While every effort has been made to make sure this electronic syllabus is error-free, it is not official.
The definitive source of course information remains the original (paper) syllabus distributed in class.

Click here for homework assignments and keys, and other class materials.

Instructor: Dr. Charles H. Mahler, Phone 321-4351 or 322-8840 (h), mahler@lycoming.edu
Office Hours: Heim 202, MWF 10:00-10:50 AM, MW 1:00-1:50 PM, by appointment, or just drop by

CLASS meets MWF from 9:00 to 9:50 AM in Heim 215.
LAB meets T from 7:45 to 11:35 AM in Heim 203.

Prerequisites: CHEM 111, MATH 129 and one year of physics; or consent of instructor.

Materials for Course: "Physical Chemistry" 6th Ed. Peter Atkins; Calculator with logarithmic and exponential functions (no passing or sharing allowed in exams); Bound Laboratory Notebook with quadrille pages (for lab use only); Safety Glasses or Goggles; Closed Shoes (Lab Coat or Apron recommended); Experimental Procedures will be distributed in class. A lab deposit of $5 will be collected in the first lab - the cost of lab handouts will be taken from this.

Evaluation and Grading: Grades will be based on the following weighting scheme: 3 Exams (40%), a Final Exam (20%), Lab (25%), and Homework and Quizzes (15%). 3 extra credit points (on a 1000 point scale) will be given for each Chemistry Colloquium attended. Alternative extra credit will be available for those whose schedules conflict with colloquium (but you must see me to arrange this by Friday, November 5, 1999).


The following scale will be applied to determine the final letter grade: A > 90% > B > 80% > C > 70% > D > 60% > F . Plus and minus grades are included in these ranges and will be determined at the end of the semester. Adjustments to this scale are possible, but unlikely.

Tests:      Hour Exam 1      Tuesday, September 28, 1999 (in lab)
               Hour Exam 2      Tuesday, October 26, 1999 (in lab)
               Hour Exam 3      Tuesday, November 30, 1999 (in lab)
               Final Exam         Week of Dec.13 - 17, 1999, To Be Announced

Content: Physical Chemistry provides the theoretical basis for explaining and interpreting chemical systems by focusing on the energy and time involved as they change. In this course we will plan to cover topics in Chapters 1-10 of the text. We will study and attempt to understand many of the basic principles and phenomena of chemical systems in equilibrium, including Gases and their properties, Chemical Thermodynamics, Phase Relationships and Diagrams, Chemical Equilibrium, and Electrochemistry. Physical Chemistry II 331 will continue where this course ends, and has a comprehensive ACS exam (over both semesters) as part of the final.

If you have questions or comments about anything in the course, please come see me. I am ready and willing to meet with you and discuss your concerns, answer questions, explain concepts, solve problems, etc. I would rather help you to understand something before a test or before a lab report is due, than to find out you don't understand it while grading your work.

Lecture Attendance and Absences: Lecture attendance with textbook and calculator is required. Lecture absences (after three) will be penalized 3 points per day (on a 1000 point scale). Extra credit points will be applied towards absences first. Only absences notified ahead of time may be excused. Notification is expected as soon as possible for planned (athletic events, class trips) or emergency (illness) absences; call me (321-4351, w or 322-8840, h) or the Department Secretary (321-4180) or e-mail me (mahler@lycoming.edu). The cause of absences must be verified by the Dean or substantiated (note from coach or parent, doctor's excuse, etc.).

Exam and Lab Absences: No make-up exams will be given. The (cumulative) final exam grade (as a %) will be substituted for one excused absence exam grade (as a %). Barring exceptional circumstances, all subsequent missed exams will receive a grade of zero. Because students often work in groups in lab, absences hurt everyone and should be avoided. Make up labs will vary (and may not be possible), depending on the circumstances of that week's experiment. In some cases, students may be allowed to work outside scheduled lab hours by first obtaining permission from a chemistry professor (who must be in the building while they work and be notified when they leave), and then having a "buddy" present.

Homework: Each chapter will have a set of recommended problems given for it (which students are strongly encouraged to work). In addition, most days there will be graded homework problems assigned. These are due at the start of the next lecture (or as soon as you enter lecture, if late), and we will go over the solution in that lecture. Many students find it useful to keep a copy of the problem to review. No late homework will be accepted and the lowest homework grade will be dropped. If you must be absent, have someone else take notes and hand in any assignments for you.

Review Sessions: An exam review session will be held in Heim 203 (the lab) from 7:30 to 9:30 PM the Sunday evening before each exam (including the final). Review session notes, keys for assigned problems and exams will be posted and/or reviewed in class.

General Comments: Students are responsible for knowing material in the assigned reading, problems, labs, and lectures. Working problems, studying and understanding the material are keys to doing well. It is assumed that the students are familiar with the background material in Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. While I am glad to help you in reviewing these topics, it is your responsibility to make up any weaknesses or deficiencies you might have. Much of the course material involves a high degree of conceptual understanding (not simple memorization), so adequate preparation and study are essential. It is not sufficient to learn the material from the lecture alone - you should read and think about the topics covered before attending lecture. If you have tried and still can't get a problem or concept, please see me for help. We will cover much detailed and difficult material this semester, so our pace must be geared toward those who are prepared to learn. In homework and exams be neat, box answers, show your work and units (partial credit will be given). On an exam, look at all problems, then do the easiest ones first. Don't spend too much time on any one problem. Preparation and practice (i.e. doing problems and studying) are the best ways to do well on tests.

Teaching Style: When I teach, I try to convey my current understanding of a topic while recalling how I learned it. I illustrate a topic by explaining it from different points of view, frequently using humor and analogy. Analogies allow us to apply our understanding of a topic in a different context to chemistry. Still, I encourage you to use whatever methods work best for you own comprehension. Because I feel it is better for you to work out an answer yourself, if you ask me a question, you'll generally find I respond with a series of my own questions for you. I do this to help guide your thoughts from what you know to the answer sought, which should teach you more than if I gave you the answer directly. This is a hard class, so you may ask me a question which takes me a while to think about and answer. I may also involve other students in answering the question, or rephrase the question to make sure I understand what you are asking. This means you've asked a good question, so keep on thinking and questioning!

Academic Honesty: On all exams and lab reports, copying someone else's work or allowing another to copy your work and submit it as their own is academic dishonesty. It will not be tolerated and can lead to penalties such as failing the assignment or even dismissal from the college. Unless otherwise stated, all work submitted for a grade should be your own work (although you can study with others to understand the concepts).Thus, I can not work graded problems for you if you come to see me. However, we can work similar problems from the chapter, or I can help you work the problem yourself by asking "leading questions". In Physical Chemistry, it is often assumed that constants or values needed to solve problems will be looked up in various reference works. Always include citations for all sources consulted in labs or homework to avoid plagiarism. For further information on the college policy on academic dishonesty, see the Pathfinder or Student Handbook.

Posting: Scores will be posted after exams using a secret, four character code chosen by each student. If you prefer not to have your scores posted, let me know (in writing) by 9/4/1998.

World Wide Web: This syllabus, homework assignments and other class items can be found at http://www.lycoming.edu/dept/chem/fall1999/330syl.htm.

Administrative procedures (withdrawals, etc.) will follow the published guidelines and rules of the college and department.

Laboratory: In the first lab (8/31/1999), we will go over the lab schedule, safety issues, writing lab reports, error analysis, and the use of spreadsheet programs. Experiments will be done by groups of three or four students, with three different experiments being done (by different groups) in any one lab period. Thus the first lab will also have a prelab (overview) for each experiment. Please be sure to bring your notebook and take good notes. Lab reports will generally be due a week after the experiment is completed. For the first four reports you will be allowed to turn in a draft report. You can see how you've done, then resubmit the calculations, results, and conclusions of the report (if need be). Start work on lab reports well before they are due - these can not be done well at the last minute. Many Physical Chemistry Lab Reports involve as much time (or more) in writing and calculation as the original experimental procedure did. More information and experimental procedures will be given out in lab.

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