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Chem 1A: General Chemistry

OVERVIEW

Chemistry 1A is a course in General Chemistry. This course is intended for anyone with some previous success in chemistry (one year of high school chemistry with a grade of 'B' or better or Chemistry 2 with a grade of 'C' or better) and some background in algebra. In particular it satisfies the foundation requirements for chemistry majors, chemical engineering majors, biology majors and pre-med students. It will work for any major as it is the highest level of the introductory chemistry course. If you have any questions regarding your particular goals and the level of this course, contact the program that is listing a chemistry course requirement, Josh Blaustein , or Alvaro (Albi) Romero.

This course involves the study of foundational information regarding the nature of everything material. We develop mathematical tools for this investigation and then examine the classification of matter. We relate the character of materials to the subatomic electronic structure. Theories of why and how elemental substances combine are included. We will develop a working vocabulary with which we can discuss the physical and chemical behavior of everything around us. The names of elements and compounds, their symbolic representations, along with chemical equations, will all be an important component of the "vocabulary" we learn.

The information in this course is used and reiterated in a variety of disciplines: Biology, Geology, Astronomy, etc. More importantly, the observations and information in this course relate to virtually everything around you. It is an opportunity to expand your view of the material world from the everyday macroscopic and tangible perception to the submicroscopic and somewhat intangible world of the atom, molecule and ion. The course includes both lecture and laboratory portions. The lab is intended to make the seemingly abstract concepts of chemistry applied and visual. The labs are an important and integral component of the course and should not be perceived as less valuable than the lectures. Many times topics which are part of the course material are covered exclusively in the lab. The lab provides hands-on experience and information that will be considered fair game on tests.

Many times introductory courses are thought to be elementary in nature and without rigor. This is not true for this course. The survey of chemistry as a field of study is expansive by nature. It requires diligence and endurance. The difficulties in this course can be classifed into two general efforts:

  1. Learning a different language which at times looks deceptively like English.
  2. Investigating the nature of everything in an organized, digestible fashion.

This may seem a bit overwhelming but remember thousands of people pass this type of class every semester. It is not impossible and no matter what, if you put in a 100% you will receive the satisfaction of doing your best. Regardless of individual strengths and weaknesses, the student who is diligent and consistent in their efforts to master chemistry gets the grade and also the discipline to succeed in even more rigorous courses. Consider this course an opportunity to learn how to learn.

INSTRUCTORS for Spring semester, 2011

Josh Blaustein
Alvaro (Albi) Romero

 

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