• Chem 121: Chemistry and Society

Chemistry 121IN: Chemistry and Society

These files are provided for students in Chemistry 121IN, an integrated lecture and laboratory course at Pima Community College for the 2014 - 2015 academic year.

Lecture and Class Information:

CHM 121IN Syllabus for Fall 2014 This syllabus includes the list and dates of all laboratory experiments.

Short report information

Notes on metric system, chemical symbols, formulas, nomenclature, chemical equations, and more will be found in the General Chem Survival Manual section.

Important Information:

This is an integrated class that combines both the lecture and the laboratory. 

Passing the course requires attendance to class, completion of assignments, quizzes, exams, and all aspects of the laboratory experiments including any pre-lab reports, and laboratory reports.

A major requirement of this course is writing two short reports, each being 5 pages in length, double spaced. Details of these reports are given in the course syllabus and also on this web page.

Course Notes and Reference Material:

The Periodic Table If you are looking for information on any chemical element, its properties, or its uses, use this link to the Web Elements Periodic Table by Mark Winter, Dept. of Chemistry, University of Sheffield. Probably the best periodic table on the Internet, it provides a wealth of information about the elements.

Visual Elements Periodic Table This is a link to the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) interactive periodic table. Elements can be highlighted by their groups, blocks and periods. There is an abundance of information about each element and it will continue to evolve with additional information.

ChemSpider If you are searching for information on chemical compounds, their structure or other information, ChemSpider links together compound information across the web, providing free text and structure search access of millions of chemical structures. With an abundance of additional property information, tools to curate and use the data, and integration to a multitude of other online services, ChemSpider is the richest single source of structure-based chemistry information available online.  ChemSpider is provided free by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Many of the references listed below are links to other web sites. These links, or the information referred to, may change when web sites are updated. Some web sites may be deleted by sponsoring organizations over time. Please advise your instructor if a web site is no longer accessible.

The Origins of Chemistry

An Illustrated History of Alchemy and Chemistry from ancient times to 1800

Math Review includes significant figures and scientific notation

Math Review Algebraic operations you should be able to do before starting a general chemistry course

Math Answers Answers to the Math Review problems

Significant Figures, Exponents, and Scientific Notation A tutorial

A Summary of Significant Figures Rules

Answers for Significant Figures, Exponents, and Scientific Notation

Measurement, and Temperature

Metric System The SI system with a short history of measurement

Temperature Temperature measurement with a short historical background

Absolute Zero This is a program from NOVA (split into 10 chapters). The program presents a history of temperature measurement up to the modern methods of trying to reach absolute zero. This is a link to the NOVA website.

The Elements and the Periodic Table

Element Symbols A historical approach to modern element symbols

Forging the Elements How were the elements formed? This is a segement from the NOVA program Origins: Back to the Beginning. Watch the entire program (split into 6 chapters) or just select the Forging the Elements chapter. This is a link to the NOVA website.

The Periodic Table This is a link to the Web Elements Periodic Table by Mark Winter, Dept. of Chemistry, University of Sheffield. Probably the best periodic table on the Internet, it provides a wealth of information about the elements. This is the place to look for information about the chemical elements.

Notes on the Periodic Classification This is a PDF form of the PowerPoint lecture used in class

Electron configurations This is an applet for electron configurations from The ChemCollective at Carnegie Mellon

Prospects for Further Considerable Extension of the Periodic Table, a paper by Glenn T. Seaborg, Journal of Chemical Education, 46, Number 10, October 1969, p626

Island of Stability A video from NOVA explaining how heavy elements are made. This is a link to the NOVA website

The Elements A song by Tom Lehrer recored in 1959 and originally publishedon the recording An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer. This version comes from HallofWisdom in Seattle

Are We Alone? Life in the Universe

Universe 101 This is NASA website for the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe that launched June 2001 to make fundamental measurements of cosmology -- the study of the properties of our universe as a whole. This link is direct to the Understanding the Evolution of Life in the Universe page. Explore the other sections in the Universe 101 portion of the website as well as the rest of the entire website, This is a well written resource.

Life in the Universe This is the text of a lecture by Stephen Hawking on the Professor Stephen Hawking website. Read other lectures on the website.


Twinkle, twinkle Little Star A history of telescopes, spectroscopy and stellar chemistry by Mike Sutton from Chemistry World, December 2009

Reading Between the Lines An article by Jon Cartwright about spectroscopy for investigating stars and planets, from Chemistry World, December 2009

Chemical Formulas and Nomenclature

Formula Writing Includes nomenclature of inorganic compounds.

Answers for Formula Writing

Additional Tables for Formula Writng These tables were supplied by Matthew Medeiros of Pima Community College.

Flowcharts for Naming Compounds and Common Acids

Chemical Formulas and Formula Weight Calculations

NaCl by Kate and Anna McGarrigle. Kate was failing her chemistry course and came up with this while studying for her exam.

Organic Compounds, Organic Chemistry, and Petroleum

Nomenclature of Organic Compounds A tutorial

Notes on Organic Chemistry This is a PDF file of the PowerPoint presentation used in class

Petroleum This is a link to the Wikipedia page on petroleum. This provided a good overview of petroleum, petroleum resources, production, and some history and uses.

How Oil Drilling Works This is a link to the howstuffworks web site on drilling for petroleum.

The Athabasca Tar Sands This is a PDF file of the PowerPoint presentation used in class

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline This is a PDF file of the PowerPoint presentation used in class

Product Safety and Toxicology

Product safety standards This is a link to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commision

Toxicology basics This is a PDF of a PowerPoint presentation Principles of Toxicology by Elizabeth Casarez of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy.

Notes on Toxicology basics These are a PDF file of the Principles of Toxicology (BIOC 597c) by Elizabeth Casarez of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy.

Nuclear Radiation and Nuclear Reactors

Notes on Nuclear Chemistry This is a PDF form of the PowerPoint lecture used in class

The following are links to web sites for natural radiation decay series.

Natural Decay Series: Uranium, Radium and Thorium. From the Argonne National Laboratory Environmental Science Division.

Natural Radioactive Series by Yevgeniy Miretskiy. Select the decay series and the time step, then animate. This uses a bar graph to show the concentrations of the major isotopes formed in the decay series change over time. Additional data on half-lives and numbers of atoms are given on the right of the graph. Note: For long half-lives, select a longer time step.

Radioactivity in Nature

Radioactivity in Nature This is a link to Idaho State University's Radiation Information Network. This site categorizes over 60 radionuclides found in nature.

Nuclear reactors

Types of nuclear reactors This link gives a very brief overview of the three main types of fission reactors.

Nuclear power reactors This is a link to the World Nuclear Association web site.

Nuclear reactor types This is a link to a publication from the Institution of electrical Engineers.

Columbia Generating Station Nuclear Power Plant Tour. A video showing how a boiling water reactor generating station works.

The following are links to information on the Biological Effects of Radiation

Nuclear Radiation and Its Biological Effects. This is a link to an excerpt from the book No Immediate Danger, Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth, by Dr Rosalie Bertell

Biological Effects of Exposure to a Single Dose of Ionizing Radiation. A table summarizing the effects.

Radiation we are exposed to every day

The following are articles from The American Heritage Magazine of Invention and Technology

Inside the Atomic Kitchen: Irradiated food

The Atomic Cannon: The largest and heaviest artillery piece ever ordered by the Army helped to end a war.

The Beauty of the Bomb: An essay examining one person’s fascination with the bomb.

The Plan to Nuke Panama: The plan to construct a new Panama canal

We Knew That if we Succeeded: An interview with Edward Teller.

Our Nuclear Heritage

Albert Einstein's Letters to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Leo Szilard, a Hungarian physicist who left Germany after Hitler's rise to Power, feared that Germany's nuclear scientist might be able to make a "nuclear bomb". He had Albert Einstein sign a letter to President Roosevelt which explained the possibility of a nuclear bomb and urged that the United States not allow a potential enemy to develop it first.

Scientists with a secret An article by Spencer R. Weart from Physics Today, February 1967. This tells the story of an informal agreement betweenf atomic scientists and the publishers of scientific journals to withold publication of information related to thefission of uranium and the production of plutonium until after World War II.

Physics and Nuclear Arms Today This is a link to Google Books containing readings from Physics Today, 1976 to 1989, edited by David Hafemeister, containing selected reprints of articles on the effects of nuclear weapons, nuclear testing, nuclear defense, and nuclear proliferation

How Nuclear Bombs Work. This is a link to the howstuffworks web site.

The Story of the Atomic Bomb, 1934-1945, by James Richard Fromm. This is a link to the web site. This article is well illustrated with photos of most of the people involved.

US Nuclear Tests: Nuclear tests from July 1945 to September 1992 – with web links.

Let's Make a Thermonuclear Device. In November 2001, British reporters searching through an abandoned "al-Qaida safe house" in Kabul, Afghanistan, found this document, and reported that they'd stumbled upon the terrorists' nuclear intentions. This information was published in a Nov. 15 article in the Times of London. In the article, journalist Anthony Loyd wrote that next to "physics and chemistry manuals devoted to molecular matter," he discovered this document on how to make a thermonuclear device. Marc Abrahams, a former editor of the Journal of Irreproducible Results, where the article originally appeared, said "Either there's one guy in the Taliban who had a sense of humor, or everyone was downloading everything on the Net that had the word 'thermonuclear' in it."

NOTE: My class presentation on nuclear chemistry includes a discussion on the atomic bomb and some of its applications (or misapplications), along with schematics of the two bombs used by the United States at the end of World War II. I will not use this web site as a forum to discuss whether it was right or wrong to unleash nuclear weapons on the world - that's history, and it's up to each individual to research the reasons for that ultimate decision. Much of the destruction and injury caused by the atomic bombs was suppressed by the U.S. government and classified until 1968, but still, only a small amount of material is publicly available in bits and pieces on the Internet. Remenber, only one country has ever used nuclear weapons in warfare. Few people, alive today, have witnessed the potential destruction that a single atomic bomb can produce. It is my belief that nuclear weapons must never be used again, for any reason, and that there should be a world-wide ban on all nuclear weapons.

The Atomic Cafe This is a link to a film I show in class. The Atomic Cafe shows historical footage from the Trinity test, through the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the atomic testing, post WWII propaganda, and footage from troop briefings and newsreels. This is a sometimes comical and often chilling about the cold war paranoia in the U.S. Normally, I interupt the film several times to add additional information not available in this film or other documentaries listed below. Even without the additional information, this is an important part of our atomic heritage. If the link, above, is not active here is a second link to the film on youtube (it may be preceded by an advertisement)

What follows are links to three films about Hiroshima and Nagasaki:

A Tale of Two Cities, presented by the U.S. War Department is a Government film using Hiroshima and Nagasaki Stock Footage. It is presented as a newsreel-type of film.  (To play, click on the balloon on the play bar on the bottom of the screen.)

Hiroshima, Hirohito, & the Rising Sun, Part 1.  Hiroshima is a film by Rhawn Joseph, PhD.  Assembled from pre-bombing footage, atomic testing footage, and post-bombing footage. 

Hiroshima-Nagasaki, August,1945. Part 1and Part 2  is a compilation of silent black-and-white film footage of the ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki shot by Japanese cameramen of the Nippon Eiga She documentary unit before the U.S. occupation forces arrived in Japan.  This halted by the occupation, then ordered resumed under its supervisions. Later all footage was impounded, classified SECRET, and moved to the United States.

In 1968, Columbia University, learning about this material, applied to the U.S. Department of Defense for access to it. Apparently a declassification had recently taken place, and Columbia was permitted to duplicate the surviving 2 hours and 45 minutes of footage. The result was Hiroshima-Nagasaki, August 1945, the most widely shown film of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki holocaust, documenting the meaning of nuclear war. Hirishoma-Nagasaki, August 1945 (16 minutes, black and white) was produced by Erik Barnouw for the Columbia University Press and is available for purchase at The Robert Flaherty Film Seminar http://www.flahertyseminar.org/?sb=5&mb=4 . The complete 30-minute film is titled  "The Case of the A-Bomb Footage," and includes an introduction by Erik Barnouw, which traces the history of long-suppressed footage.

The Atmosphere and Weather

Notes on Chemistry of the Environment Atomspheric and water chemistry notes

Our Atmosphere Notes on the atmosphere

El Nino and Climate Prediction: What is El Niño and how does it affect our weather?

El Nino This is a link to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) El Nino page. There are additional links to explanations of what is El Nino, its status and discussions of this phenomenon

La Nina This is a link to the NOAA La Nina page. This is one of the best places to get general information, forecasts, and impact information.

Our Changing Climate: The Earth’s Climate, what causes changes and where do we go from here?

Our Ozone Shield: What is the ozone layer and what factors affect it?

The Ozone Layer This is a link to the NOAA page on the ozone layer. Click on links for more information.

How to name CFCs. This is a link to the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) on how to name CFCs. This organization is the primary climate-change data and information center of the U.S. department of Energy (DOE). Search this site for additional climate change information.

Recent Greenhouse Gas Concentrations This is a link to CDIAC

Weather on Demand : Can cloud-seeding really control the weather?

Warmer Oceans, Stronger Hurricanes. An article by Kevin E. Trenberth about how global warming affects hurricanes. From Scientific American, July 2007.

Acid Rain This is a link to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) web site on acid rain. Click on links for more information.

Earth Science

Explore the World of Earth Science This is a link to investigations and visualizations designed to accompany Earth Science, a high school textbook authored by Spaulding and Namowitz and published by McDougal Littell. The Web site was developed by TERC, a non-profit educational research and development firm in collaboration with McDougal Littell.

Science Fiction materials will be distributed in class on a CD-ROM. The CD-ROM contains bibliographies, short stories, and related science articles. The science fiction bibliographies are on this web site under Science Fiction Science fiction stories and related articles are on the CD-ROM

Science Fiction Reading List for Spring 2013 This is the list of short stories on the CD-ROM that we will be discussing in class.

Technovelgy This is a link to the Technovelgy web site which lists inventions, technology and ideas of science fiction writers.

Center for the Study of Science Fiction This is a link to The J. Wayne and Elsie Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas. In addition to a large amount of information, it has links to other resources.

Sci-Fi Science is a web site created by a group of professional scientists to explore the true science unerlying popular science fiction. There is a lot of interesting material on this web site.

AboutSF The Educational outreach arm of theCenter for the Study of Science Fiction and is a joint-project of thescience Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the Science Fiction Research Association. Among the information on this web site are reader's guides and teacher resources.

The Best Science Fiction Stories Ever Written This is a link to a web site by Rusty with an extensive listing of science fiction short stories, a description of each story, and where to find them.


Nanotechnology Takes Off A QUEST video, Part of A KQED Multimedia Series Exploring Northern California Science, Environment and Nature

What is Nanotechnology This is a link to the web site of CRN, the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology

Introduction to Nanotechnology This is a link to the nanowerk website. This is a good multipage article on nanotechnology (An outline of the article's contents is on the left-hand side of the page.)

How Nanotechnology Works This is a link to the HowStuffWorks web site

The Nano Song by the Sounds of Science a group of graduate students and alumni at UC Berkeley. Nanotechnology can be fun.



Introduction to Electrochemistry. This is the PDF version of the PowerPoint presentation used in Class

How Batteries Work This is a link to the howstuffworks web site

Energizer Learning Center has a site that tells about batteries, history, battery care, battery comparison, and some battery experiments.

Battery University is a site sponsored by Cadex Electronics Inc., in Vancouver BC. The site contains information about battery chemistries, best battery choices and ways to make your battery last longer.

Fuel Cells

How Fuel Cells Work This is a link to the HowStuffWorks web site on Fuel Cells

Fuel Cells This is a link to the NOVA site that has a 14 minute video on fuel cell cars and a number of discussion points on fuel cells

The Online Fuel Cell Information Resource This is a link to a web site from the Breakthrough Technologies Institute (BTI), a non-profit [501(c)(3)] independent, educational organization that identifies and promotes environmental and energy technologies that can improve the human condition

Laboratory Experiments and Activities:

The laboratory safety and procedures book, The General Chemistry Laboratory Survival Manual, is available in the college bookstore. The laboratory experiments are available here for downloading. (These are PDF files and require acrobat reader.)

Read the experiments before coming to class. If you prefer to work from your computer or tablet, you will still need to download data pages for your lab reports.

Safety in the Academic Laboratory

Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories, 7th Ed. This is a link to the publication by the American Chemical Society Joint Board-council Committee on Chemical Safety

Safety Test Questions These questions are similar, but not exactly the same, as those asked on the safety test. The safety test contains 35 questions.

The Safety Song by the Sounds of Science a group of graduate students and alumni at UC Berkeley. Safety doesn't have to be boring.

Graphing with Excel A LabWrite Resources tutorial on graphing from NC State University

Build a Spectroscope

Emission spectra of elements: These are links to web sites for emission spectra of elements. Note: Academic websites may only be available for limited time periods.

A periodic table from University of Oregon. Click on an element to see the spectrum. Choose between absorption and emission spectra.

Quicktime movies from Beloit College. Click on the absorption, emission, or combination spectrum shown to initiate spectra. Move the slide on the bottom of the spectrum to select elements. Note: Apple Quicktime needed (a free download)

Spectroscopy: Element Identification and Emission Spectra. Contains an explanation of spectra with both selected flame spectra and element spectra following the explanation. This material was prepared by Dr. Walt Volland, Bellvue Community College.

Spectra of Gas Discharges by Joachim Koppen, University Strasbourg, France.

Table of Flame Colorant by Element from the Mineralogy Database.

A periodic table from Ivan Noels. Click on an element to see its spectrum.

An Experiment in Alchemy: Copper to Silver to Gold

Preparation of Synthetic Rubber

Properties of Unknown Substances

Nuclear Chemistry Experiments

Determination of the Half-Life of Potassium-40

Experiments Related to Atmospheric Chemistry

How do we Affect the Quality of Our Atmosphere

Acids, Bases, and pH Using Red Cabbage Paper

Sunscreens: Preparation and Evaluation

Earth Science Experiments

Testing the Waters Water samples will be supplied. If desired, you can bring a 1 L (1 quart) sample from home for testing.

Earth Science

Soil Analysis

Preparation of Malachite

Extracting a Metal From Its Ore

Landfills and Recycling Construct a mini-landfill.


Properties of Iron - The Heat treatment of Iron

Recycling a Metal into a Chemical Compound: The Preparation of Alum

The Aluminum Beverage Can. An article by William F. Hosford and John L. Duncan, from Scientific American, September 1994, describing the design and manufacture of aluminum beverage cans.

Growing Alum Crystals A homework project using the alum made in the lab or alum from the supermarket

Energy Experiments

Build a Wind Turbine This is a link to The Pembina Institute Re-energy.ca site. You can download the Vertical Axis Wind Turbine instructions from this web site. Also download and print the construction modifications and templates

Build a Solar Oven This is a link to The Pembina Institute Re-energy.ca site. Download the solar oven construction plans from this web site. There will be some modifications made in class.


Electroplating: Electroplate a leaf or other small object This experiment is under construction.

Construction of a Microscale Fuel Cell

The Synthesis of Biodiesel from Vegetable Oil

Nanotechnology experiments are located at the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Click on this link to go to the entire Video Lab Manual of experiments for Nanoscale Science and Technology. The links below will take you directly to the experiments or will open a modified experiment..

Nanotechnology: Synthesis of Aqueous Ferrofluid Nanoparticles

Nanotechnology: Synthesis of Cholesteryl Ester Liquid Crystals

Nanotechnology: Investigation of a Liquid Crystal Watch

Nanotechnology: Calibration of a Liquid Crystal Mood Ring

Nanotechnology: Graphene Prepare graphene from graphite with sticky tape

Nanotechnology: Graphene 2. A new preparation of graphene is under construction.

Nanotechnology: Nitinol wire

Nanotechnology: Titanium Dioxide Raspberry Solar Cell

In addition to the above experiments, there is a section of Nanoscale Science and Technology Demonstrations, a series of short movies that demonstrate aspects of nanotechnology. Click on this link to go to the movie page. (Requires Quicktime which can be downloaded at no cost from the link on the movie page.)

Forensics materials will be distributed in class on a CD-ROM. Forensics activities will include identification of a suspect, fingerprinting, ink analysis, handwriting analysis, fibers and fiber analysis, hair analysis, blood drop studies, drug testing, DNA isolation, and DNA testing. The forensics experiments are on this web site under Forensics The CD-ROM contains additional articles for the class to read on forensics that I cannot post on the web site.