The History of the Department of Physical Chemistry and Instrumental Methods commenced with the introduction of the subject of Physical Chemistry to the second year of pharmacy studies, immediately after the establishment of the Department of Pharmacy at the Faculty of Medicine in 1939. The first teacher was Pavle Savić, engineer, who later became a professor at the Faculty of Sciences in Belgrade and the president of the Serbian Academy of Science and Art. He gave lectures during the academic 1940/41 year to the second year students who were the first generation that enrolled at the Pharmaceutical Department. The same year the exercises were not organized because there was no laboratory and no necessary equipment. When the World War II broke out in 1941, the Chemical Institute of the School of Medicine was destroyed which interrupted the classes at the Pharmacy Department. After the war and the establishment of the independent Faculty of Pharmacy in 1945, there were no teachers for the subject of Physical Chemistry because Pavle Savić took position at the Faculty of Science. At the newly established Faculty of Pharmacy the subject was taught by Dragoljub Jovanović, professor of Physics.
At the beginning of 1946, Ivan Bajalović, engineer, was appointed assistant of Physical Chemistry. As it was impossible to hire any other teacher, at the end of 1946 Ivan Bajalović was appointed lecturer of Physical Chemistry. During that period he wrote the first textbooks (Fundamentals of Physical Chemistry Part I and Fundamentals of Physical Chemistry Part II) for the subject of Physical Chemistry.
With the establishment of the departments at the Faculty, a joint Institute of Physics and Physical Chemistry was founded and the first director was Bratislav Demetrović, professor of physics. Due to the lack of space and a small number of necessary instruments at that time, demonstration experiments were presented to the students as practical classes.
In 1949, two separate institutes were formed, while in the existing premises in the building of the Institute of Pathology on the third floor remained the Institute of Physical Chemistry till it was moved to a new building in 1991. The first head of the independent Institute was Ivan Bajalović, engineer, who conducted theoretical and practical classes until 1951–52. The same year Kosta Nikolić, pharmacist, was appointed assistant. The program of practical training was extended, classes were held individually in both semesters and students had practical and oral examinations. At the beginning of the 1954/55 school year several assistants were employed: Olga Vitorović, engineer, Dobrila Pačković, pharmacist, who worked only one year, as well as Milan Pajević, engineer, from 1955 to 1957. Olga Vitorović was transferred to be an assistant at the Faculty of Technology in Belgrade in 1959. Later, in 1956, the pharmacist Ksenija Velašević-Živković was selected to be assistant. With the departure of the assistant professor Bajalović from the Faculty in 1960, the assistant professor Kosta Nikolić was appointed director of the Institute. That year the pharmacist Leposava Panić-Sablić was appointed assistant, but in 1964 she left the Faculty. In 1966 as an assistant came dr Zorica Radović, born Ćupić, a former assistant at the Institute of Bromatology, and the next year the graduate physico-chemist Dušan Malešev.
Ten years later, in 1977, as an assistant-trainee was elected the graduated pharmacist Mirjana Medenica, and in 1989 the graduated pharmacist Vesna Kuntić, born Vučić. After that, the following were appointed assistants – graduated physico-chemists: Leposava Pavun, born Popović (1991), Mara Aleksić, born Kosanić (1994), Slavica Blagojević, born Bojović (1996), Nataša Pejić (1998), Svetlana Mićić, born Marinković (2000) and Aleksandra Janošević Ležaić (2007).
At the Institute of Physical Chemistry the following technicians were employed: Zorica Milačić (1958–1962), Nikola Petrović (1962–1965), Sreten Milosavljević until his retirement (1965–1991), Slobodan Trmčić (1992–1996) and Jelena Stojov (1997–2000), while today there are Vesna Stojković (since 1996) and Danijela Crnobrnja (since 1999). Terezija Mekovec worked as a janitor from 1946 until her retirement in 1973, Stojanka Nedeljković from 1973 until she retired in 2009, when Olgica Čemerikić took over her duties.
The subject of Physical Chemistry was renamed Physical Chemistry and Instrumental Methods in 1978. Classes were held in the third and fourth semester until 2007, i.e. the beginning of integrated studies, harmonized with the Bologna Declaration. As for the subjects of Physical Chemistry and Instrumental Methods, there were also practical and theoretical classes in Clinical and Chemical Laboratory Methods for profile pharmacists– medical biochemists.
At present both educational profiles at the integrated academic studies have lectures and laboratory work in mandatory subjects: Physical Chemistry (II semester), Instrumental Methods (III semester), as well as the elective subject on Colloid Chemistry (IV semester). Doctoral studies of Drug Analysis comprise lectures in Spectroscopic Methods in Drug Analysis, for Bromatology in Selected Instrumental Methods, Pharmaceutical Technology, Physico-chemical Phenomena and Instrumental Methods, and for Pharmacognozy Selected chapters in Instrumental Methods. The subject Instrumental Methods is being taught at the postgraduate specialist studies of Drug Analysis, Sanitary Chemistry, as well as at Toxicological Chemistry.
By the decision of the Council of the Faculty of Pharmacy of May 10, 2010, the Institute of Physical Chemistry was renamed the Department of Physical Chemistry and Instrumental Methods.
The principals of the Institute of Physical Chemistry were: Ph.D. Ivan Bajalović, assistant professor (1949–1960) and after him professors Ph.D. Kosta Nikolić (1960–1990); Ph.D. Zorica Radović (1990–1999); Ph.D. Dušan Malešev (1999–2007) and since 2007 Ph.D. Mirjana Medenica.
Department of Physical Chemistry and Instrumental Methods has in possession a number of museum collections of apparatus and instruments that were once used in the course of practical teaching and research work in this department. These exhibits come from the first half of the last century. The author of this valuable and interesting „museum“ is professor Mirjana Medenica, Ph.D.