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CH250 – Structures of Organic Molecules

Can you figure out the commonality between a plastic chair, an aspirin tablet, a chestnut tree, a bacterial cell, fatty acids and you?

Chestnut tree. Photo by Neena Grover.
Chestnut tree. Photo by Neena Grover.


Professor Neena Grover email

You guessed it - all of them are based on carbon chemistry. In organic chemistry we study the chemistry of carbon compounds.

In this course, you will learn how carbon bonds to other carbons, hydrogens, nitrogens, oxygens etc. to make interesting molecules. When carbon is attached to certain atoms or in certain ways it is more reactive. The part of the molecule where reaction happens is called a “functional group.” We will start with learning the functional groups and then learn to interconvert them through reactions. In the process, we will learn mechanisms and methods of detection.

We will learn to detect functional groups by an easy method called infrared spectroscopy, or “IR” for short. We will also use Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), which uses the same principles as an MRI scan, to figure out molecular structure. You will also predict how the electrons might move when a reaction happens; this is called mechanism of a reaction. We will learn patterns of reaction mechanisms and classify them.

Organic chemistry is a “new language” and will require regular practice.

Prerequisite: CH 108