Chem 124: General Chemistry for the Engineering Disciplines





Course Info

Welcome to Chem 124!

Chemistry 124 is an expansion and continuation of the topics covered in your previous chemistry class (prerequisite:  1 year of high school chemistry).  At the end of 124, you should be able to display and apply your knowledge of thermochemistry, quantum theory, bonding, solid-state chemistry, organic chemistry and other topics.  You will also develop your critical thinking, problem solving, and experimental analysis skills. For most engineering majors, the actual content of the course is actually not the most important piece to take away from the course, but the thinking critically and deeply about new material, analyzing experiment results and being able to draw conclusions, and then being able to write/communicate scientific results on reports.

In order to ensure your success in this course, you should plan to keep up with the material. This means you should be spending at least 8 hours a week on this course. This time could be spent a lot of different ways, and the more common ways to spend it should be reviewing and studying lecture notes, working on homework problems, writing up lab reports, reading the textbook, attending workshops or study sessions, etc.

You should also plan on attending all labs and ALL lectures (even though I know that they are early!) I will do my best to present the course material in a concise, logical format to summarize the key ideas and demonstrate the new ideas in example problems or new concepts. In order for us all to get the most out of these experiences, it is best if you are an active and engaged participant in the discussion. This means you need to stop me if you don't understand, ask questions, give me a funny look during class, etc. I need to see the body language or hear your questions and feedback to understand what we need to talk about more and when we can move on to the next topic.

You will also get more out of the course if you take responsibility for your own learning. I will try my best to direct and facilitate the process, but I cannot learn for you. Unfortunately, I can't open up your head and pour the information in, but you will have to engage with the material, struggle with the material at times, and seek help to overcome those obstacles. The things you struggle with the most, tend to be the things you understand the best once you overcome the hurdles and barriers.

I am available during the week through office hours or special appointments, and we have 3 hours each week during lab where two TAs and I are there to answer as many questions as we can. Please take advantage of all of these opportunities. Most students skip out as soon as possible on the labs, but that is free, potential one-on-one time available to get help and to get some or your work done during time you have already allotted to chemistry anyways. Lastly, PLEASE come see me if you are having difficulties during the quarter. It is much easier to catch and fix misunderstandings about the material as soon as they appear rather than waiting until the end of the quarter.

In order to get chemistry for engineers completed in two quarters, some material has been removed. Most of that material is material that you should have covered in your previous one year of high-school chemistry course. It is okay to be rusty on the material and with a little practice, you can get back up to speed. That is one of the goals of the first week's lab. Some ideas you should have seen and maybe remember being discussed are (but not limited to) the following: fundamental terms and definitions (states of matter, elements, compounds, mixtures, mole, etc.), Dalton's atomic theory, nuclear atom model, modern atomic theory, chemical nomenclature, stoichiometry, types of chemical reactions, and gases and their properties. On the course schedule, I have listed some information you should already be familiar with from the first five chapters. Review these lists. It is understandable to be a little rusty, but you should be familiar enough with the material that after a short review (on your own) during that first week, you can get back up to speed with the material. PLEASE come see me if you have any questions about your preparedness for this course.

Lastly, I have taught Chem 124 and Chem 125 many times over the last 8 years at Cal Poly, and they are my favorite courses to teach. I enjoy the material and I especially enjoy sharing it with my students.

I am looking forward to a fun filled and informative Fall quarter! Let me know if you have any questions!