2012-2013 Chemistry Courses
General Chemistry I
Chemistry is the study of the properties, composition, and transformation of matter. It is central to the production of the materials required for modern life; for example, the synthesis of pharmaceuticals to treat disease, the manufacture of fertilizers and pesticides required to feed an ever-growing population, and the development of efficient and environmentally benign energy sources. This course provides an introduction to the fundamental concepts of modern chemistry. We will begin by examining the structure and properties of atoms, which are the building blocks of the elements and the simplest substances in the material world around us. We will then explore how atoms of different elements can bond with each other to form an infinite variety of more complex substances called compounds. This will lead us to an investigation of several classes of chemical reactions: the processes by which substances are transformed into new materials with different physical properties. Along the way, we will learn how and why the three states of matter (solids, liquids, and gases) differ from one another and how energy may be either produced or consumed by chemical reactions. In weekly laboratory sessions, we will perform experiments to illustrate and test the theories presented in the lecture part of the course. These experiments will also serve to develop practical skills in both synthetic and analytic chemical techniques.
General Chemistry II
This course is a continuation of General Chemistry I. We will begin with a detailed study of both the physical and chemical properties of solutions, which will enable us to consider the factors that affect both the rates and direction of chemical reactions. We will then investigate the properties of acids and bases and the role that electricity plays in chemistry. The course will conclude with introductions to nuclear chemistry and organic chemistry. Weekly laboratory sessions will allow us to demonstrate and test the theories described in the lecture segment of the course. Prerequisite: General Chemistry I
This course provides an introduction to the basic concepts of chemistry and their application to current environmental issues. Topics include acid rain, ozone depletion, air pollution, global warming, and surface water and groundwater pollution. We will then consider how human activities such as transportation, energy production, and chemical industries influence the environment.
Research and Discovery at the Frontiers of Chemistry
In this primarily laboratory-based course, we will experience both the joys and frustrations of scientific research as we prepare and study chemical compounds that are currently unknown to science. In doing so, we will gain hands-on experience with the use of advanced laboratory instrumentation and, in collaboration with international teams of other scientists, develop our critical thinking and quantitative skills by interpreting and analyzing our experimental results. In our readings and seminars, we will first develop a sound knowledge of the current state of scientific understanding of the properties of the early transition metal elements and their compounds. This information will inform and guide our efforts to make new examples of transition metal compounds in the laboratory. We will then go on to examine how new scientific results are disseminated to the wider community of scientists as either publications in scientific journals (short communications, full papers, or technical notes) or conference presentations (oral or poster). In our discussions, we will focus on the stylistic and technical aspects of each method of scientific communication, with particular emphasis on the presentation of results and data, interpretation and discussion, and description of experimental procedures. Participating students will present their results at either a regional or national meeting of the American Chemical Society. We will also aim to publish our findings as a scientific paper in an international chemistry journal. The research experience afforded by this course will be excellent preparation for either graduate study in the sciences or in related areas such as medicine, environmental studies, engineering, or law. Prerequisite: General Chemistry II; permission of the instructor is required.
This yearlong course is a systematic study of the chemistry of carbon compounds. Introductory topics include bonding, structure, properties, reactions, nomenclature, stereochemistry, spectroscopy, and synthesis of organic compounds from a functional group approach. More advanced topics include reaction mechanisms, chemistry of aromatic compounds, carbonyl compounds, and biomolecules such as carbohydrates and amino acids. In the laboratory, students learn the basic techniques used in the synthesis, isolation, and identification of organic compounds. Prerequisite: General Chemistry or its equivalent.
Biochemistry is the chemistry of biological systems. This course will introduce students to the basic principles and concepts of biochemistry. Topics will include the structure and function of biomolecules such as amino acids, proteins, enzymes, nucleic acids, RNA, DNA, and bioenergetics. This knowledge will then be used to study the pathways of metabolism. Prerequisites: Organic Chemistry and General Biology.