Syllabus as webpage

Organic Chemistry I – NSC12, 4 credits                                   Fall 2012

Instructor          Todd Smith

Credits               4

Location            Science 117A

Days, Time        T, Th, 11:30 – 12:50

Text                   Organic chemistry, 6e, N. Wade

                            

Course Description

Carbon can form bonds with itself and almost all of the other elements, giving rise to an enormous variety of carbon-containing molecules. Early organic chemists struggled with the structure of one – a cyclic molecule called benzene - until Friedrich Kekulé solved the puzzle in a dream: he saw the carbon atoms “twisting in a snake-like motion. But look! What was this? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes.” In this course we study the chemistry of these carbon-based compounds – their structures, properties and reactions. Many examples include descriptions and mechanisms of biological reactions. This is an intermediate chemistry course and provides essential background for biology, chemistry, pre-med, and pre-vet students.  

 

Course Goals

In this course students will:

  • Learn that organic chemistry is not about memorization, but rather it is based on a series of fundamental chemistry concepts that can be applied systematically to all carbon-based compounds
  • Learn to illustrate a reaction mechanism using “arrow-pushing”
  • Develop problem-solving skills
  • Examine how concepts from organic chemistry underlie numerous biochemical processes

 

Readings & assignments

               Chapters from text; homework problems from text; exams – including a cumulative final exam.

 

Grading Policy

               Students are expected to attend all lectures and to complete all reading and homework assignments. There will be two ‘take-home’ exams (100 pts each), weekly homework assignments (20 pts each), a paper (100 pts), and a final exam (100 pts). The grade received in the course will be the ratio of points earned over points possible: 90% & above = A, 80-89% = B, 70-79% = C, 60-69% = D. Diligent and conscientious participation in class and on assignments will boost borderline grades to the higher grade.

                If extenuating circumstances will prevent you from taking an exam notify me as soon as possible so that we can make alternative arrangements for administering the exam.

 

Paper assignment – due Tuesday, 11/20/12

               In 2008 many families disposed of their plastic water bottles. A national discussion about the safety of a compound called bisphenol-a lead many consumers to avoid plastic bottles entirely. Bisphenol-a (BPA) serves as a hardener, but a small amount of this compound can leach out of the plastic and into food and drinks. The volume of research on the possible health effects of exposure to BPA has increased significantly since 2008, but is there a clear answer about whether it’s safe to use in food and water containers?

               This is still a big topic so you may need to narrow your focus, but regardless of your specific topic you must take a clear position in your paper and defend that position based on your research:  either the compound presents no real danger, or it clearly has a profound impact on the human health. In your paper you must cite at least two secondary sources (i.e., textbooks) from the Rice Aron Library, and at least four articles from peer-reviewed scientific journals.

               The citation format you should use is that of the Council of Science Editors, as described at: http://library.osu.edu/help/research-strategies/cite-references/cse/ .

 

 

 Assignment                                                                   due dates

  • Topic, research questions & 3 sources                 9/20, in class
  • Paper outline or concept map, with argument     10/11, in class
  • Final paper                                                           11/20, in class

 

Estimated schedule of weekly topics

Week of

Week #

Topic

Chapter

8/27

0

Intro class

Preface, 1

9/3

1

Review: bond formation, acid-base chemistry, and the “strength” of acids

1

9/10

2

A brief discussion of nomenclature – making sense of naming conventions;

Paper discussion with librarians (Thurs)

2

9/17

3

Introduction to alkenes; curved arrow notation; review of kinetics & thermodynamics [Paper topic due Thurs]

3

9/24

4

Selected reactions of alkenes

4

10/1

5

Stereochemistry: 3D arrangements of carbon atoms;

Take-home exam 1 – Friday 10/5

5

10/8

6

Alkynes: triple bonds in hydrocarbons [Paper outline due Thurs]

6

10/15

7

Resonance and delocalized electrons; thermodynamic vs. kinetic “control” of a reaction

7

10/22

8

A substitution reaction can be bimolecular (SN2) or unimolecular (SN1)

8

10/29

9

Comparisons between SN1 and SN2 reactions: stereochemistry, competition, and solvents

8

11/5

10

 There are two common elimination reactions: one is unimolecular (E1) and the other is bimolecular (E2)

Take-home exam 2 – Friday 11/9

9

11/12

11

The “kinetic isotope effect” and determining details of a reaction mechanism

9

11/19

12

Reactions of alcohols & alcohol metabolism;

Papers due Monday 11/20

10

11/26

13

The Grignard reagent: carbon as a nucleophile, and the creation of new carbon-carbon bonds

10

12/3

14

Radicals are very reactive, alkanes are not – let’s combine them!

11

12/6, 7

 

Reading days

 

12/8,10,11

 

Final exams

 

 

Last modified: Tuesday, August 28, 2012, 5:01 PM