Washington and Lee University

Chemistry Department

 

 Summer Scholars 2007

 Courses in Science and Medicine

 Instructor: Dr. Steven Desjardins


Quantum Chemistry. This course is an introduction to quantum theory and how it explains the behavior of atoms and molecules. Quantum theory says some pretty strange things about how the world works, but it predicts the results of millions of experiments and is the basis for high technology, not to mention chemistry. Topics will include the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, Schrodinger's Cat, and what molecules really look like. Since the math is too hard to solve, we'll make use of computer software to create pictures of the quantum world.

 

Quantum Chemistry--Week by Week

Week 1. Doing the Wave
M Introduction
T Waves and Bullets
W The Two Slit Experiment
R Making Waves with Maple
F Waves in a Box

Week 2. The Science of Little Things
M The Particle in a Box
T Waves and Energies
W Atoms and Light
R The Hydrogen Atom
F The Tiny Top

 

 

Week 3. The Ties that Bind
M Orbitals
T The Other 110 or so.
W The Hydrogen Molecule
R Molecular Orbitals
F Balls and Sticks

Week 4. The Molecular Zoo
M Carbon Copies
T The Usual Suspects - Everyday Molecules
W Biomolecules
R The Big Finish


Models of Nature. This course will consider how mathematics is used to describe nature. For many students, teaching math in the absence of applications makes it hard to appreciate what's going on. We will begin with a set of science problems from physics, chemistry, biology and medicine and see how math is used to understand everything from springs and pendulums to blood chemistry and insect populations. Emphasis will be placed on the use of computer software like Excel and Maple to solve math problems. This good course will have a friendly introduction to calculus that will prove helpful during that senior year math class.

Models of Nature--Week by Week

Week 1. Pictures Of Nature
M Introduction
T Maple Syrup
W Making A Wave
R Throwing Rocks
F Achilles And The Tortoise

Week 2. The Mathematics Of Change
M A Slippery Slope
T Rates And Gradients
W Lots Of Bunnies
R Euler And Water
F Viva La Difference

 

Week 3. The Mathematics Of Luck
M Just Your Average Formula
T Factorials!
W Temperature And Demons
R Bells And Missiles
F Waves Of Chance

Week 4. Too Many Dimensions
M More Than Three
T The Secret Life Of Snowflakes
W Space, The Final Frontier
R Summing Up