Chemistry Blog

Category Archive: chemical education

Nov 04

Substitution vs Elimination reactions: Guest Blogging at Master Organic Chemistry


A while ago, I invited myself over to James’ Master Organic Chemistry blog, and he has graciously allowed me to write a series of blog posts. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be guest blogging at James’ place about substitution vs elimination reactions – the historically confusing unit for undergraduate OChem students. Part 1 of …

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Oct 23

A Short History of Proteins in Ink.


I teach a short course called Nature’s Robots (blatantly copying the title of Tanford and Renynolds’ book of the same name). It’s a potted history of protein science. I got bored of reading essays so I asked the students to create a short video on the subject instead. One of thems produced this absolutely beautiful …

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Sep 17

Disease-Focused Pharmaceutical Posters from the Njardarson Group


Jon Njardarson at the University of Arizona is well known for his group’s Top200 Drugs Posters. They chronicle the structure of the top 200 pharmaceutical drugs by both US retail sales and US prescriptions. Now, his group has changed focus slightly. The group takes a disease category, like the nervous system, and lists all small-molecule …

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Aug 27

The Underground Map of the Elements


My son loves trains. So I came up with a train related twist to an inspection of the periodic table. We sat and cut up a copy of the table and then rearranged each element as a ‘station’ on an underground rail system. Each line represents a characteristic shared by the elements on that line. …

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Aug 20

Happy Berzelius Day


Today, August 20th, marks the birthday of Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779–1848). I decided to write this post because, frankly, I knew nothing about Berzelius. He seems to be something of an “unsung hero”, despite his important contributions to science. I thought I’d take the opportunity to collect some key facts about this visionary …

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Aug 19

Writing an Online Organic Chemistry Quiz


Lately, I’ve been very interested in using my university’s Learning Management System (we use Moodle, others use Blackboard or something else) to administer quizzes to my students, but as an organic chemist, I’ve been hesitant to do so. Primarily because I don’t want to ask a bunch of multiple choice questions. That’s not what my …

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