About Steve Farmer

Dr. Steven Farmer grew up in Napa, California, and still lives in the Northern San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. Farmer’s academic degrees include a B.S. in chemistry from the University of California at Davis, a M.S. in chemistry from the California State University, Sacramento (CSUS), and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of California, Davis (UCD). In addition, Dr. Farmer has worked in the chemistry industry, spent two years in a post-doctoral position, and worked as a chemistry instructor at CSUS and at UCD.  Upon realizing that his true passion was teaching, Dr. Farmer joined the chemistry faculty at Sonoma State University (SSU) in 2006 and currently holds a tenured position of professor. As a part of his academic appointment at SSU, Dr. Farmer has regularly taught general chemistry, organic chemistry, and advanced organic synthesis courses. Dr. Farmer is a seasoned teacher with over a decade of experience in courses ranging from ten to one thousand students in size, earning him six awards, including the Sarlo Excellence in Teaching Award, which is given to only one of the over 500 SSU faculty each year.  In addition to his teaching duties, Dr. Farmer maintains an active research group, which focuses on organic chemistry and chemical education, including increasing the public’s interest in chemistry through outreach lectures and a Facebook blog.


Dr. Farmer is an experienced, infectiously enthusiastic public speaker and has recently spearheaded a public outreach effort designed to increase the public’s knowledge of and interest in chemistry, which has taken him to schools, colleges, and public meetings.  If you know of a group which may be interested in hearing him speak please contact him using the link below.

Dr. Farmer is the author of the book:

Strange Chemistry: The Stories Your Chemistry Teacher Wouldn’t Tell You


Strange Chemistry opens the audience’s eyes to the extra-ordinary scientific secrets hiding in the everyday objects around them. The book covers broad subjects that touch on everyday life, including the chemistry of poisons, illicit drugs, explosives, foods, common household products, and radiation.

Did you know that many components of foods come from quite unexpected sources, for instance, Gummi Bears® are actually made from cows, Junior Mints® are shiny because they are coated with bug secretions, and many packaged luncheon meats have viruses added to them?

Readers will find the information not only intriguing, but also absorbing and edgy. Unlike other science interest books, Strange Chemistry focuses on the darker, wilder side of chemistry, which, unfortunately, most authors and chemistry teachers tend to avoid.

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