Research and Discovery at the Frontiers of Chemistry

This is a course from a previous year. View the current courses
Small seminar, Intermediate—Year

In this primarily laboratory-based course, we will experience both the joys and frustrations of scientific research as we prepare and study chemical compounds that are currently unknown to science. In doing so, we will gain hands-on experience with the use of advanced laboratory instrumentation and, in collaboration with international teams of other scientists, develop our critical thinking and quantitative skills by interpreting and analyzing our experimental results. In our readings and seminars, we will first develop a sound knowledge of the current state of scientific understanding of the properties of the early transition metal elements and their compounds. This information will inform and guide our efforts to make new examples of transition metal compounds in the laboratory. We will then go on to examine how new scientific results are disseminated to the wider community of scientists as either publications in scientific journals (short communications, full papers, or technical notes) or conference presentations (oral or poster). In our discussions, we will focus on the stylistic and technical aspects of each method of scientific communication, with particular emphasis on the presentation of results and data, interpretation and discussion, and description of experimental procedures. Participating students will present their results at either a regional or national meeting of the American Chemical Society. We will also aim to publish our findings as a scientific paper in an international chemistry journal. The research experience afforded by this course will be excellent preparation for either graduate study in the sciences or in related areas such as medicine, environmental studies, engineering, or law. Prerequisite: General Chemistry II; permission of the instructor is required.