Fundamentals of Chemistry
|Lecture Notes: 25 August
© R. Paselk 2004
Introduction to Fundamentals of Chemistry (Chem 107)
- Chem 107 is an introductory course in chemistry with an environmental
spin - that is we use examples and applications of environmental
- The only pre-requisite is math code 30 - competence in elementary
algebra (HSU Math 40) - a background in high school chemistry
may help, but I don't expect it.
- Go over the Syllabus, Lecture
Schedule, and Lab
Schedule. Note grading, lab attendance, and quiz/examination
policies. With large classes like this I generally use the high
score (total points) to normalize the scores - that is I call
it 100%. Cut-offs are then 90% for an A-, 80% for a B-, 65% for
a C-, and 50% for a D. Remember that a "D" is a passing
grade, and may be all your major requires, however, a C- is necessary
to proceed on to Chem 328 and may be necessary in other instances
- You should check the web site for Chem 107 regularly - all updates etc, will be posted there:
- In particular, I will be posting the Quiz topics on the Lab Schedule each week _ I will NOT be handing out a hard copy of the lab schedule as I want to make sure you find this schedule on-line.
- Lecture notes will generally be posted within 24 h of the lecture.
- Corrections, errors etc. in lectures will be posted in the notes and noted on the lecture schedule.
- As many of you know, Chemistry has a reputation as an elimination
course - this is not a point of pride, nor is it intentional
on the part of the Chemistry Department. Many of you will find
chemistry very challenging. This is in part because it requires
a variety of mental skills for success: memorization/language
acquisition (a first semester chem course routinely requires
the mastery of more new vocabulary than a first semester foreign
language course), mastery of elementary algebra, reading/interpretation,
problem solving, abstract reasoning, visualization, observation,
etc. As a result failure rates in introductory chemistry classes
tend to be high. With this in mind expect to work hard in Chem 107.
How to Study:
- Nearly everything you will need to know will be covered in
lecture - so it is very important to attend lectures and take
good notes (the web notes may be helpful here, but should not
be considered a substitute for your own notes!).
- The textbook is meant as a supplement and a source of problems,
examples etc. You may find the author more understandable or
more compatible with your style than me, so read the chapters.
- You should do as many of the end of chapter exercises etc.
in your text or on ARIS as it takes to become confident of your grasp of
- Study Time/Study Skills:
- Keep in mind that most students can only study new
material for about 15 - 20 minutes without a break (even the
best can usually only go for 45 min). Even a few minutes break
will usually help.
- Want to maximize lecture efficiency since most of material
will be covered in lecture. Three traditional suggestions:
- Review the last lecture's materials just before lecture to
get your mind on track so you don't "lose" the first
- Read over your notes from lecture as soon as you can, annotating
them with things you remember but missed etc.
- At the earliest opportunity, rewrite you notes with the aid
of the on-line notes and/or your text to make an effective set
of study notes.
- Look ahead at the material to be covered, then in lecture
"think ahead of the lecturer" and see if your right!
That is, try and anticipate what is to be covered. This will
make the lecture more entertaining and engaging and thus a better
learning experience. It is one of the main characteristics shared
by top professionals in all fields as well as successful graduate
students when listening to oral presentations.
- Reward yourself for hard work - take a break to watch a
favorite show, play a short computer game, eat a favorite
- Take off at least on day for fun - guilt free (after all
your Chemistry Professor told you to, so I guess its kind
of an assignment [you know what kind of reputations they have
as hard-ass types]).
- Notice that much of this will be more effective if you carefully
schedule your time.
We will be using Clickers this semester to interact in lecture and to take attendance - make sure you bring your clicker starting the second week!
We will be using ARIS as a graded on-line homework. I will email the class with instructions for getting on to ARIS before Thursday's lecture.
My degree and formal
training is in Biochemistry and Biophysics, I've been teaching
Biochemistry in the CSU since 1974. I've also taught Clinical
chemistry (what they test your blood for at the hospital and what
it means), Environmental chemistry, Toxicology, and Chemical instrumentation.
I also have a strong background in history of science and scientific
instruments, evolution and the Precambrian (check out my web museums).
What is Chemistry?
Chemistry is the study of matter and its transformations.
- "Classical" chemistry involves mostly electron
transfers and/or interactions of charges (electron and nuclear).
As we'll see only some electrons in atoms are involved - the
outer or valence electrons of atoms.
- Nuclear chemistry is an extension of chemistry where nuclei
are transformed changing one kind of atom (element or isotope)
to another. This is a completely separate realm of phenomena,
largely unimportant in everyday life (unless you work at a nuclear
More specifically, chemistry is the scientific study
© R A Paselk
Last modified 26 August 2009