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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Principles of Chemical Science (Fall 2008)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology via MIT OpenCourseWare


Course Features

  • Video lectures
  • Captions/transcript
  • Lecture notes
  • Exams and solutions

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the chemistry of biological, inorganic, and organic molecules.Theemphasis ison basic principles of atomic and molecular electronic structure, thermodynamics, acid-base and redox equilibria, chemical kinetics, and catalysis.

In an effort to illuminate connections between chemistry and biology, a list of the biology-, medicine-, and MIT research-related examples used in 5.111 is provided in Biology-Related Examples.


Development and implementation of the biology-related materials in this course were funded through an HHMI Professors grant to Prof. Catherine L. Drennan. Videos and captioning were made possible and supported by the MIT Class of 2009.


1. The importance of chemical principles.
2. Discovery of electron and nucleus, need for quantum mechanics.
3. Wave-particle duality of light.
4. Wave-particle duality of matter, Schrödinger equation.
5. Hydrogen atom energy levels.
6. Hydrogen atom wavefunctions (orbitals).
7. p-orbitals.
8. Multielectron atoms and electron configurations.
9. Periodic trends.
10. Periodic trends continued; Covalent bonds.
11. Lewis structures.
12. Exceptions to Lewis structure rules; Ionic bonds.
13. Polar covalent bonds; VSEPR theory.
14. Molecular orbital theory.
15. Valence bond theory and hybridization.
16. Determining hybridization in complex molecules; Thermochemistry, bond energies/bond enthalpies.
17. Entropy and disorder.
18. Free energy and control of spontaneity.
19. Chemical equilibrium.
20. Le Chatelier's principle and applications to blood-oxygen levels.
21. Acid-base equilibrium: Is MIT water safe to drink?.
22. Chemical and biological buffers.
23. Acid-base titrations.
24. Balancing oxidation/reduction equations.
25. Electrochemical cells.
26. Chemical and biological oxidation/reduction reactions.
27. Transition metals and the treatment of lead poisoning.
28. Crystal field theory.
29. Metals in biology.
30. Magnetism and spectrochemical theory.
31. Rate laws.
32. Nuclear chemistry and elementary reactions.
33. Reaction mechanism.
34. Temperature and kinetics.
35. Enzyme catalysis.
36. Biochemistry.

Taught by

Prof. Catherine Drennan and Dr. Elizabeth Vogel Taylor

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