Chemistry
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Amherst College Chemistry for 2009-10

03 Chemical Basis of Biological Processes

(Offered as Chemistry 03 and Biology 03.) What are the natural laws that describe how biological processes actually work?  This course will use examples from biology such as human physiology or cellular signaling to illustrate the interplay between fundamental chemical principles and biological function.  We will explore how bonding plays a central role in assembling simple biological building blocks such as sugars, amino acids, and fatty acids to form complex carbohydrates, proteins, and membranes.  What underlying thermodynamic and kinetic principles guide systems to biological homeostasis or reactivity?  What is pH, and how are proton gradients used to generate or change an organism's response?  Emphasis is on using mathematics and physical sciences to understand biological functions. Three classroom hours and three hours of laboratory per week.

Enrollment is limited to first-year students who are interested in science or premedical study, who are recommended to begin with either Mathematics 5 or Mathematics 11 (Intensive), and who are enrolled in a Mathematics course but not in Chemistry 11. Admission with consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professors Goutte and O'Hara.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013

08 Chemistry and the Environment

In this course, fundamental principles of chemistry will be introduced and used to understand the sources, fates, and activities of chemical compounds in natural and polluted environments. Concepts such as the nature of matter and energy, atomic and molecular structure and bonding, chemical change and reaction stoichiometry, the properties and behavior of gases, and the forces driving chemical reactions will be developed. Examples will be drawn from and shed light on environmental issues such as climate change, air quality, stratospheric ozone depletion, acid rain, water pollution and treatment, energy resources, and environmental toxins. In this way, the underlying physical principles will be linked directly to problems of immediate concern in modern society. The course is designed primarily for non-science majors and Environmental Studies majors. No prior college science or mathematics courses are required. Four class hours per week.

Spring semester.  Professor McKinney.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010

10 Energy and Entropy

Primarily for non-science majors, this course focuses on the concepts of energy and entropy, ideas which play a central role in understanding the universe. The course, designed for those who wish to gain an appreciation and comprehension of two of the most far-reaching laws governing the behavior of the physical world, will address historical, philosophical and conceptual ramifications of the first and second laws of thermodynamics. We will also study practical applications of these laws to a variety of chemical, physical and environmental phenomena. Societal implications and policy formulations will also be discussed. Our studies will include the efficiencies of energy conversion processes and alternative sources of energy. Consideration will be given to the ways in which the ideas of energy and entropy are used in literature, the arts and the social sciences. No prior college science or mathematics courses are required. Three class hours per week.

Omitted 2009-10.

2014-15: Not offered

11 Introductory Chemistry

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 Chemistry 11 instructors before registration. Four class hours and three hours of laboratory per week.

Fall semester: Professors Jaswal and McKinney. Spring semester: Professors Burkett and McKinney.

 

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014

12 Chemical Principles

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. Four class hours and three hours of laboratory work per week.

Requisite: Chemistry 11 or 15 (this requirement may be waived for exceptionally well-prepared students; consent of the instructor is required); and Mathematics 11 or its equivalent. Fall semester: Professor Kushick. Spring semester: Professors Leung and O'Hara.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2008, Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014

15 Fundamental Principles of Chemistry

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.

Fall semester. Professor Marshall.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013

21 Organic Chemistry I

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: Chemistry 12 or equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Snyder.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013

22 Organic Chemistry II

A continuation of Chemistry 21. 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: Chemsitry 21. Spring semester. Professor Snyder.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014

30 Biochemistry

(Offered as Biology 30 and Chemistry 30.) 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.

Requisite: Chemistry 21 and Biology 19; Chemistry 22 is a co-requisite. Anyone who wishes to take the course but does not satisfy these criteria should obtain permission from the instructor. Spring semester. Professors Williamson (Biology) and Jaswal (Chemistry).

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014

35 Inorganic Chemistry

The structure, bonding, and symmetry of transition metal-containing molecules and inorganic solids are discussed. Structure and bonding in transition metal complexes are examined through molecular orbital and ligand field theories, with an emphasis on the magnetic, spectral, and thermodynamic properties of transition metal complexes. Reactions of transition metal complexes, including the unique chemistry of organometallic compounds, will be examined. The laboratory experiments complement lecture material and include a final independent project. Four hours of class and four hours of laboratory per week.

Requisite: Chemistry 21 or consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Professor Burkett.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2013, Fall 2013

38 Atmospheric Chemistry

As global environmental issues such as stratospheric ozone depletion and global warming have arisen, the impact of mankind on the environment, particularly the atmosphere, has become a pressing concern for both the public and scientific communities. Addressing these large-scale and highly complex problems demands a greater scientific understanding of the earth system. In this course, students will investigate Earth’s atmosphere and the chemical and physical principles that shape it. Fundamental processes that determine atmospheric composition and climate, including multistep reaction mechanisms, chemical kinetics, molecular spectroscopy, photolysis, and heterogeneous chemistry, are introduced. Specific topics treated will include atmospheric composition, structure, and motion; element cycling; the transfer of solar and longwave radiation; stratospheric composition and chemistry; tropospheric oxidation processes; air pollution; and the role of human activity in global change. Laboratory, computational, and field experiments complement the lecture material. Three hours of lecture and four hours of laboratory per week.

Requisite: Chemistry 12. Omitted 2009-10. Professor McKinney.

2014-15: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Spring 2011

43 Physical Chemistry

The thermodynamic principles and the concepts of energy, entropy, and equilibrium introduced in Chemistry 12 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: Chemistry 12, Physics 16 or 23, and Mathematics 12. Mathematics 13 is recommended. Spring semester. Professor Marshall.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014

44 Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy

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: Chemistry 12, Mathematics 12, Physics 16 or 23. Fall semester. Professor Leung.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013

46 Molecular and Cellular Biophysics

(Offered as Physics 46 and Chemistry 46.) 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: Chemistry 12, Physics 16/23, Physics 17/25, Biology 19 or evidence of equivalent coverage in pre-collegiate courses.  Omitted 2009-10. Professor Darnton.

2014-15: Offered in Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013

77, 77D, 78, 78D Senior Departmental Honors

Open to Senior Honors candidates, and others with consent of the Department. A full course.

Fall semester. The Department.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013

97, 98, 98H, 97H Special Topics

Admission with consent of ther instructor. A full course.

Fall semester. The Department.

2014-15: Offered in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014
 

Merrill Hall