• General Chemistry Survival Manual
  • IYPT Essays and papers for The International Year of the Periodic Table

The General Chemistry Survival Manual

The General Chemistry Course Survival Manaual is a series of notes for students in General Chemistry lecture classes at Pima Community College and, later, at Wesley College. These notes were developed from the mid 1970's to the present to supplement topics that were poorly explained in General Chemistry textbooks. In 1990, the notes were assembled into an in-house manual used at Community College of Philadelphia and, later, at Cabrini College, called The General Chemistry Survival Manual.

These are pdf files and require Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Some Suggestions for Succeeding in Chemistry

Reference Files

Chemistry Add-in for Word This is a free download originally from Microsoft Research for Word 2007 or Word 2010. This is Version 3, from .NET Foundation, which makes it easier to to insert and modify chemical information, such as labels, formulas, and 2-D depictions, within Microsoft Office Word. This is a link to the .NET Foundation website. You will need to go to the github site as described on that page.

Graphing with Excel A LabWrite Resources tutorial on graphing from NC State University. This is a link to that site.

LabWrite is a resource developed by NC State University for improving lab reports. This is a link to the LabWrite web site.

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.

ChemSpider 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

Chemistry of Everyday

Periodic Graphics is "A chemistry infographics collaboration between C&EN and Andy Brunning, chemistry educator and author of Compound Interest." If you are looking for information on everyday chemistry such as The Origin of the Elements, The Chemistry of Snow, The Science of Exercise, The Chemistry of Slime, Soap Versus Body Wash, or the science behind many everyday topics, these two sites are great places to start. Each topic is presented in a clear one-page graphic. There is a wealth of information to browse through.

Chemistry of Everything

Chemistry of Everything is a collection of posters assembled by James Kennedy, VCE Chemistry teacher in Melbourne, Australia. These infographics describe the chemistry of foods, esters and their smells, organic chemicals and their smells, cosmetic ingredients, and more. The posters are well done and are also available for sale. Take time to explore this web site, there is a wealth of information here.

Chemistry Videos for Review of Topics

Khan Academy provides a number of videos on various subjects at no cost on YouTube. They are a not-for-profit organization with a mission of providing information. (They do ask for donations) The chemistry videos cover most of the topics for a high school or first-year college chemistry course. The videos are essentially lectures of up to about 15 minutes in length with limited notes being written on a black screen as one would write on a blackboard with some occasional pictures or tables. These were recommended by a student. I have only viewed portions of some videos and have found a few misconceptions. Use these videos with care.

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

Powers of Ten Written and directed by Charles and Ray Eames in 1977, this video shows the relative scale of the universe, both macroscopic and microscopic by first zooming out from a picnic in Chicago and then zooming into the subatomic world.

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 YouTube video. (53 minutes)

Dimensional Analysis Problem Solving

Problem Solving by Dimensional Analysis

Answers for Problem Solving by Dimensional Analysis

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 (55 minutes) or just select the Forging the Elements chapter about 34 minutes into the video). There is also an excerpt titled The Elements: Forged in Stars (about 4 minutes long).

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.

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

A suggested periodic table up to Z ≤ 172, based on Dirac–Fock calculations on atoms and ions, a paper by Pekka Pyykko, Physical Chemistry and Chemical Phyics, 2011, 13, 161-168

What does and atom look like? This is a 3m 27s clip from Nova. An atom looks quite different from the pictures you see in a textbook or on the Internet.

Notes on the Periodic Properties of the Elements. This file contains Lewis structures and periodic trends. This a PDF form of the PowerPoint lecture used in my classes.

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

Chemical Formulas, Nomenclature, and the Mole

Chemical Formulas and Formula Weight Calculations

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

Some Notes on Avogadro's Number. This is a link to an article by T. A. Furtsch at Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN

Amount of Substance and the Mole This is a link to an article by Ian Mills and Martin Milton in Chemistry International, Vol. 31, No. 2, March-April 2009.

Calculations with Formula Weights and Moles This is a set of practice problems on formula weights, conversions with moles, and Avogadro's Number.

Answers to Calculations with Formula Weights and Moles These are the annotated answers to the formula weight and moles practice problems.

Chemical Equations

Writing Chemical Equations

Answers for Writing Chemical Equations

Organic Chemistry

Nomenclature of Organic Compounds A tutorial on organic nomenclature

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

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

Shaken, not stirred is an article from Chemistry World, December 2010, telling about the aspects of cocktail chemistry. It's all organic chemistry!

Nuclear Radiation

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.

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

Atomic Structure and Atomic Spectra

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.

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

Imaging the atomic orbitals of carbon atomic chains with field-emission electron microscopy. A paper by I. M. Mikhailovskij, E. V. Sadanov, T. I Mazilova, V. A. Ksenofontov, and O. A. Velicodnaja, Physical Review B, 80, 165404 (2009). s and p orbitals do exist!

Atoms and the Atomic Theory

Notes on the Atomic Theory and Electron StructureThis is a historical approach to the Atomic Theory, atomic structure, and the electronic structure of elements and ions. This is a PDF form of the PowerPoint lecture used in my classes.

Chemical Bonding and Molecular Geometry

Notes on Chemical Bonding, Part 1 Ionic and covalent bonds,bond polarity,molecular shapes, Lewis structures, resonance and bond enthalpies. This is a PDF of the PowerPoint presentation used in class.

Notes on Chemical Bonding, Part 2Theories of chemical bonding: valence bond theory, hybrid orbitals, moleculat orbital theory, and the metallic bond. This is a PDF of the PowerPoint presentation used in class.

The Paramagnetism of Liquid Oxygen Prof. Robert Burk, Carleton University demonstrates what happens when liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen is poured between the poles of a strong magnet. Things to note: 1) The color of the liquid oxygen; 2) Molecular orbital diagrams for nitrogen and for oxygen.

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

Do these molecular structures actually exist as we picthure them? This is a link to the Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN) article Molecule's Atoms, Bonds Visualized which appeared in the August 31, 2009 issue. The original article The Chemical Structure of a Molecule Resolved by Atomic Force Microscopy, by Leo Gross, Fabian Mohn, Nikolaj Moll, Peter Liljeroth, and Gerhard Meyer, appeared in Science, Vol 235, no. 5944, pp. 1110 - 1114, 28 August 2009.

Intermolecular Forces and States of Matter

 This is a link to an animation of the Maxwell-Boltzman distribution for molecular speeds in a gas.


This site is still under construction. More files will be added as they are updated