocobutas, the Rector of the old Almae Matris, decided to establish a College of Medicine where among other subjects chemistry was to be taught. In 1784, Juozapas Sartorijus (Joseph Sartorius), a member of the Royal Academy of Torino, who had come from Italy, started lectures on chemistry in Latin to medical students. He is considered to be the founder of the Department of Chemistry at the University. Although specialists in chemistry proper were not trained at the University during the first period of its history, chemistry was taught or studied by a number of prominent scientists, such as A.Sniadeckis, I.Fonbergas, R.Heimanas, A.Domeika and others.
More attention was already given to chemistry during the second period of the history of Lithuanian universities which embraces the years between, World War One and World War two. The Universities both in Kaunas and in Vilnius were training specialists in chemistry and had several Chemistry Departments each, which were integrated into Chemistry Sections of the Faculties of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. At the end of World War Two, the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of Vilnius Universitywas divided into the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, the Faculty of Natural Sciences and the Faculty of Chemistry. The Department of General Chemistry was established in addition to the four Chemistry Departments which had existed before the war.
Vilnius University is one of the oldest universities in Eastern Europe. The University celebrated its 420th anniversary in 1999. The first Department of Chemistry, however, was established in Vilnius University only in 1784. This was the beginning of the Faculty of Chemistry. Being originally situated for a long time within Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Department of Chemistry elevated to the status of a full faculty only in 1944. The building which houses the Faculty of Chemistry was completed in 1901. The Faculty of Chemistry is located in the centre of Vilnius, and along with Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics occupies one of the campuses of Vilnius University.
Nowadays Faculty of Chemistry comprises five departments: Department of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry (established in 1919), Department of General and Inorganic Chemistry (1944), Department of Organic Chemistry (1921), Department of Physical Chemistry (1922), and Department of Polymer Chemistry (1922). The main research trends of the Faculty are:
- Electrochemical processes at the interphase solid electrode / electrolyte.
- Development of analytical methods and instruments for the analysis of environmental and industrial objects.
- Synthesis and investigation of inorganic, organic and polymeric compounds.