Chemistry: a gentle introduction
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
Location: Keeley Street
This course has now finished
What is the course about?
In this short course, we explore the basic concepts of chemistry to provide a foundational understanding
of all of the most important areas. We begin with an overview of the Periodic Table to see how the shape of the
table reflects the underlying atomic structure of the chemical elements. We then see how atomic structure
determines the formation of chemical bonds, and how these bonds constitute the glue which gives rise to
compounds of different elements. We consider the division of chemistry into organic and inorganic and look at
some of the most important chemical processes in these two areas. We conclude by assessing the impact of
chemistry on ourselves and the world around us, how like any tool it can be used either for good or ill.
What will we cover?
- The periodic table and the atomic structure of elements
- The two main types of chemical bonds, ionic and covalent
- Basic properties and reactions of chemicals: acidity and alkalinity, oxidation and reduction
- Organic and inorganic chemistry
- The chemical structure of life and the foods which sustain it.
- The impact of chemistry upon humans and the environment.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- state and explain how the periodic table reflects the underlying structure of the elements
- describe the different ways in which atoms can bond together to form molecules
- describe the difference between acidic and alkaline compounds
- explain the processes of oxidation and reduction
- describe the differences between organic and inorganic chemistry
- describe the chemical structure of various organic compounds, including DNA
- explain the impact of chemistry upon humans and the environment.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No previous knowledge of chemistry is required. However, an enthusiasm for learning and an open and critical
mind will enhance your enjoyment and benefit from this course.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Lecture - all information will be supplied via Powerpoint slides and notes which will be distributed online.
Students should be prepared to contribute to class discussion.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Although there will be suggestions about optional wider reading, all you’ll need in each session is a pen and paper.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
HS181: The physics of time
HS173: Understanding Einstein's theory of relativity - and why it matters
HS212: Astrophysics day
Please also check the broader science and nature programme for your options.
Dr. Gary Retallick got his Phd in Physics at Kings college in London in 2006. His dissertation explored the physics of time, touching upon relativity, field equations, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics and metaphysics. Followng a stint within the world of teaching philosophy, Gary now teaches physics and mathematics at both Birkbeck College and the Open University alongside running several physics, chemistry and maths courses at City Lit (incl. Cornish).
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.