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I’m thankful for family and friends and a lovely meal. I’m thankful for an email from a cousin I haven’t heard from in a very long time. I’m thankful for the beauty that is in front of my home. Every time I look out my window and see the fall colors of these shrubs I feel such excitement and pleasure.

Beautiful Fall Colors

Beautiful Fall Colors

All summer long these bushes are modest and not very noticible. But during the Fall as they lose their chlorophyll you see the stunning reds, oranges and yellows of the organic dyes.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Chem 121: Review for Exit Exam

Professor J. Walker will hold two review sessions for the Chemistry 121 exit exam. These sessions will be held in room 3175 on Monday November 28th. The first one will be from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. All students in any Chem 121 section are invited to attend. The second one will be from 5 to 6 pm. Please direct any questions to

Early influences: scientific jargon in comics

Recently I was asked how I became interested in science. One of the earliest influences was through Superman comics. Ironically these very unscientific tabloids often used the vocabulary of science – so when I was exposed to terminology in science class it was familiar. This gave me confidence to learn more about real science.

Superman at 3000 degrees farhenheit

calm in a crisis

other dimensions

other dimensions and mineral power

Chem 201 and 203: Pre-exam office hours

Since both classes have exams this week I’ll be available for questions and problem solving practice as follows:

9:00 – 11:00 Monday – focus on Chem 201

11:00 – 12:30 Monday – focus on Chem 203

5:00 – 6:00 Monday – focus on Chem 203

Chem 203: Radioactive Levels in Japan – Please Read

Vic found a story that is very timely to our current discussion. Please read it on the Chicago Tribune website:,0,4008193.story

or you can access a pdf file I created…

Chem 203: Exam Three Outline

The exam will cover material beginning with:

Chapter 21

Calculate K, ΔG and Eocell from each other.

Calculate the potential of a concentration cell.

21.5 (no test questions on this section)

21.6 (no test questions on this section)


Predicting the products of electrolysis
Diagram an electrolysis cell
Apply the relationship between current, time and amount of substance

Chapter 22 will not be on the test.

Chapter 23

All sections are covered in this chapter.

Chapter 24

As mentioned in class – problems referencing p. 1076 will not be included.

24.3 (no test questions on this section)

24.6 (no test questions on this section)

Very little from 24.7 will be included but you need to know the basic difference between fusion and fission.

Sections not excluded above are included on this exam.


Chem 201: New Practice Exam Available

I’ve posted a fourth practice exam under student resources/exams on my website that covers solution concentrations and colligative properties. There is also a key to this exam. Happy studying!

Chem 201: Key to Solutions Quiz Posted

Solutions Quiz Key

Chem 201: Outline for Exam Three on Monday

1. Review section 4.2 Concentration Units: ppb, ppm, Molarity.

2. Review section 4.3 Dilutions: M1V1=M2V2

3. Review section 4.4 Electrolytes vs. Non-electrolytes

4. Study Figure 10.2 regarding sizes of ions.

5. Be able to put compounds and molecules in order of increasing intermolecular interactions: ion-ion, ion-dipole, H-bonds, dipole-dipole, dipole-induced dipole, dispersion

6. Related intermolecular forces to physical properties such as mp and bp.

7. Identify all the regions of the phase diagram.

8. Know more ways of expressing solution concentration: molality, percent by mass.

9. Be able to interconvert concentration units.

10. Carry out calucations for all colligative properties: vapor pressure lowering, boiling point elevation, freezing point depression, and osmotic pressure.

11. Use the van’t hoff factor correctly.

Chem 201: Problem Solving Session

Solutions problems and collegative properties problems take lots of practice. I will be in my office tomorrow at 9:00 ready to solve problems for whomever arrives!

Chem 201: Lab Posted

Determination of Molar Mass by Freezing Point Depression is now available on my website.

Chem 201 Substitution: Answer Key

Students in Dr. El-Maazawi’s class, here is the answer key I promised to you.

Physical Science 107: Current Public Issues in Physical Science

This Spring I will be teaching a course for the first time – Physical Science 107. This course is IAI approved as a 3 credit hour General Education science course (no lab). I’ll be presenting the course in four units: Air, Water, Earth and Fire. The course will exam a variety of fascinating and very current issues: Climate Change, Sustainability, Energy, Environmental Concerns – whatever is in the news. The goal of the course will be to develop the scientific literacy of the non-scientist and to allow students to gain an in-depth understanding of complex problems that affect all of us from the perspective of the scientist. I’ll be developing the syllabus and course website over the next few months. Please let others know about this course and let students know that they can email me,, with any questions. I’m looking forward to teaching this course and anticipate many interesting demonstrations, lively discussions and fun projects.

Chemistry 203: Quiz Tips and New Handouts!

I’ve posted some new handouts to help you with the transition metal/coordination compounds topic. I’ve posted a reference guide for Inorganic Nomenclature. Also I would like you to read this article: A millennial overview of transition metal chemistry and answer the questions of this worksheet (answers are given at the end of the worksheet but please try to answer the questions on your own first!)

To prepare for the quiz on Thursday please make sure you can do the following:

1. Write electronic configurations for the first row of the transition metals

2. Give the MOST COMMON oxidation states for the first row of the transition metals.

3. Determine the oxidation state of a metal in a coordination compound.

4. Identify if a ligand is monodentate, bidentate or polydentate.

5. Apply the rules for nomenclature of coordination compounds to convert from formulas to names and names to formulas. (Do all the homework problems available on this topic – practice!)

6. Answer questions about periodic trends for transition metals. (section 23.1)

7. Determine if a tranistion metal is paramagnetic or diamagnetic.

8. Visually identify inorganic compounds on this page by color.

9. Answer questions about metallic behavior and reducing strength.

10. Discuss the toxicity of mercury.

The quiz covers the material in Chapter 23 from the beginning until the end of sample problem 23.3. It does not cover section 23.2. There is a lot of information in these few pages – so read them carefully and take notes!!

Scholarship from CCC

Please be aware of this opportunity:

Chem 201: Exam Two

Exam Two

Chapter Six

All types of problems with PV=nRT and P1V1/T1=P2V2/T2

Problems about gas density and the relationship to molar mass.

Graham’s Law of effusion (relationship with rate of effusion and molar mass)

The general conditions required for ideal gas behavior.

Description of common gases (as listed on worksheet)

Chapter Seven

Frequency/Wavelength conversions

Identification of areas of the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Who’s who in atomic theory

Relationship between energy and wavelength/frequency

Three main experiments: Photoelectric Effect, Blackbody Radiation and Emission/Absorption Spectra

Quantum numbers and relationship to properties of orbitals (size, shape, orientation in space)

Aufbau principle (1s22s2…)

Chapter Eight and Nine

Lewis dot structures

Periodic Properties: size and ionization energy

VSEPR Theory

Formal Charge

Shape and polarity of molecules

Chem 201: Students Enjoy New Conference Room

A special thanks to those students who stayed late yesterday to put in some extra time working on chemistry concepts. This opportunity will be repeated November 30th.

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