TERM:2021-22 Fall
COURSE TITLE: Chemistry Seminar
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Peter G. Mahaffy, Dr Cassidy VanderSchee
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 1(hrs lect 0 - hrs sem 1 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: A weekly seminar through the entire academic year, exploring the contexts for the discipline of chemistry, including historical, methodological, ethical and societal dimensions, as well as current chemical topics of interest in basic research, industrial and environmental settings. Ethical and professional responsibilities for chemists in industrial, research and academic settings will be addressed, as well as other topics that explore the interface between chemistry and society. Students, faculty and visiting speakers will give presentations. This course will meet concurrently with CHEM 495, and from time to time with BIOL 395/495. It is required for third-year chemistry majors. First and second year students are strongly encouraged to attend presentations.

Prerequisites: CHEM 395 Six credits in chemistry at the 300-level
Prerequisites: CHEM 495 Six credits in chemistry at the 300-level
REQUIRED TEXTS: A selection of required readings, including items from the primary and review literature, will be placed on reserve in the Simona Maskaant Library or distributed by Moodle.
Preparation for seminarP/F
This course requires regular attendance to meet our learning objectives.  It will be graded on a Pass/Fail basis.  A passing grade requires a minimum of 70%.  To evaluate participation, a grade will be assigned following each class (np-non-participant, p-participant, p+-active participant). If an average of less than a ‘p’ is observed, a failing grade will be assigned. An attendance of less than 90% will result automatically in a failing grade.
  • A. Depth and Breadth of Knowledge
    • Understand how chemistry works, its academic, industrial, and governmental sides and how these different parts of the community interact.
    • Articulate clear examples of how chemistry affects the world we live in.
  • B. Knowledge of Methodologies
    • Perform chemistry demonstrations that excite and teach people.
  • C. Application of Knowledge
    • Understand the role humans play in shaping the world through our understanding and control of the molecular world
    • Express clearly how faith and chemistry interact with each other and how we can understand our calling in light of God’s plan for the world.
    • Articulate how chemistry can be used to bring about justice and peace in our world and how it can also bring death and destruction.
  • D. Communication Skills
    • Develop an ability to teach core chemistry concepts to students in junior high school
    •  Engage in discussion and debate about chemistry and its place in the world
    • Learn to communicate chemistry ideas through artistic expression
  • E. Awareness of the Limits of Knowledge
    • Appreciate how chemistry can be used to achieve amazing things and how it can cause immense damage
    • Understand what types of problems chemistry can address and what problems involve issues that are larger than the discipline
  • F. Maturity and Professional Capacity
    • Be aware of the professional responsibility of chemists for the materials they make, and to make conscious ethical choices about their potential uses and misuses.
    • Encourage positive, constructive interaction and collaboration among students, between students and instructors, and with professionals working in the area of environmental chemistry.
  • G. Respect and Appreciation for the Discipline
    • Appreciate how important an understanding of the physical and molecular world is to understanding our world.
    • Understand how much our modern world relies on chemistry to meet its needs.
PROJECTS/TOPICS: This year, our seminar will focus on three main themes, as described below:
  1. Role of Chemistry in our World: We will read through an award winning book on materials science and the role chemistry plays in modern materials, supplemented by additional readings about life cycle analysis and systems thinking.
  2. Chemistry and Worldviews: We will explore how our worldviews impact on the way we see and do chemistry, and how chemistry impacts on the world around us.
  3. Relating Chemistry to the public: Developing and practicing our communication skills for relating chemistry to non-chemists and students in their early stages of chemical education.

Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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