Chemistry 112H
Spring 2008

This www site is still very much under construction and will be updated continuously throughout the semester.
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Professor Paul S. Weiss
Office: 128 Davey Laboratory
Phone: (814) 865-3693
Instant Messenger: PSWeiss
Office Hours: Drop in or by appointment
Send e-mail to Paul

Aministrative Assistant: Steve Bumbarger
Office: 128 Davey Laboratory (also about to change!)
Phone: (814) 865-7817
AIM: catsman4

Grader: Hillary Grube
Phone: (717) 823-3653 (cell)
AIM: BluelikeRed

Assistant: Amanda Moore
Phone: (814) 863-8220
AIM: amoo969

Our Demonstrator: Phil Stemple
Office 12 Osmond (at the front of the lecture hall)
Phone: (814) 865-5542

We will have excellent guest lecturers. Stay tuned.


While we will use Chemistry: The Central Science, by Brown, LeMay and Burnstein, 10th edition, we will also use much supplementary material and www links.

Learning in Chem 112H

This is an exciting course for many reasons. We are able to cover many of the highlights of chemistry in a relatively informal way. This introduction is meant to guide you through many future years of scientific thinking and discussion, citizenship, and possibly even more chemistry.

Much of what you learn, you will learn on your own or from each other. This will allow us greater latitude in class. For instance, nearly every Friday class will be a discussion. If you have topics to discuss and know in advance, let us (instructors and classmates) know so that we can prepare for a higher level discussion.

While we will cover everything in the regular (Chem 112) version of this course, we will do it much faster (!) in order to allow us to pursue many other additional topics. This will require a great deal of work on your part. Please be prepared for it and budget the time for it. Anticipate that the lectures, the readings, and the homeworks will be complementary rather than overlapping. You will be responsible for the material from all of these sources. Similarly, your participation in class is required both for discussions and for the education of your classmates and professor. There is little that we plan to say that is so critical that a good classroom discussion would not be preferable.

Unlike other general chemistry classes, we will cover how it is that we know what we think we do and how we test that understanding. We will develop an understanding of what experiments and theory are required to answer fundamental chemical and scientific questions.

Some chemtouristic sites to visit:

Chemistry's contribution to humanity an ongoing IUPAC project. CRC Handbook Online (you must be logged in through Penn State or another subscribing institution to use this link)
The Elements.
Using SciFinder Scholar at Penn State
How a scanning electron microscope works.
Whole brain atlas.
View biological molecules at NIH's Molecules R Us.
Enzymes -- 3D Views and related links.
Scanning probe microscopy (our research) discussion. See my group's main web page and associated links.
Natural radioactivity and other links.
Feynman Lecture: "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom"
Energy conversions and Physical Constants from NIST
Stereo images at the exploratorium.
Some chemistry demos on video

Seminars in the Eberly College of Science.

Monday 14 January 2008 (Including appearances by: Hillary Grube & Amanda Moore)
Measurements of Single Molecules in Biology and Chemistry I

Wednesday 16 January 2008
Measurements of Single Molecules in Biology and Chemistry II

HW Due:
Find a recent (2007 or later) journal article from Science or Nature that discusses single-molecule measurements.
Provide a summary of the article in ca. 10 sentences. Discuss the goals of the work and the technique(s) used.
Attach a copy of the article to the homework.

Write and answer your own homework problem, as described in class.

Friday 18 January 2008

Acids & Bases I

Read: Chapter 15, Sections 4.2-4, 16.1-2.

HW Due:
Find a recent (2007 or later) journal article from Science or Nature that discusses some aspects of genomics.
Provide a summary of the article in ca. 10 sentences. Discuss the goals of the work and the technique(s) used.
Attach a copy of the article to the homework.

Decide on a favorite energy unit.
In this unit give an estimate of or the range for:
Visible photon energy
Typical chemical bond energy
Ionization potential of one common element
Also find the energy range for UV-A and UV-B light

Draw an energy level diagram for:
Compare the sensitivity and specificity of each.

Write and answer your own homework problem, as described in class.

Monday 21 January 2008 No class.

Wednesday 23 January 2008
Acids & Bases II & III

NIST Optical Tweezers Page including the Adhesion Movie

Mass spectroscopy Tutorial (replacing a broken link).
Mass spectroscopy and some others, too, including nuclear magnetic resonance (nmr).

Read: Sections 16.3-8. (this was originally for 21 January 2008)

HW: 16.1, 13-18, 21-24, 26, 27, 38, 41-44, 92, 101
Jenna's extra problem for you!
And, as always, your own problem, as described in class.

What region of the spectrum (give both energy and wavelength ranges are useful for:
Core-level spectroscopies (e.g. X-ray fluorescence discussed in class)
Valence shell spectroscopies
Vibrational spectroscopies
Rotational spectroscopies

What color is table salt when: in a flame, in a shaker, or spread lightly on a table or piece of paper? Why?

Find an article on fluorescence published since 1 January 2002 in an archival journal. Give the full citation including: Author list, journal, volume, page number, and year. Write ca. five sentences describing what the authors were trying to learn. Your article must be printed (whether or not you capture or read it electronically).
Once again, try starting with the top journals like Science and Nature.

Read: 17.1 (common ion effect), 17.2-3 (buffers & titrations), 7.1-4 (periodicity)
HW: 17.5, 9-11, 13-16 (common ion effect & buffers)
Explain the relative acid strengths of:
H2SO4 vs. H2SO3 and
H2SO4 vs. H2SeO4
Problems: 16.69-74, 77-80, 83-85, 88, 90
Allison's famous cheese problem
Also, your own problem as always (and I am going to stop listing it now).

Check out Prof. Will Castleman's work, including solvation in clusters.

Friday 25 January 2008 (Guest Lecturer: Amanda Moore))

Acids & Bases II & III, cont. & Mass Spectrometry

Prof. David Pratt and his group at the University of Pittsburgh studies conformational changes of molecules by determining moments of inertia using rotational spectroscopy, as we described in class.

Prof. Will Castleman and his group at Penn State made the measurements of solvated protons that we discussed (and others that we will!).

Acids & Bases Reading: Sections 16.8-11, 17.1.
HW: 16.48-60 even, 65-68, 94, 98, 99.
Also, your own problem as described in class.

Monday 28 January 2008 (Guest lecturer Amanda Moore)

Buffers and Titrations, Solubility
Acid Strength vs. Structure

Read: Sections 17.4-6
HW: 7.12, 21, 24, 32, 36
17.17, 18, 22, 24, 25, 35-37, 39
and 7.50, 54, 60, 64, 65

Wednesday 30 January 2008

Periodic Trends

Project: Select your element for the poster and paper (from a hat!).

Read: 7.5-7, 4.2, 17.6-7
Hallie's solubility problem, and
Jenna's pH problem.
How are the following measured quantitatively: ionization energy, electron affinity?
(This latter problem will be graded in addition to the normal homework.)<

How to make Paul jealous

Friday 1 February 2008
Finish Periodic Trends
Discussion Class

Monday 4 February 2007 (Guest Lecturer: Dr. Beth Anderson)

Finish Solubility, Problem Session
Choose your element, if you have not.

HW: Start researching your elements!
Focus on ONE topic that is related to the element chosen in the life sciences.
Remember that your presentation time is only four minutes for your poster, so you need to have a single take-away message.

(Do not forget to make up a problem.)

Wednesday 6 February 2008
Measurements of Periodic Properties Discusssed
Diffraction and Mass Spectrometry

Diffraction Discussion

The diffraction demo is from a visitor we had at Penn State: Prof. Amand Lucas, of Namur, Belgium.
He prepared it for a TV show on How X-rays Cracked the Structure of DNA. An elegantly simple optical diffraction demonstration with an inexpensive laser pointer is used to show the way in which x-rays can reveal the structure of crystals in particular the double helix structure of DNA.

Revealing the Backbone Structure of B-DNA from Laser Optical Simulations of Its X-ray Diffraction Diagram, A. A. Lucas, Ph. Lambin, R. Mairesse, and M. Mathot, Journal of Chemical Education 76, 378 (1999).

Read: Sections 19.1-3.
HW: 17.45-47, 50, 53, 56, 59-61, 63, 65, 66, 94, 97

How are the following measured quantitatively: covalent & ionic radii?
(These latter problems will be graded in addition to the normal homework.)
Also, another go at measuring: ionization energy, electron affinity, if you were not happy with your answers for Monday.

Friday 8 February 2008
Continuing Diffraction and Single-Molecule Measurements Discussion Class

Monday 11 February 2008

Thermodynamics I:
Spontaneity, Enthalpy, Entropy

Read: Sections 19.4-7

HW: 19.1, 7, 8, 10, 11, 20, 34
From a table (cite the table): find the C-C bond distances for single, double, and triple bonds.
Give the C-C single, double, and triple bond spacings for a specific molecules for each (say which molecules and cite your sources).

Go over your poster topic with me by AIM or email or after class.
Even better, if you can, turn in your preliminary versions of your poster abstracts and I will give you feedback on them.

Wednesday 13 February 2008
Thermodynamics II:
Free Energy, Equilibrium Constants, and Work

HW: 19.44-48, 53, 54, 56-59, 67, 68, 71, 75

Friday 15 February 2008
Thermodynamics III & Electrochemistry I

Monday 18 February 2008 (Guest Lecturer:
Prof. Will Hancock)

Read: Oxidation Numbers pp. 139-141, 322, and 20.1-4.

Kir's Annie Oakley problem.

Wednesday 20 February 2008 (Guest Lecturer Prof. Mark Horn)
Nanotechnology and Nanofabrication

Read: 20.5-9

HW: 20.9, 10, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20-24, 35, 38
Pick out a recent journal article (try Science or Nature) of keen scientific interest to you and write a 5-10 sentence critical synopsis. Choose a topic that involves chemistry in some way. Attach a copy of the paper.

You may use www resources as a guide, but you must use the archival literature as your source.

Toilet volcano gone awry

Thursday 21 February 2008

Updated POSTER PRINTING INFO (in pdf format))
Please try to mail your poster to Jackie by Tuesday 19 February, if at all possible. You must do this if she is going to print your poster for Friday class. Her email address is:

Final poster abstracts due by 5 PM!

Download template here (right click and use SaveAs).
Rename it YourName112H1abs.html

Fill in the title, name, element, and abstract sections, then email to Paul & Steve by clicking here and including the file as an attachment.

Friday 22 February 2008
Electrochemistry III
Metallurgy I
Transition Metals
First Posters

Read Sections 23.1-23.8

HW: 23.9, 18-20, 30, 32, 33

Additional HW: 20.70, 74, 84-86, 91, 93, 97, 105
Assign oxidation states to five molecules or molecular ions, each containing at least three different elements.
Erica's elemental problem.

First Posters

Fe Shannon Fusina

Sunday 24 February 2008

600 PM Elements of Life Poster session -- 2nd Floor Osmond/Davey overpass.
You will have four minutes to present followed by one to two minutes of discussion.

A few thoughts:
Keep a single focus.
Practice your presentation out loud! Work through rough spots repeatedly (memorize words if necessary).
Props and assistants are ok, if justified by your presentation.
Use large, readable fonts. More detail can be in your presentation than on your poster.

Pizza provided.

An example elements poster, as requested, from John McManigle of the Chem 13H '05 class.
Grade sheet we will use (pdf).

Zn Paul Durandt
Mg Ryan Davis
Mn Meng Jia
Co Victor Aiello
Ni Todor Khristov
Cu Greg Plumb
Cr Patrick Crooks
S Jason Shpilsky
Se Ben Ng
Si Tom Draskovic
Ca Allison Jackovitz
Sr Meredith C. Peterson
F Elizabeth Ebert-Zavos
Tc* Dru Fortney
Ti Paul Young
K Rosie Qin
Na Aaron Nogan
Cl Arwen Kandt
I Katherine Nicol
Pt Brandon Leibowitz
B Matthew Pizzorusso
Sn Sakiba Khan
Hg Stephanie Eldred

Elements of Life Poster session abstracts
Chemical & Engineering News Essays on the Elements

Monday 25 February 2008
Problem Session

Wednesday 27 February 2008 (Guest Lecturer: Prof. Anne Andrews)
Neuroscience Discussion

HW: Describe one enzyme and one therapeutic reagent utilizing a complexed transition metal. Explain in one paragraph for each what it does and where it operates.
Suzanne's carbon monoxide problem.

How is the speed of light measured?

Friday 29 February 2008

Electrochemisty III: Batteries and Corrosion

Read: 24.1-6

HW: Show energy level diagrams for the filling of the d orbitals for d0-d10 octahedral complexes. Show which electron numbers can have high and low spin complexes and show both the high and low spin electron configurations.

Zn Paul Durandt
Fe Shannon Fusina

Tom Mallouk's Fuel Cell Problems:
1) Calculate the Carnot efficiency of a H2/O2 engine operating at:
a) T1 = 200 °C
b) T2 = 500 °C

2) What is the maximum possible efficiency of a H2/O2 fuel cell running at 25 °C (=298 K)?

3) a) Balance the steam reforming reactions for coal (mostly C) and oil (assume it is C8H18) for the products H2 and CO2
b) How many moles of H2 do you get per mole of CO2 produced in each case? c) Use the thermochemical tables (back of book) to determine how many kJ of energy you get per mole of C, assuming the H2 is used in a fuel cell at 0.8 V.

4) Write the balanced half reactions for a fuel cell that runs on natural gas (CH4).

5) What is the Eo for this natural gas cell?
compound deltaGfo (kJ/mol)
CH4(g) -50.8
CO2(g) -394.4
H2O(l) -273.1 (-237.1, as corrected your classmate)

6) What fraction of the available free energy is lost by reforming the CH4 + H2? How does it affect Eo for the cell?

7) Repeat the calculation for methanol (CH3OH), deltaGfo = -166.2 (CH3OH can be made from renewables (wood, etc.)).

8) What is the available free energy per mole of carbon in CH4 and CH3OH (relevant to the production of CO2 greenhouse gas)?
Repeat the calculation for coal (C) and oil (CH2).

Monday 3 March 2008
Exam I Review
Bring questions/problems
Here is a pdf of a previous midterm exam.

8 PM Special Review Session (Hillary Grube)
Exam Review

Wednesday 5 March 2008
Exam I

Where's Paul?

Please attend Prof. Klaus von Klitzing's Marker Lectures in Physics (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)! What better way to relax after the exam then to go to an interesting lecture at 8 PM at the Nittany Lion Inn?

Friday 7 March 2008
Optional Demonstration Class
in which in previoua years:
Ashley set off a string of H2 balloons (still),
Patrick lay gun cotton across his arm (still),
Hillary made gummy worms, and
Liz handily won the nylon rope competition.

Papers Due (see requirements below).

10-14 March 2008
Enjoy Spring Break!

Monday 17 March 2008
Go Over Exam

Wednesday 19 March 2008
Transition Metals

What question should have been asked on the exam but was not? (other than energy unit conversions)
(This is your creative question unless you did not turn one in on Monday.)

Friday 21 March 2008
Transition Metals II: Color and Spin

Monday 24 March 2008

Hydrogen and Oxygen

Read: 22.7-9 (nonmetals)

HW: 22.55-58, 61-65, 68-70 (nonmetals)

Thermite movie

Wednesday 26 March 2008
Nitrogen, Carbon, and Noble Gases

Wednesday 26 March 2008, 730 PM, HUB Auditorium

Please attend:
Prof. Nate Lewis, Cal Tech Department of Chemistry
Powering the Planet: Where in the World Will Our Energy Come From?

Friday 28 March 2008
More Carbon and Fullerenes

Read: 22.1-6 (nonmetals)

HW: 22.15-17, 20-26, 29, 41-45, 50-52 (nonmetals)
Where do the values for terrestrial abundances of the elements originate, how are they estimated, and what do they estimate?

Monday 31 March 2008
Kinetics I

Read: 14.1-3 (kinetics)

HW: 14.4, 12, 14, 15, 17, 20, 24, 25, 30, 31 (kinetics)

Wednesday 2 April 2008

Kinetics II

A video of the clock reaction.

Read: 14-4-5

HW: 14.34-37, 40, 41, 45, 46, 50, 52, 53
Choose a metal that was not discussed in the poster sessions (no transuranium elements without prior permission).
In one page or less:
1) Identify its source (location, chemical identity, impurities).
2) Describe how it is collected.
3) Describe how it is reduced (if required).
4) Describe how it is purified.
5) Find out how much it costs as elemental metal.

Friday 4 April 2008
Materials I: Metals, Semiconductors and Insulators
Nuclear Chemistry I

You should have already read Chapter 14. Please review it for class.

HW: Find a paper on nanoscience from the years 2003-2008 that is in one of the following journals: Science, Nature, or Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
(Hint: if you saw a paper you liked, do a citation search on it.)
Provide a summary of the article in ca. 10 sentences. Discuss the goals of the work and how the measurements were performed. What techniques were used and how?
Attach a copy of the article to the homework.
NSF Fullerene Blurb.
Rick Smalley's www page at Rice University.
Lieber Group Page at Harvard.

Links of interest:
National Nanotechnology Homepage
National Nanotechnology infrastructure Network

Monday 7 April 2008
Materials II: Polymers and Ceramics

Wednesday 9 April 2008
Nuclear Chemistry I

Links on reaction dynamics:
1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Abstracts for second posters due.

Friday 11 April 2008

Nuclear Chemistry II

r/week/021798molecule.html" TARGET="_ext">New York Times article on fullerenes.

Sunday 13 April 2008
600 PM Frontiers of Materials Poster session -- 2nd Floor Osmond/Davey overpass (if the weather cooperates, we will move outside for the earlier posters).
As before, you will have four minutes to present followed by one to two minutes of discussion.
Dinner provided. Visitors and alumni welcome.

Artificial Muscles: Electroactive Polymers Victor Aiello
Aerogel Ben Ng
Hydrogel and Human Health Katherine Nicol
Silk Rosie Qin
Gore-Tex Elizabeth Ebert-Zavos
The Technology behind Windproof Fabric: ePTFE Allison Jackovitz
Nomex: A Polyaramid Heat-Resistant Fiber Stephanie Eldred

Ferrofluids Todor Khristov
Microstructural Optical Fibers (MOF) Greg Plumb
Metal Foam Patrick Crooks
Carbon Foam Structure Shannon Fusina
Chromoly 4130 Ryan Davis
Robo-Rats: Blurring the Line between Mind and Computer Meng Jia
Liquid Crystals and Their Applications Tom Draskovic
Peptide-Amphiphile Nanofibers Do It All, and Make It Look Wasy Meredith C. Peterson
Superconductors Paul Young
Polymeric Artificial Cells Aaron Nogan
Nafion: The Membrane of the Future! Arwen Kandt
Shape Memory Alloys Matthew Pizzorusso
Nanotubes' Hidden Athletic Talent Dru Fortney
? Paul Durandt

Videos: NanoRobotics: Bringing “Borg Nanoprobes” to Life! Sakiba Khan
Jason Shpilsky with
Dilatant Material Used For Armor Brandon Leibowitz

Monday 14 April 2008
Nuclear Chemistry II:
Nuclear Stability, Half-Life, Mass-Energy Conversion
Breeder Reactors, Nuclear Waste Handling and Disposal

Read: 21.4-6

HW: 21.32-37, 42, 45, 48, 49

Wednesday 16 April 2008
Nuclear Chemistry III

Do any isotopes undergo both positron emission and electron capture (i.e., one or the other with finite probability)? If so, give an example with the half-lives for each process.

Go through all the known isotopes (or at least 10, if there are too many) of a particular element with Z>20. List which are stable. List the decay pathways and half-lives of those that are not.

Allison's problem with Matt (that does not sound right, hmmm).

Friday 18 April 2008 (Guest Lecturer: Dr. Beth Anderson)
Quantum Mechanics Discussion

Read: Sections 21.7-8
HW: 21.28-31,34,35,40,43,46,47

Monday 21 April 2008
Nuclear Chemistry III
Metallurgy I

Control rod configuration, as discussed in class.
Also, check this out! Schedule your final exam! Available dates:
Thursday 1 May, Friday 2 May, Saturday 3 May, Monday 5 May, and Tuesday 6 May (only selected weekend times are possible)

Wednesday 23 April 2008 (Guest Lecturer: Beth Anderson)
Quantum Mechanics II

Where's Paul? Chairing a meeting at Snowbird, Utah:
Foundations of Nanoscience

Friday 25 April 2008 (Guest Lecturer: Prof. Rebecca Corwin)
Food Chemistry & Addiction Discussion

Monday 28 April 2007
Complete Metallurgy
Course Review I

HW: Write a 5-10 sentence description of the function of an enzyme that we did not cover in class or posters. You may include mechanism and structure as appropriate.

Wednesday 30 April 2008
Course Review II + SRTEs
HW: Summarize in 5-10 sentences the most important thing you learned this semester. Find a related literature reference that goes beyond our discussion. Prepare and answer a question on it.

Come up with three research groups of interest to you at Penn State. List them and give one or two sentences describing what each do in terms of scientific goals and techniques used.

Thursday 1 May 2008, 630-815 PM, 104 Osmond
Hillary's Course Review

Friday 2 May 2008
Final Review and Discussion: What Do We Want to be Able to Measure?

Individual Oral Final Exams
Held in 128 Davey.

1115 AM Brandon Leibowitz
445 PM Paul Young
Expect the exam to take ca. 45 min.

2007 Demos:
Catalytic degradation of H2O2 by MnO2 movie | Thermite movie 1 | Thermite movie 2 | Last balloon of the year movie As announced, if you received less than 85% of the homework points, your final exam will be a rigorous test of general chemistry with special emphasis on the homework that you missed!

Saturday 3 May 2008
Individual Oral Final Exams
Held in 128 Davey.

11 AM Shannon Fusino
2 PM Matthew Pizzorusso
245 PM Stephanie Eldred
330 PM Tom Draskovic
415 PM Todor Khristov
5 PM Elizabeth Ebert-Zavos
545 PM Meredith Peterson

Sunday 6 May 2007
Individual Oral Final Exams
Held in 128 Davey.

3 PM Greg Plumb
345 PM Meng Jia

Monday 5 May 2008
Individual Oral Final Exams
Held in 128 Davey.

920 AM Patrick Crooks
1010 AM Rosie Qin
145 PM Aaron Nogan
230 PM Ben Ng
330 PM Allison Jackovitz
430 PM Victor Aiello
515 PM Jason Shpilsky

Tuesday 6 May 2008
Individual Oral Final Exams
Held in 128 Davey.

11 AM Paul Durandt
1 PM Ryan Davis
145 PM Andrew Fortney
315 PM Sakiba Khan
4 PM Arwen Kandt
445 PM Katherine Nichol

Suggested Discussion Topics in the Queue
Food Chemistry and nutrition.
Addiction and drugs of abuse.

Some Possible Discussion Topics (from previous years)
RNA Catalysis.
Nuclear magnetic resonance.
Optical tweezers
Directed assembly of molecules and nanoparticles.
Stem cells.
Fuel cells.
Organic magnets.
Nuclear magnetic resonance, and magnetic resonance imaging.
Michael Faraday.

Bring in topics to discuss. These can be aligned to the topics we are covering, but do not need to be. If we can discuss them intelligently, we will do so. If not, we will find some references and cover them next week. Every Friday class will work this way.

Already covered
Single-molecule measurements.


1. Class participation: 20%
2. Homework: 10%
3. Paper and poster presentation of researched topic (elements of life -- specific elements will be assigned in class): 20% (10% each)

Paper Requirements:
The paper should be approximately 10 pages in length, double spaced (double spacing is important to leave room for my comments) in a 12 point font, with 1" margins all around. The paper should include figures and complete references (not www references). The figures will not count in the length. Please take into account the comments that you get from your presentation in preparing your paper.
4. One in-class exam (1 hr) and one poster on materials: 30% (15% each)
Note that pre-approved make-up or conflict exams will be oral exams. No paper is required for this second poster. 5. Oral final exam: 20%
If you received less than 85% of the homework points, your final exam will be a rigorous test of general chemistry with special emphasis on the homework that you missed!
Note that my ability to give oral final exams depends upon having 30 or fewer students in the class by the end of the semester.

TOTAL: 100%

All Penn State policies ( regarding ethics and honorable behavior apply to this course.

Homework requirements.

2 May 2008