Chemistry: a gentle introduction
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HS243
Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)
What is the course about?
In this two-day 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.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
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 and group work.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No other costs. Students who wish to take notes will need pen and paper.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
HS341 Exploring the science of climate change before COP 26 (runs parallel)
HS279 A taste of physics
HS136 Physics of time
Please also check the rest of the courses in the science section.
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.