You are here

Chemistry 100

Chemistry and the World Around Us

Credits:  4

Length of Course: 14 weeks

Classroom Hours Per Week: 3 hours lecture, 2 hours lab

Prerequisites:  C+ or higher in English 098. Math 11 strongly recommended. No previous chemistry course is required. Students who have taken Chemistry 12 should not normally register in this course.

Text (recommended): Chemistry in Your Life, 2nd Edition, 2006, Colin Baird.

Course Description:

A liberal arts chemistry course for non-science majors beginning with an introduction to the basic principles of chemistry. The relevance of chemistry will then be applied to the world around us, with the focus being environmental issues. Topics include water, air pollution, and energy resources, as well as fundamental lab techniques.

Course Outline:

Week Topic
Week 1 The Language of Chemistry: an Introduction to the Meaning of Chemistry.
Properties and states of matter. Atoms, ions, elements, and the periodic table. Chemical and physical changes. An introduction to laboratory equipment and safety.
Week 2, 3 Bonds: the Glue that Holds Atoms Together.
Chemical bonding and the formation of ionic compounds and molecules. Nomenclature of binary compounds, including common polyatomics, and commonly encountered chemicals.
Week 4 Hydrocarbons and Fossil Fuels
The definition and nomenclature of simple hydrocarbons. The importance and limitation of fossil fuels and the energy crisis today.
Week 5, 6 Alternative Energy Sources
The advantages and disadvantages of solar, hydroelectric, wind, tidal, biomass, geothermal, nuclear and hydrogen fuel cells.
Week 7 Class Presentations: topics to be announced
Week 8 Nuclear Chemistry
The nature of radioactivity, nuclear reactions and harmful effects. Nuclear fission. Disposal of hazardous wastes.
Week 9, 10 Water Resources and the Unique Properties of Water
Acid rain. Water use, shortages, management and conservation. Water pollution. Methods of purifying water. Soaps and detergents.
Week 11, 12 The Air We Breathe
The atmosphere and the air around us. Types and sources of air pollution. Chemical reactions in the atmosphere. Smog, depletion of ozone, climate changes. The greenhouse effect. Regulating air pollution and solutions for the future.
Week 13 Organic Chemistry
An introduction to alkanes, alkenes, simple organic functional groups, isomerism, polymers and plastics.


2 Quizzes 20%
1 Short Essay and Class Presentation 10%
1 Midterm 15%
1 Term Paper 10%
Final Exam 30%
Laboratory and Homework 15%


Brenda Louie BSc (SFU), PhD (UBC)

Mehdi Meshgini, BSc,MSc (Oregon State), PhD (Washington)

Taraneh Lajevardi, BSc (Azad), MSc (SFU)

Hema Giesbrecht BSc Hon (U. Mauritius), PhD (SFU)

Trevor Toone BSc (Sussex), MSc, PhD (East Anglia)

Transferability: see