Living organisms require resources to fuel the processes necessary for staying alive. We require a certain number of calories to fuel metabolic processes and to provide building blocks to replace old cells and build new ones. Our food should provide a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals that we need to consume regularly for a healthy existence. Yet humans have developed another relationship with food that can be either enriching or pathological. Sharing meals with others, developing the skills to enjoy the sensory pleasures of food, learning about other cultures through their gastronomic habits, and eating moderately while consciously are all examples of a deeper productive relationship with food. On the darker side, food can be a palliative to relieve our stress or satiate our addictions to sugar, fats, or salt. Modern humans can be so far removed from our food sources that we lose the connection between animal and meat and do not know if the food on our plates contains added hormones, pesticides, or genetically modified products. This course will examine our core requirements for food as we eat to live, and some of the cultural, social, historical, and culinary dimensions as we live to eat. Readings will include Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and selections from Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and Maxime Billet.
The two sections will meet together for 80-minute lecture/demos twice a week, and each section will meet separately for a culinary lab once a week for 80 minutes.
Limited to 30 students. Omitted 2018-2019.2022-23: Not offered
This course examines the structure of matter from both a microscopic and macroscopic viewpoint. We begin with a detailed discussion of the physical structure of atoms, followed by an analysis of how the interactions between atoms lead to the formation of molecules. The relationship between the structures of molecular compounds and their properties is then described. Experiments in the laboratory provide experience in conducting quantitative chemical measurements and illustrate principles discussed in the lectures.
Although this course has no prerequisites, students with a limited background in secondary school science should confer with one of the CHEM 151 instructors before registration. Each laboratory and discussion section is limited to 20 students. In the fall, sufficient sections will be added to meet total enrollment. The spring semester is limited to two laboratory sections. Four class hours and three hours of laboratory per week.
Fall semester: Professors Jaswal and Marshall (primary instructor), and Dr. Ampiah-Bonney. Spring semester: The Department.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
A study of the basic concepts of chemistry for students particularly interested in natural science. Topics to be covered include atomic and molecular structure, spectroscopy, states of matter, and stoichiometry. These physical principles are applied to a variety of inorganic, organic, and biochemical systems. Both individual and bulk properties of atoms and molecules are considered with an emphasis on the conceptual foundations and the quantitative chemical relationships which form the basis of chemical science. This course is designed to utilize the background of those students with strong preparation in secondary school chemistry and to provide both breadth in subject matter and depth in coverage. Four hours of lecture and discussion and three hours of laboratory per week.
Limited to 40 students. Fall semester: Professor Kushick and Dr. Rotondi.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
The concepts of thermodynamic equilibrium and kinetic stability are studied. Beginning with the laws of thermodynamics, we will develop a quantitative understanding of the factors which determine the extent to which chemical reactions can occur before reaching equilibrium. Chemical kinetics is the study of the factors, such as temperature, concentrations, and catalysts, which determine the speeds at which chemical reactions occur. Appropriate laboratory experiments supplement the lecture material. Each laboratory section is limited to 24 students. In the spring, sufficient sections will be added to meet total enrollment. The fall semester is limited to two laboratory sections. Four class hours and three hours of laboratory work per week.
Requisite: CHEM 151 or 155 (this requirement may be waived for exceptionally well-prepared students; consent of the instructor is required); and MATH 111 or placement by the Mathematics department into MATH 121 or higher. Fall and Spring semesters. Visiting Professor Cartier.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
This is an interactive course that combines academic inquiry and community engagement to investigate the theme of diversity within STEM fields—at Amherst and beyond. In the first half of the semester we ground our understanding of the STEM experience at Amherst in national and global contexts, specifically looking at the way in which gender, class, race, sexuality, and geographic upbringing might shape these experiences. We accomplish this through reading interdisciplinary scholarly literature and surveying existing evidence-based inclusive practices at a range of educational institutions. We will supplement this research with interviews with current and past members of the Amherst STEM community. In the second half of the semester, students will design their own group projects that apply the findings of their research to develop resources and engage the STEM community, whether at the college, local, or national level. Course work includes weekly readings, reflective writing, in-class discussion, and will culminate in a public presentation on the group projects.
Not open to first-year students. Limited to 18 students. This is a half credit course. Spring Semester. Professor Jaswal.2022-23: Not offered
A study of the structure of organic compounds and of the influence of structure upon the chemical and physical properties of these substances. The following topics are emphasized: hybridization, resonance theory, spectroscopy, stereochemistry, acid-base properties and nucleophilic substitution reactions. Periodically, examples will be chosen from recent articles in the chemical, biochemical, and biomedical literature. Laboratory work introduces the student to basic laboratory techniques and methods of instrumental analysis. Four hours of class and four hours of laboratory per week.
Requisite: CHEM 161 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Hansen, Visiting Assistant Professor Lopez, and Dr. Reutenauer.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
A continuation of CHEM 221. The second semester of the organic chemistry course first examines in considerable detail the chemistry of the carbonyl group and some classic methods of organic synthesis. The latter section of the course is devoted to a deeper exploration of a few topics, among which are the following: sugars, amino acids and proteins, advanced synthesis, and acid-base catalysis in nonenzymatic and enzymatic systems. The laboratory experiments illustrate both fundamental synthetic procedures and some elementary mechanistic investigations. Four hours of class and four hours of laboratory per week.
Requisite: CHEM 221. Spring semester. Professor Bishop and Professor TBA.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
Independent reading course. A full course.
Admission with consent of the instructor. Fall and spring semesters. The Department.
2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022, Spring 2023
(Offered as CHEM 330 and BIOL 330) What are the molecular underpinnings of processes central to life? We will explore the chemical and structural properties of biological molecules and learn the logic used by the cell to build complex structures from a few basic raw materials. Some of these complex structures have evolved to catalyze chemical reactions with enormous degree of selectivity and specificity, and we seek to discover these enzymatic strategies. We will consider the detailed balance sheet that shows how living things harvest energy from their environment to fuel metabolic processes and to reproduce and grow. Examples of the exquisite control that permits a cell to be responsive and adapt its responses based on input from the environment will be considered. We will also consider some of the means by which cells respond to change and to stress. A student may not receive credit for both CHEM 330 and BCBP/BIOL/CHEM 331.
Requisite: BIOL 191 and CHEM 221. Limited to 40 students with 20 students per discussion section. Fall semester. Professor Bishop and Professor TBA.2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
(Offered as BIOL 331, BCBP 331, and CHEM 331) Structure and function of biologically important molecules and their role(s) in life processes. Protein conformation, enzymatic mechanisms and selected metabolic pathways will be analyzed. Additional topics may include: nucleic acid conformation, DNA/protein interactions, signal transduction and transport phenomena. Four classroom hours and four hours of laboratory work per week. Offered jointly by the Departments of Biology and Chemistry. A student may not receive credit for both BCBP/BIOL/CHEM 331 and CHEM 330.
Requisite: CHEM 221 and BIOL 191; or consent of the instructor. CHEM 231 is a co-requisite. Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. The Department.2022-23: Not offered
The foundations of analytical chemistry are explored and developed in this course. These include principles of experimental design, sampling, calibration strategies, standardization, statistics, and the validation of experimental results. The course begins with a rapid review of the basic tools necessary for analytical chemistry (significant figures, units, and stoichiometry) and an introduction to the terminology of analytical chemistry. It continues with a number of topics important for understanding how analytical methods work: statistical analysis of data, standardization methods and means for calibrating equipment, applications of equilibrium chemistry in analytical chemistry, methods of sample collection, and separation of analytes and the removal of interferents. Major methods of analysis, including gravimetry, titrimetry, spectroscopy, and electrochemistry, are covered. Appropriate laboratory work will be arranged. Three hours of class and three and one-half hours of laboratory per week.
Requisite: CHEM 161, CHEM 221, and MATH 121. Limited to 24 students. Omitted 2018-19. Professor Marshall.2022-23: Not offered
The theory of quantum mechanics is developed and applied to spectroscopic experiments. Topics include the basic principles of quantum mechanics; the structure of atoms, molecules, and solids; and the interpretation of infrared, visible, fluorescence, and NMR spectra. Appropriate laboratory work will be arranged. Three hours of class and four hours of laboratory per week.
Requisite: CHEM 161, MATH 121, PHYS 116 or 123. Limited to 24 students. Fall semester. Professor Leung.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022
The thermodynamic principles and the concepts of energy, entropy, and equilibrium introduced in CHEM 161 will be expanded. Statistical mechanics, which connects molecular properties to thermodynamics, will be introduced. Typical applications are non-ideal gases, phase transitions, heat engines and perpetual motion, phase equilibria in multicomponent systems, properties of solutions (including those containing electrolytes or macromolecules), and transport across biological membranes. Appropriate laboratory work is provided. Four hours of class and four hours of laboratory per week.
Requisite: CHEM 161, PHYS 116 or 123, and MATH 121. MATH 211 is recommended. Limited to 24 students. Spring semester. Professors Leung and Marshall.2022-23: Offered in Spring 2023
This course will discuss structure, bonding, and properties of transition metal-containing molecules and inorganic solids. Students will examine structure and bonding in transition metal complexes through molecular orbital and ligand field theories, with an emphasis on the magnetic, spectroscopic, and thermodynamic properties of transition metal complexes. The class will also examine reactions of transition metal complexes, including the unique chemistry of organometallic compounds. The laboratory experiments complement lecture material and include an independent project. Three hours of class and four hours of laboratory per week.
Requisite: CHEM 221 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Assistant Professor Durr.2022-23: Not offered
(Offered as PHYS 400, BIOL 400, BCBP 400, and CHEM 400) How do the physical laws that dominate our lives change at the small length and energy scales of individual molecules? What design principles break down at the sub-cellular level and what new chemistry and physics becomes important? We will answer these questions by looking at bio-molecules, cellular substructures, and control mechanisms that work effectively in the microscopic world. How can we understand both the static and dynamic shape of proteins using the laws of thermodynamics and kinetics? How has the basic understanding of the smallest molecular motor in the world, ATP synthase, changed our understanding of friction and torque? We will explore new technologies, such as atomic force and single molecule microscopy that have allowed research into these areas. This course will address topics in each of the three major divisions of Biophysics: bio-molecular structure, biophysical techniques, and biological mechanisms.
Requisite: CHEM 161, PHYS 116/123, PHYS 117/124, BIOL 191 or evidence of equivalent coverage in pre-collegiate courses. Spring semester. Professor Carter.2022-23: Not offered
A full course.
Open to Senior Honors candidates with consent of the Department. Fall semester. The Department.2022-23: Offered in Fall 2022