2015-2016 Chemistry Courses
Transition Metal Chemistry
The transition metals include some of the most familiar and important of all of the chemical elements. In fact, the properties of the transition metals shape much of the world around us. For instance, iron and copper have been known since prehistoric times, and their use has influenced much of human history. Nine of the transition metals are essential for life, as their atoms form the active sites of many key enzymes. Furthermore, compounds of transition metals such as titanium, chromium, ruthenium, and iridium are used as catalysts, pigments, and advanced materials, while platinum and technetium form the basis of powerful drugs and medical imaging technologies. Due to their many uses and economic importance, the preparation of new transition metal compounds remains one of the most active and exciting areas of modern chemical research. This course will be devoted to an exploration of the unique chemical, physical, and biological properties of the transition metals. Transition metal chemistry is one of the most colorful fields of chemistry. In the laboratory section of the course, we will prepare many scientifically important transition metal compounds and then observe and measure their properties. Prior study of chemistry or permission of the instructor is required.
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 the 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.
Physical Chemistry: Why Chemical Reactions Happen
Chemists are always trying to make new molecules or devise better ways of making useful ones. Chemists do this partly out of curiosity and partly because new chemical compounds are needed in every aspect of our lives, from pharmaceuticals to novel materials such as ceramics and semiconductors. To be successful, a chemist needs to understand both how and why chemical reactions occur. Physical chemistry describes the bonding in molecules, how molecules interact, what factors determine whether a reaction is favorable, and what the outcome of a particular reaction will be. In this course, we will explore the tools and concepts of physical chemistry. In so doing, we will develop an overview of chemical processes and an understanding of the mechanisms of important chemical reactions. In seminar, we will discuss topics such as quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and molecular orbital descriptions of common organic reaction mechanisms. This course will be useful for premed students, as well as for those who wish to develop a fuller and deeper understanding of the physical and biological sciences. Prior study of chemistry or permission of the instructor is required.
General Chemistry I
Chemistry is the study of the properties, composition, and transformation of matter. Chemistry 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.
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. Prerequisite: Organic Chemistry and General Biology.
This 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 will learn the basic techniques used in the synthesis, isolation, and identification of organic compounds. Prerequisite: General Chemistry or its equivalent. This yearlong course will be taught by Mr. Balasubramaniam in the fall and Ms. Yin in the spring.