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    1. #1
      LD's this year: ~7 tommo's Avatar
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      Tell me about Chemistry

      I am thinking about applying for bachelor of science (chemistry) or bachelor of science (biochemistry and chemistry) next year.

      I stopped studying chemistry in year 10. I'm wondering if some people can give me some help with getting started on getting up to scratch on it. Maybe some online resources and things that I should know as well.

      Thanks!

    2. #2
      LD's this year: ~7 tommo's Avatar
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      oh.... or, or not.... *sniff*

    3. #3
      Xei
      UnitedKingdom Xei is offline
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      You might want to commandeer this thread: http://www.dreamviews.com/f48/tell-m...mistry-111639/

    4. #4
      LD's this year: ~7 tommo's Avatar
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      Yeah I saw that thread. But I sort of wanted to know some subjects that would be contained within a Bachelor's degree. Or personal insights etc.

    5. #5
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      As one boisterous physicist once put it in one of my classes: "Chemistry is... dirty physics"

    6. #6
      LD's this year: ~7 tommo's Avatar
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      haha. Yes sort of. I like that though I think lol

    7. #7
      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
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      Go torrent some gen chem textbooks. Usually they come in giant packs of books, and that's desirable. Skim a few pages from the first and fourth chapters of each (first chap. as a content overview, fourth chap. as a random sample of its actual method), and make a note of your favorite, stylistically. I mean, choose which one you like best by which one reads best (or, reads your favorite way. I like my textbooks to be conversational.), and then read the most interesting chapters casually.

      I can help with most chem problems, if you're motivated enough to work through them. Just don't ask me advanced quantum shit until the end of next semester.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

    8. #8
      LD's this year: ~7 tommo's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Abra View Post
      I can help with most chem problems, if you're motivated enough to work through them. Just don't ask me advanced quantum shit until the end of next semester.
      HAHA ok

      Thanks heaps Abra!
      I will take your advice.
      I'm definitely motivated enough to work through any problems I have as well.
      I've been looking at the Khan Academy Chemistry videos and it's helped a bit but I find he sort of skims over a few things which he probably forgets that everybody doesn't know.
      I've also found I have to touch up on my math a bit as well.

      Thanks for the help, and I'll almost definitely be asking you some questions hehe

    9. #9
      Member Photolysis's Avatar
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      Two years of degree level Chemistry experience here.

      If you're going to study it, you need a good grasp of science in general. Most courses will probably offer a refresher on the Maths and Physics you'll need to know, and there's a lot of it. Algebra, calculus, and classical mechanics are essential. Thermodynamics and quantum mechanics will play a big part in the subject too.

      Exactly how much Maths/Physics you'll be using really depends on what sub-discipline you're learning about at the time. Physical chemistry tends to involve a lot of calculations on energy levels, rates, reaction constants, and so on.

      Organic chemistry (my favourite topic) doesn't involve anywhere near as much maths, though it does crop up when looking at spectroscopy graphs and when you're predicting what various spectra should look like.

      Inorganic chemistry also involves a fair amount of maths as you deal with energy levels in crystals and transition compounds.


      I sort of wanted to know some subjects that would be contained within a Bachelor's degree
      If the course you take is anything like the one I was on, there's quite a bit of scope for choice. The first two years are about giving you a good overview of the subject and the major fields within Chemistry (Physical, Inorganic, Organic) and giving you a chance to practice labwork, with the 3rd (and 4th if you do a Masters) being devoted to more specialised topics, and giving you the option to specialise in a particular area.

      A few of the more advanced topics include stuff like polymer science, advanced synthesis, environmental chemistry, biochemistry, computational chemistry, photochemistry, electrochemistry, organometalic chemistry, medicinal chemistry... it's a long list!


      Anything else I might be able to give you some insight on, or that you want me to clarify?
      Last edited by Photolysis; 04-12-2011 at 02:52 PM.

    10. #10
      LD's this year: ~7 tommo's Avatar
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      Are you still studying it, or did you stop after 2 years?

      Would you say, since I'm not that great at maths, that I should study organic chemistry?
      Like I haven't even looked at Calculus yet. Maybe a tiny bit in high school.
      Also why exactly does Organic Chemistry involve less maths than the other sub-disciplines of Chemistry?

      I contacted the uni I'm interested in and they said I should take the refresher course you mentioned, Certificate IV in science, which basically covers high school topics.
      But I figure if I can learn all that by myself then I could start the Bachelor next year if I wanted to. Although I'm not sure if I can learn it all in that time.

    11. #11
      Member Photolysis's Avatar
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      I'm not formally studying it at the moment; I put my degree on hold almost 3 years ago now. University's not for me at this point

      It's not that someone not good at maths should focus on organic chemistry, just that such a person who doesn't like maths too much would prefer it over other fields. You still need a certain level of ability in the subject to actually get on the course and deal with the various topics though; you can't exclusively focus on organic chemistry, at least initially. But it's not like you need to be the world's greatest mathematician.

      Organic chem involves less maths because it's more focused on mechanisms and synthesis and interpreting data to figure out what you've got, than thermodynamics and kinetics.

      What exactly does the refresher course you mention involve? Whilst you need to know quite a lot of maths/physics to complete the main course, the background knowledge you need before you can begin studying is fairly small. Most of what you'll need should be taught as part of the course.

    12. #12
      LD's this year: ~7 tommo's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Photolysis View Post
      It's not that someone not good at maths should focus on organic chemistry, just that such a person who doesn't like maths too much would prefer it over other fields. You still need a certain level of ability in the subject to actually get on the course and deal with the various topics though; you can't exclusively focus on organic chemistry, at least initially. But it's not like you need to be the world's greatest mathematician.
      Hehe, interesting coz I was reading this science study guide today that came with COSMOS magazine and they interviewed some people who had done the courses a few years ago or whatever and the guy who was interviewed for engineering said "you don't need to be a mathematician" lol I'm thinking maybe people underestimate the difficulty of some maths for some people. Unless engineering is way less mathematical than I thought, I was under the impression it was fairly intense though.
      Like for instance you said you need to know calculus, which is supposed to be really difficult.

      Quote Originally Posted by Photolysis View Post
      Organic chem involves less maths because it's more focused on mechanisms and synthesis and interpreting data to figure out what you've got, than thermodynamics and kinetics.
      Hm, ok. That may be good to know because I generally avoid maths if possible.

      Quote Originally Posted by Photolysis View Post
      What exactly does the refresher course you mention involve? Whilst you need to know quite a lot of maths/physics to complete the main course, the background knowledge you need before you can begin studying is fairly small. Most of what you'll need should be taught as part of the course.
      Well, on the website it says this:

      Mathematics
      Chemistry
      Physics
      Information Technology
      Biology
      Study Skills
      Genetics
      Ecology
      Communications in Science

      When I asked what exactly is taught in these topics the lady said she doesn't have a course outline like the more extensive courses have, but I could contact someone to find out, and that it's generally just high school level stuff.

    13. #13
      Member Photolysis's Avatar
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      Like for instance you said you need to know calculus, which is supposed to be really difficult.
      I found it a bit tricky at higher levels, but it was fairly easy for the most part. Then again, I did have a natural aptitude at maths.

      Hm, ok. That may be good to know because I generally avoid maths if possible.
      Well, I'll make it very clear here then that there'll be plenty of it on the course, most of which is unavoidable because it's part of the basic foundations that all chemists need to know. If you *really* can't stand it, pure chemistry probably isn't the right choice for you.

      Similarly there is plenty of physics (with also involves more maths obviously). Again, if that's not something you're happy with, pure chemistry isn't for you.

      When I asked what exactly is taught in these topics the lady said she doesn't have a course outline like the more extensive courses have, but I could contact someone to find out, and that it's generally just high school level stuff.
      Probably best to get in touch, but from what you say it doesn't sound too advanced.


      Out of interest, is there any particular reason you're considering studying chemistry? One thing that appeals to me about the subject is how interconnected it is with other sciences. The complexity of organic chemistry is also something I find particularly fascinating.

    14. #14
      LD's this year: ~7 tommo's Avatar
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      Hm, well I respect maths, I love how it works and how powerful/useful it is, it's just that I find it difficult, it's pretty much the only thing that I do find difficult. I can memorise everything ok, but I find it frustrating to not understand something. So when I was in school, and they went through everything way too fast, I just gave up because I didn't understand any of it. I found out that no one really did, they jsut remembered it and didn't care that they didn't know what they were doing. So maybe I could pick it up if I tried to now. I guess I'll give it a go and see.

      As for why I want to study it, for one, what you said, it's so connected with other sciences. But also because I just find it so interesting that you can create different molecules and specifically how those can attach to receptors in the brain. That's probably the thing that interests me the most about it, and it's what I'd want to end up doing if I studied Chemistry; creating drugs to cure mental problems like anxiety and schizophrenia etc. as well as creating recreational drugs which are relatively safe, or tweaking current ones.
      I'm not even sure how much one can get done in a lifetime, since studies and all that take so long, but those things would be an ultimate Chemistry goal of mine.

      Of course I've got other things I enjoy, if I just plain suck at maths, I'll do something else lol

    15. #15
      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
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      You need to know partial derivatives and linear algebra for thermo, which'd be your hardest class. At an American university, that means taking about three semesters of calculus. Go into college planning on taking a calc class freshman year (not precalc, you should do that in high school, or over the summer!). If your school is cool, which it should be, the calc courses should be mostly computational. Meaning, if you memorize formulas and algorithms, you'll probably get an A. Most people who have trouble in non-proof math tend to misunderstand the notation, or perhaps the means of abstraction. That's a pretty easy fix if you talk to your professors early on, though.

      If you're interested in brain-stuff, why not look into a degree in biochemistry? That'd get you closer. You'd still need a thermo class, though.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

    16. #16
      LD's this year: ~7 tommo's Avatar
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      Yeah I think I have problems with the means of abstraction, if you mean what I think you do, but if I get some help from various places I'm sure I could figure it out.

      The uni I was looking at has Biochemistry and Chemistry degree and then just a normal Chemistry degree. I was looking at the Biochem one so that's a healthy coincidence lol

      I spent yesterday looking at information on things I want to do for a job, and with chemistry, apparently if you get your PhD you spend half your time writing grants to get funding.
      Do either of you know if there's any similar things for people with a BSc?
      I don't want to waste 4 years if I'm gonna end up hating it basically lol
      I know that that happens to some people because they don't realise that the job requires so much boring shit which has nothing to do with the work they want to do.

    17. #17
      Member Photolysis's Avatar
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      For any job involving research you have two options:

      1) Research what someone else wants you to look into
      2) Propose a topic to research and convince someone to grant you the funding

      BScs aren't really going to be original research, that's more the kind of thing that comes with a PhD and lots of experience. Jobs would mean working on R&D or manufacturing/supply processes for companies.

      If you do want to do original research of your choosing, then it's unavoidable that you'll be getting a PhD and going after grants, and it'll be hard to get them initially when you're unproven.


      Oh and I'd agree that for the topic you're interested in, the course with Biochemistry would be better.

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