Syllabus - Chemistry 15A, Honors General Chemistry, Fall 2011
(prepared August 2, 2011)
PLEASE READ THIS SYLLABUS CAREFULLY.
It contains a great deal of useful information that you will be expected to be familiar
Additional copies can be downloaded via Latte (see below).
Professor Irving Epstein
Office: Shapiro Science Center 3-09
Telephone: ext. 62503 (781-736-2503)
Tu 2:00-3:00, W 11:00-12:00, and by appointment
Lectures: Mon., Wed., Thurs., 10:00-10:50
AM, Gerstenzang 121
Recitation, Quizzes, Exams: Wed., 6:30-7:50 PM, Gerstenzang 121
Obviously, part of the goal of this course is for you to learn the subject matter: atoms and
molecules, bonding, equilibrium, … and, as I shall emphasize, how our ability to understand the
macroscopic properties of matter arises from our microscopic picture of atoms and molecules. I
hope, however, that you will get more than that out of this course.
In particular, you should
come away with at least some appreciation of how scientists think, and you should be better at
problem solving and critical thinking than you were before you took this course.
If we are
successful in achieving these goals, what you learn in this course will serve you well in many
realms – future courses (organic chemistry and biology just to name a couple), potential careers,
and the many, many areas of everyday life in which a little scientific knowledge or analytical
thinking can go a long way.
This is an honors course, which means that we will try to challenge
I hope you find the course both challenging and rewarding.
There is no specific prerequisite for this course.
Aptitude and enthusiasm are at least as
important as having taken an AP Chemistry course, though it certainly doesn’t hurt to have had
Minimally, you should have had a solid chemistry course in high school, be very
comfortable with algebra and geometry, and have at least a nodding acquaintance with calculus
and high school physics.
Appendices B2 and C of the text have good reviews for those of you
who may be a bit rusty on physics and math (or who are very quick learners).
The text for the course is
Principles of Modern Chemistry
edition, by Oxtoby, Gillis and
Campion (to be referred to as Oxtoby or OGC).
There are many, many general chemistry
textbooks on the market, each with its own style, nearly all at a somewhat lower level than ours.
Depending on your learning style, you may profit by referring occasionally, or frequently, to one
The Gerstenzang Science Library has a large selection of these texts under call number
You can borrow them for several weeks.