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Chemistry 410

History of 
Physical Chemistry


 

 

Announcements

CHEM 410 has a limited enrollment.  If you wish to take this course, you are advised to register early.


Course Information

Absences

Assignments

Course Description

Exams and Papers

Grades

Instructor

Texts


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Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: http://www.udel.edu/pchem/images/psicon.jpgPhysical Chemistry Division

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: http://www.udel.edu/pchem/images/bigc.jpgChemistry/Biochemistry Department

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: *University of Delaware


Course Description

CHEM 410
HISTORY OF CHEMISTRY
3 hours
A survey of the development of chemistry.

 

This course focuses on the historical development of physical chemistry as a discipline, particularly in the United States, from the late 1880s to the 1950s and 1960s.  The course emphasizes the personalities and interactions that accompanied the development and spread of physical chemistry in the United States at a time when scientific study was being incorporated into academic life and universities were developing rapidly.

PREREQUISITE: General Chemistry.

This class is intended to contribute to the liberal arts education of students (mission 3) and increase general literacy with respect to the origin of the subject (General Education Goal #2). 

In this course, you learn about the history of physical chemistry and related subjects, how they developed over time and how they influence the way we think about chemistry today.  The course is a second-writing course, so you learn about communication through writing, as well as through communication in class. (10)


Course Venue

Ø  Tuesdays and Thursdays

Ø  8:00 – 9:15 a.m.

Ø  116 Brown Laboratory

 

Instructor

Ø  Cecil Dybowski

Ø  035 Brown Laboratory

Ø  (302) 831-2726

Ø  dybowski@udel.edu

Ø Office Hours:  Any time, if available


Texts

o    K. J. Laidler, The World of Physical Chemistry, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1993.

o    J. W. Servos, Physical Chemistry from Ostwald to Pauling, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1990.


Other Interesting Books

Diana Kormos Barkan, Walther Nernst and the Transition to Modern Physical Science, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1999.

Cathy Cobb, Magick, Mayhem, and Mavericks:  The Spirited History of Physical Chemistry, Prometheus Books, Amherst, New York, 2002.

Patrick Coffey, Cathedrals of Science, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008.

Andrew Ede, The Rise and Decline of Colloid Science in North America, 1900 – 1935, Ashgate Publishers, Burlington, Vermont, 2007.

Richard P. Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, Perseus Publishing, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1999.

Istvan Hargittai, TheRoad to Stockholm, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002.

Aaron J. Ihde, The Development of Modern Chemistry, Dover, New York, 1984.

Stephen Inwood, The Forgotten Genius: The Biography of Robert Hooke 1635 – 1703, MacAdam/Cage Press, San Francisco, 2003.

Laylin K. James, Nobel Laureates in Chemistry 1901 –1992, American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C., 1993.

Lisa Jardine, The Curious Life of Robert Hooke, The Man Who Measured London, Harper-Collins, New York, 2004.

David Lindley, Degrees Kelvin: A Tale of Genius, Invention, and Tragedy, Joseph Henry Press, Washington, D.C., 2004.

Tom Schachtman, Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold, Mariner Books, New York, 2002.

John T. Stock, Ostwald’s American Students,Plaidswede Publishing, Concord, New Hampshire, 2003.

           


Exams and Papers

Exams
There are two examinations during the semester, as indicated on the assignment table.  The examinations have multiple-choice and essay questions covering the reading and class discussions.   There is no final examination in this course.

Papers
Because this is a second-writing course, students are expected to develop original papers on historical aspects of physical chemistry. Each paper has a length limit, imposed to prevent sensory overload of the instructor. Aside from the word limit and clear exposition of the topic, elements such as content, style, neatness and attention to writing details contribute to the grade. All papers must be written with a word processor, double-spaced and in proper format.  Papers are due no later than the beginning of class, as indicated in the schedule. Late papers (with an unexcused absence) will not be accepted and grades of zero are assigned for them.   The paper should be sent to the instructor in portable document format (PDF) by attaching it to an electronic message before the time it is due; see the instructor if you cannot send the paper in this manner.  The title of the file should be “Paper X – Your Name,” where X is the number.  The writing sample is paper 1. 

Plagiarism in all its forms is punishable by assignment of a grade of zero; that includes – but is not limited to – undocumented use of work of others as if it is your own.

o   Paper 1

A one-page discussion (no more than 600 words) of a topic of interest, this year the case for or against substantial impact of human-caused climate change.    

For almost two decades, there has been ongoing study and consideration of the effects of human activity on climate (what used to be called “global warming”).  It has engendered quite a bit of controversy, and even disparagement and name-calling.  A widely quoted number is that 97% of scientists believe that human activity is endangering the world through the modification of the climate, most notably through the effects of reflected heat.  First, where does this number come from?  Second, what do you believe?  (A) Is the consensus really that strong that climate modification is happening?  (B) No matter whether the percentage is 100% or 50% or 10%, what do you believe?  Do you believe that the average temperature (whatever that phrase might mean) in 2100 will be at least 2 degrees Celsius higher than it was in 2000?  Do you believe that catastrophic weather conditions sufficient to impact the manner of living (increased numbers and intensity of damaging storms, increased sea levels that will make current low-lying areas unlivable, etc.) will be substantially more prevalent in 2100?  What is the evidence for or against this argument (depending on your opinion)? You must cite sources from which you draw information.  This must be done in a one-page paper (a difficult task, but I believe you can do it).

This paper is graded on understanding of the subject (as given by the content of your paper), as well as on style, neatness, and attention to the details of writing.  Be sure to use proper ACS style in references.  Do not reference internet sites.

o   Paper 2

Paper 2 is an essay about a topic derived from readings.  It should be no more than 500 words and demonstrate a point of view on the topic.  It is graded only on style, neatness, and on attention to details of writing, not on content.  The topic will be given to you in class.

o   Paper 3

Paper 3 is the major paper in this course. It should range from 2000 to 3000 words in length (4 – 6 pages). Each student is randomly assigned a topic in the history of physical chemistry, on which he/she must write an original paper. The content of the paper must be original.  The paper must be carefully organized to present a statement about the topic and explication of the central thesis of the paper.  The paper must conform to careful writing style, adhering to the rules of grammar and organization.  The paper is given a provisional grade and returned to the student with comments; a student may return a rewritten version of the paper for additional credit, or accept the provisional grade as the final grade (by not returning a revised version).

o   Paper 4

This paper is a short (no more than two pages) exposition of a topic in the history of physical chemistry chosen by the student.  It must be clear, concise, and complete.  It will be graded on style, content, and originality.

 

BECAUSE STUDENTS HAVE SUFFICIENT TIME TO COMPLETE ALL ASSIGNMENTS, THERE ARE NO INCOMPLETES IN THIS CLASS.


Class Attendance and Participation

Attendance is mandatory and is checked each class period.  Absences are excused only for illness or university-approved activities (sports or band trips, for example). Examinations, homework or quizzes missed because of an unexcused absence are given grades of zero.   Not only is attendance mandatory, but participation in the discussion is a determinant of your grade.  (See below.)  Assignments are due on specific days, and will not be accepted later than that, except for excused absences.


Grading

Grade Weights

 

o   Paper 1, 5%

o   Paper 2, 5%

o   Paper 3, 20% (10% for outline; 10% for the final paper)

o   Paper 4, 10%

o   Each exam, 25%

o   Class attendance and participation, 10%

Grade Cutoffs (in percentages of total points)

o   A greater than 90%

o   B greater than 80%

o   C greater than 70%

o   D greater than 60%

o   F below 60%


Assignments

Week

Dates

Topic(s)

Reading

Writing

1

8/29 and 8/31

Writing, grammar, and style

Handouts

 

2

9/5 and 9/7

Physical chemistry; the meaning of research; philosophies of science; communication

Laidler 1

Paper 1 due 9/5

3

9/12 and 9/14

Scientific communication in early science

Laidler 2

4

9/19 and 9/21

Early physical science

Laidler 3

Paper 1 revision due 9/21

5

9/26 and 9/28

Thermodynamics

Laidler 4

Paper 2 due 9/26

6

10/3 and 10/5

Thermodynamics; Absolute Zero

Laidler 4

Paper 3 Assignment

7

10/10 and 10/12

Race for Absolute Zero; thermodynamics

Laidler 5

Paper 2 revision due by 10/10

8

10/17 and 10/19

Statistical ideas in science

Laidler 5

Paper 3 Outline due 10/17

9

10/24 and 10/26

Bunsen, Kirchoff, and chemical spectroscopy

Laidler 6

EXAM 1, Oct 26

10

10/31 and 11/2

Electrochemistry and the Ionists; Chemical kinetics

Laidler 7 – 8

Topic of paper 4 and outline due 11/2

11

11/7 and 11/9

Americans in Europe; rise of physical chemistry in America; Noyes’ laboratory at MIT

Servos 1,2,3

12

11/14 and 11/16

Two directions in the discipline

Bancroft’s laboratory at Cornell, Noyes’s laboratory at Caltech

Servos 4 – 7

NO CLASS 11/14

Paper 3 due 11/16

13

11/21 and 11/23

THANKSGIVING BREAK

 

NO CLASS 11/21 and 11/23

14

11/28 and 11/30

Industrial basic research

Servos 6

Paper 4 due 11/28

15

12/5 and 12/7

Quantum chemistry and modern physical chemistry

Laidler 10

EXAM 2, 12/7



Copyright, Cecil Dybowski, 1998-2017.
Last Updated: July 26, 2017.
This page maintained by Cecil Dybowski.
URL of this document: http://www.udel.edu/pchem/C410/c410.htm