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u/pqppqpqqpqppqpqq · 5 pointsr/chemistry
  1. I didn't dive head first, I was pre-med when I entered college. I thought I liked bio because yeah science is cool. Then I took organic chemistry and realized what a profound and interesting subject chemistry is. Switched to become a chemistry major and now I hate bio because it's too fundamental.

  2. Sorry, I did good at the start. Chemistry aligns with my thinking (concept based) than biology did (memory based) and so I just excelled a lot more.

  3. Mixed reviews. Almost everyone I talk to either loves it or hates it. Those who hate it are only taking chemistry because they were like me (pre-med, biology) and had to take it for requirements. They never invested the time to think about the concepts and how everything played together. They only thought "yeah yeah, memorize this and that, do well on the test and become a doctor." Those who love it, I can have serious conversations with them about reactions and research (but mostly talk about illegal drug synthesis because let's face it breaking bad is awesome). Also, do not get a masters in chemistry (or biology even). It's a waste; see next point.

  4. In Chemistry, it's PhD "or-go" home. ^^hehe All job offers that are open for a masters are open for a bachelors, and all offers that require a phd do not take masters. There are chemistry jobs, entry level, for bachelors but really you're going to want a PhD in the field. Otherwise you're doing grunt-work. (wouldn't you rather be doing paper-work?!) But seriously, more opportunities and more money if you get a PhD. And no masters!

  5. Read the textbooks. Seriously. Idc what student you were in high school, you're going to read the textbook and invest time into it. In my organic class, 3 Hours a chapter for me (My pace: 30 pages per chapter, 6 minutes a page), but go more if you need. My undergrad used this textbook and I'm not going to lie, it's actually a really good read. I recommend this over whatever crappy textbook your teacher might require for your class; it's extremely thorough, it's honest, and it's kinda humorous at times. READ THE TEXTBOOKS!!!

  6. If you want, you can buy a copy of the orgo textbook I recommended and read through a bit of it to get a feel of what youre getting into. It would be a huge time commitment to actually learn anything; instead, read it to see if you can (there's a PDF of the 1st edition floating around somehwere). You may not be interested in orgo, but other things (kinetics, thermo, equilibrium, acid/base, etc. all discussed in the book) are in all of your main classes as well. Orgo is just the biggie that makes/breaks students.

  7. A deep understanding of the theory is essential for any branch of chemistry. If you do not understand the fundamental concepts, you are not a chemist. The hard part is that there are no set-in-stone rules in chemistry like there are in biology or physics. Almost everything has exceptions and you have to understand why they aren't really an exception.

  8. Organic is cool because you have an applicable/practical outlet for the chemistry you learn. Yeah yeah you learn about bonds and MO theory and kinetics/thermodynamics but where do you apply it all? Organic is the common answer because it's in your shampoos, your beauty products, your food preservatives blah blah... Physical chemistry is cool if you like calculus/physics. Biochemistry is ehh I know some friends who like it but I never thought random protein stuff was that cool. Other branches: nuclear, medicinal, polymer, inorganic, analytical, green...find one that's cool for you!

  9. I worked under a CE and a chemist, both in making drugs, so this may help explain how they're different and what you'd be more interested in.

    The CE mass produced your typical OTC drugs for pharmacies like Walgreen. He made literally millions of pills a day with fancy machines which--as the boss of a small company--he didn't even operate. In fact I don't even remember him doing anything CE technical, just doing phone calls and stuff. Anyways because drugs are a hot industry, he made serious bank. Millionaire, easily. So much money in the field, not a lot of workers.

    But IMO, relatively boring. The chemist on the other hand was making NEW drugs. Never before used, never before tested. He used his vast knowledge of chemistry theory to predict and answer questions like "How would the molecule's function be different if it was less polar or more soluble?" and stuff like that. Then he'd put the theory in practice by making the molecule and testing it in vitro or something. Makes waaay less money. No hot wife or condo in Hawaii. But much more satisfying and requires much more knowledge.

    Every job is different, everybody is different. Disclaimer, experiences are not typical. Whatever you decide to do, you can easily make it less boring by being an exciting person.
u/Nucleofile · 1 pointr/chemistry

As much as I absolutely loved that book, I would not suggest it for OP if they are not familiar with relatively end-stage calculus (there are a number of partial derivatives in there) and quantum theory. It is true that the thermodynamics might help, but even people within my own class of chemistry students at my university struggled to grasp the text. Again, this depends entirely on what OP's learning style.

If, on the other hand, OP is desiring some stimulation from the world of physical chemistry, especially from the aspect of organic chemistry (which I assume to be the next step in OP's studies) would be the Anslyn text Modern Physical Organic Chemistry. It is advanced mind you and assumes some understanding in organic and physical chemistry, but it is a very stimulating approach to both and I would highly recommend both as future reading and as a book simply to keep around - it is quite good.

Again, if OP has a solid mathematical background, the McQuarrie text really is great - one of my favorite texts until my current program.

If OP is looking for something truly interesting that, again, will help to solidify everything they learn as they progress, I would recommend (against most everyone's opinion, partially including my own due to Housecraft's overabundance of fluff) the Inorganic Chemistry by Housecraft. Again, some of this is relatively advanced, but it contains information that is extremely satisfying and, personally, helped to solidify many of the concepts I had learned leading up to that point in my undergraduate career.

If you have some desires, please post more, OP! Nice to hear people in those years are interested in stimulating their own education! Best of luck!

u/sneddo_trainer · 1 pointr/chemistry

Personally I make a distinction between scripting and programming that doesn't really exist but highlights the differences I guess. I consider myself to be scripting if I am connecting programs together by manipulating input and output data. There is lots of regular expression pain and trial-and-error involved in this and I have hated it since my first day of research when I had to write a perl script to extract the energies from thousands of gaussian runs. I appreciate it, but I despise it in equal measure. Programming I love, and I consider this to be implementing a solution to a physical problem in a stricter language and trying to optimise the solution. I've done a lot of this in fortran and java (I much prefer java after a steep learning curve from procedural to OOP). I love the initial math and understanding, the planning, the implementing and seeing the results. Debugging is as much of a pain as scripting, but I've found the more code I write the less stupid mistakes I make and I know what to look for given certain error messages. If I could just do scientific programming I would, but sadly that's not realistic. When you get to do it it's great though.

The maths for comp chem is very similar to the maths used by all the physical sciences and engineering. My go to reference is Arfken but there are others out there. The table of contents at least will give you a good idea of appropriate topics. Your university library will definitely have a selection of lower-level books with more detail that you can build from. I find for learning maths it's best to get every book available and decide which one suits you best. It can be very personal and when you find a book by someone who thinks about the concepts similarly to you it is so much easier.
For learning programming, there are usually tutorials online that will suffice. I have used O'Reilly books with good results. I'd recommend that you follow the tutorials as if you need all of the functionality, even when you know you won't. Otherwise you get holes in your knowledge that can be hard to close later on. It is good supplementary exercise to find a method in a comp chem book, then try to implement it (using google when you get stuck). My favourite algorithms book is Numerical Recipes - there are older fortran versions out there too. It contains a huge amount of detailed practical information and is geared directly at computational science. It has good explanations of math concepts too.

For the actual chemistry, I learned a lot from Jensen's book and Leach's book. I have heard good things about this one too, but I think it's more advanced. For Quantum, there is always Szabo & Ostlund which has code you can refer to, as well as Levine. I am slightly divorced from the QM side of things so I don't have many other recommendations in that area. For statistical mechanics it starts and ends with McQuarrie for me. I have not had to understand much of it in my career so far though. I can also recommend the Oxford Primers series. They're cheap and make solid introductions/refreshers. I saw in another comment you are interested potentially in enzymology. If so, you could try Warshel's book which has more code and implementation exercises but is as difficult as the man himself.

Jensen comes closest to a detailed, general introduction from the books I've spent time with. Maybe focus on that first. I could go on for pages and pages about how I'd approach learning if I was back at undergrad so feel free to ask if you have any more questions.

Out of curiosity, is it DLPOLY that's irritating you so much?

u/Platypuskeeper · 2 pointsr/chemistry

Learning programming is good. C++ is always a good language to know (and you more or less get C as a bonus) Structured/Object-Oriented programming languages are all fairly similar (and constitute all the most used ones) Basically it's more important to learn to program than which language, as learning another language is relatively easy once you understand the concepts well. In this day and age, knowing programming is good for anyone in science, anyhow. Some basic course on numerical methods (i.e. solving math problems on computers) would be a good idea too.

As it were, a lot of stuff is still written in Fortran though (in particular in QC), which is rather ancient as far as programming languages go. But it's probably better to learn a modern language before learning Fortran (which, compared to C++ is mostly a subset, akin to C).

Jensen's book (which cyrus linked to) is a pretty good introductory overview of the field. Levine's "Quantum chemistry" is introductory and still relatively broad, but a bit more in-depth book on QC in particular. I'm also partial to Piela's book, which I like for being rather conceptual and descriptive rather than formula-laden. Koch's DFT book is a good one on DFT in particular. Parr and Yang is the polar opposite - very mathematical, but something of a 'bible' for anyone who wants to get into the actual method development side of stuff, although not for the faint-hearted. Szabo and Ostlund is still popular, but IMO dated and not as useful as newer books. It's also relatively mathematical. Helgaker's tome, a more advanced book, is one of few that actually goes into some detail about the computational methods used. (With QC, you could read most of the books above and still be fairly clueless about how to actually write a program to do anything other than the most basic Hartree-Fock calculation)

Although pricey, I liked McQuarrie's book on thermodynamics a lot. It's all you'd need in that area to get you from undergrad to grad level.

If you intend to go into the QC side of theo-chem, learning as much math and quantum as possible is recommended. (although relativistic quantum mech and QFT would be strictly voluntary) How much you'll need depends on what you want to do though; MM/MD methods are theoretically/mathematically a lot simpler than QC methods, and if you're more into 'applied' QC rather than method development, there's less need to know about the fine details, too. But it's good to keep your options open, and lacking the necessary maths skills is certainly a barrier-to-entry for theochem. In particular for those from chemistry backgrounds, who typically have studied less math.

(I was a chemistry undergrad, but I took all the physics students' maths courses. So I can attest to both having had use of most of it, and that it certainly helped me get into grad school.)

u/beningitis · 2 pointsr/chemistry

Yeah, sorry about that. I'm an idiot. I was reading on my phone and didn't scroll before I replied.

For organic, Solomons is good. I learned on that first and liked it quite a bit. I've also TAed using Carey/Giuliano which is a good book too. I liked Solomons more, but probably because I was more familiar with it.
Prices are steep, so maybe look for an old edition, unless you're positive you can use a new one wherever you go.

If you're pretty confident in your organic stuff, you can look at Dave Evans organic class (he is a professor at Harvard and posted some great notes here )

It might also help to read up on some organometallic chemistry. I this book
It was ok, but there might be better out there. Maybe some other people will have some input.

A good physical organic book is
It's a dense book. This book also doesn't focus a whole lot on reactivity if I remember correctly. It does a lot of explaining the underlying physics of what happens in organic reactions.

For biochem, I can't help you. I took intro bio and ran the other direction, so more power to you.

u/wygibmer · 16 pointsr/chemistry

It sounds like on one hand you want a historical context for how quantum mechanics came to be, and on the other you want a proof for what are wholly postulated (and thus unprovable) laws. Do you have the same complaints about Newton's Laws? Those are also postulated, but since we can observe them on the spatial and temporal scales we have evolved to experience unaided, they seem more intuitive. If we could instead see the wave nature of the quantum world all the time, Newton's Laws might be equally baffling to ponder. In short, the Schrodinger Equation is no more or less provable than F = ma. We only have their consistent success in reproducing observable phenomena to put stock in.

With that said, the onset of quantum mechanics was a necessary solution to observed phenomena that could not be accounted for with classical laws (for instance, black-body radiation, Young's double slit experiment or Einstein's photoelectric effect). There are six postulates which govern quantum mechanics at its roots, and these are not provable (again, much like Newton's Laws). The only reason these postulates are taken to be laws is that they reproduce everything we can observe on the quantum scale (although, as you learn more about these you will see a certain logic to their necessity, but no formal proof).

As for your question about the imaginary part of the wave function, you should know from calculus that all wave functions have imaginary character via Euler's Relation. If you want to use trig functions, the complex exponential comes along for the ride--and in fact, makes many quantum problems way more approachable than the traditional sine/cosine formulation. The necessity of squaring the wave function (actually, you are multiplying by its complex conjugate) stems from this issue--a complex number has no physical meaning, but by squaring it, you are making the value real.

As for your question about momentum--check out Table 1 in the postulates link above. Momentum is one of a number of Hermitian operators that can operate on your wave function to return a value for an observable phenomenon. Thus, if you determine the wave function for a system of interest, you can operate on that wave function with one of these operators, and you will get back an eigenvalue in front of your wave function that corresponds to an observable phenomenon. This is perhaps a good time to point out that there is not "a wave equation" but rather uncountably many wave equations that govern different systems under different conditions. In fact, the only wave function we can derive analytically is that of the hydrogen atom. Once you introduce more than one electron, their interactions with each other as well as the nucleus need to be solved numerically (by making certain approximations, for instance that the nuclei are fixed in space, since their motion is so much slower than that of the electrons).

I'm sure this is an incomplete answer to your question, and the truth is it takes a long time to wrap your head around what I've discussed here--and this is only scratching the surface of the state of the art. Let me know if I can clarify anything further.

EDIT: I suggest the first 8 chapters of this book for a more complete, coherent introduction to what you are asking about.

u/wilkes9042 · 2 pointsr/chemistry

Try this book for organic chemistry at least.

It can be found far cheaper in other places, but this book really helped me to grasp organic concepts. I have a bunch of books in PDF format, so if you'd like me to forward them to you PM me your email address. I'd be more than happy to fire them over to you.

In addition, I recommend getting a cheap molecular model kit to further help you to grasp some of concepts that relate to the spatial orientation of molecules/stereochemistry; a lot of people seem to hit the wall when it gets to that point because visualization is difficult. eBay have some cheap sets. Better yet, you could make some with dowel rods and colored beads/polystyrene balls.

I've the utmost admiration for your desire to learn despite your 'age'. Not that it should ever deter you, it's just that I've come to accept that the majority of people just stop caring about learning once they pass a certain point, and so I find it refreshing when I do see somebody striving to learn.

u/etcpt · 0 pointsr/chemistry

So if I understand your post, you've been trying to wear something like these, but they're not working for you. I'd recommend something more like these, they'll fit over prescription glasses and I've never had them get stained. Uvex makes a good pair, you can get them on Amazon for <$15/pair. Once you get them adjusted well to fit on your face you'll really forget they're there. I know they seem like overkill to a lot of people, but they're about as safe as goggles get and IMO they're a lot more comfortable than the larger impact goggles.

u/FalconX88 · 2 pointsr/chemistry

I've never really used books except for organic Chemistry.

For organic Chemistry I first used this (Prof used it in the lecture):

which is terrible, don't use that!

Many people say this is pretty good but on the other hand Vollhardt is teaching at Berkeley and it's just a translation which brings me to the point: most good german text books are just translated english ones.

I personally like the Warren but I'm using it in english, not sure if there's a german version but imo the best basic org.chem book.

A really good book written by a german is this, I guess that one is translated in english too. But it's for an advanced level and there it can easily blow your mind ;-)

u/brutalkitten · 3 pointsr/chemistry

Just finished my first semester of o chem! A few tips:

  • It's definitely not as bad as you hear, especially if you like chemistry.

  • The only real prep I would suggest is make sure you have concepts from gen chem down pretty well, it will make your life a breeze in o chem.
    • IMFs, orbital hybridization, acid-base equilibrium (Le Chat's principle, etc.), and bond polarity are some of the main things you'll be applying/considering

      In terms of the actual class...

  • I used this book for a supplement. It's extremely good at simplifying and helping you practice things like stereochemistry and seeing the trends happening in the reactions.

  • Form a small, effective study group if you can! I'm very particular about my study groups, and in this class it's imperative your time is spent wisely--so pick other students who want to do well and won't get distracted.

    Good luck!
u/LorenzoVonMatterhorn · 9 pointsr/chemistry

Mitchandre has an excellent point. This program is called an REU or Research Experience for Undergrads, and most professors will really love having an eager undergraduate for the summer to learn more. I am a computational chemist pursuing my PhD at Georgia Tech with Dr. Sherrill, and I know that we are looking for REU students every summer. I have previously worked with Dr. Robert Harrison at the University of Tennessee/Oak Ridge National Labs and he also has REU students most summers.
Here is the REU program:
If you are just interested in learning some computational chemistry for yourself, a book that I have found to be extremely useful and basic enough to understand at any level is Introduction to Computational Chemistry by Frank Jensen:

If you really wanna try and get your feet wet, try applying for an REU with any professors you can contact, plus its a great way just to see a different part of the country for a summer! Good luck

u/pleasepickme · 1 pointr/chemistry


I am currently a grad student in comp/theory.

A background in programming is not necessary, but you may find yourself wanting to get familiar with programming for data analysis. You should feel comfortable in the terminal to begin something like this (but I've seen people with almost no computer skills learn to run MD simulations within a few weeks of struggle).

The points I give below apply to most questions of this sort.

A good starting place is considering what do I want to simulate?
Consider the underlying physics. If you can write the formulas of what you want to observe with statistical mechanics consider molecular dynamics or monte carlo. If you require quantum mechanics use post Hartree-Fock or DFT.

Do you want to simply look at a change in structure? MD will work. Do you want to look at the process of polymerization? That requires bond formation which requires quantum mechanics. A note: SCF is not orthogonal to MD; there exists QM/MD origrams such as terachem but its sounds fairly impractical to apply to a polymer.

Lets say you wanted to observe the unfolding of a polymer w.r.t. temperature. This could be observed with molecular dynamics. Now you need to consider what program to use. I don't know your system but NAMD is a good starting place because it is fairly user friendly. If you'd like some reading suggestions I'd suggest skimming Jensen's comp chem Let me know if you have more questions

I am a QM guy specifically quantum Monte Carlo, but I work closely with NAMD users

u/exstntlstfrtn · 1 pointr/chemistry

I came here to post this. His chemistry play list is really good (especially organic chem). It will give you a really solid fundamental understanding of college level chemistry and will make it much easier to understand other higher-level sources of information like wiki pages and MIT open courseware lectures.

Also, (to op) I recommend The Illustrated Guide To Home Chemistry. This book will help you build a decent lab setup and give you the necessary basics of lab procedure to have a strong understanding of chemistry as well. Good luck.

u/RaymonBartar · 1 pointr/chemistry

Well I posted this in another thread, but here you go.

Greenwood and Earnshaw Chemistry of the elements - This is pretty much prefect for main group chemistry.

Atkins Physical - This is okay and pretty useful as it is full of questions. There's a smaller version called 'Elements of Physical Chemistry'

Clayden Organic Chemistry - A very good guide to organic chemistry, however the lack of questions in the new edition is a bit annoying.

Hartwig Organotransitional Metal Chemistry - Very good but goes a little beyond most chemistry degrees if not focussing on organometallic chemistry.

For cheap and detailed books on a very specific subject the Oxford Chemistry Primers are extremely useful.

u/ohmyohmeohmy · 1 pointr/chemistry

March's Advanced Organic Chemistry is very good. It's a graduate level book, but it'd be good to step it up.

Otherwise, you'd be wanting to look for a book of Named Reactions.

That one is also very good, but again, graduate level. I don't think it'll be above you if you have a good grasp on basic mechanism at the undergraduate level. More of the advanced reactions (aside from things with transition metals) are usually built from combinations/extensions of undergraduate mechanisms.

Step it up man. You got this.

Addendum edit: Green and Wuts (sp?) Protecting groups book is also very good. It's mostly built from literature examples and empirical data.

u/lisasgreat · 9 pointsr/chemistry

I found that Clayden was an excellent resource to learn organic chemistry and get an intuition/deeper understanding of why reactions proceed in the directions that they do. I did not find the typical textbooks that are used in classes, such as Organic Chemistry by Bruice to be nearly as useful, as the emphasis was on covering a wide range of reactions and not focusing on what they have in common.

I would not recommend one of the classic higher-level bibles, such as March's Advanced Organic Chemistry to you at this stage.

If you plan on continuing to study organic chemistry after this first course, I would recommend that you take a good course (or multiple courses) in physical organic chemistry. You will develop a much better understanding of reaction mechanisms and chemical kinetics if you do. Good texts for this field are Carey and Sundberg's Advanced Organic Chemistry Parts A and B, and Anslyn and Dougherty's Modern Physical Organic Chemistry.

u/FakeShark · 2 pointsr/chemistry

For organic chemistry, this was my textbook:
(There's a newer edition available now, but you can get this one used for about $11)

It's a pretty awesome book. Explains degree level organic chemistry very clearly. Iirc, it covers the basic chemistry concepts you'd need to understand as well, such as orbital structures etc.

u/speckledlemon · 2 pointsr/chemistry

By "expensive calculation", I meant DFT. A semiempirical method such as PM6, PM3, AM1, ZINDO, etc. is much, much quicker to run and can often get you a good starting geometry for a DFT calculation. You'll need to use your eyeballs for this part though.

You usually want the best basis set you can afford. In this case, you want it to include d and f angular momentum functions to properly describe the wavefunction at the cobalt. A small basis set like 3-21G will not work. However, 6-311+G(d,p) is too costly and may fail; even though it has higher angular momentum functions, the '+' means a set of diffuse functions has been added. This will result in orbitals that are quite large but "fuzzy", potentially causing false overlap of orbitals between atoms. It's important for many anions, but unnecessary here. Something intermediate like 6-31G(d) might be acceptable for a geometry.

If you want to learn more, I highly recommend this book, this book, and maybe most of all this book, depending on how much modeling you're required to do.

u/eitauisunity · 1 pointr/chemistry
  1. Go to Khan Academy's Chemistry and Physics sections and select which videos are applicable to your course.

  2. Assign these lectures as the Homework (Explained how to do this here)

  3. Purchase The Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry. (This book has over 60 very straightforward experiments that show various aspects of chemistry. There probably won't be an experiment for each aspect you want to cover, but you should be able to get at least quite a few. Plus it's just an extremely good reference book for chem.)

    This still leaves you short for a few of your requirements, but should be a good start. I'm interested in seeing others' suggestions as well.
u/YOJaden · 2 pointsr/chemistry

I experienced the same issue with my school's lackluster goggles. I purchased these

They fit my school's safety requirements for splash and impact and do not fog. They also fit well over glasses. Good luck!

u/Prayden · 2 pointsr/chemistry

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean is a really good book and covers a lot of chemistry. It is well written and engaging and has a lot of fun facts and accounts of scientists.

u/barsofham · 8 pointsr/chemistry



Bottles Like their selection, I don't think they carry polyconde lids They carry polycone lids

As far as these bottles go, try to get the polycone lined caps as they seem to seal better, like in this one:

And lastly, if you're going to be doing home chemistry, I highly recommend this book:

They forum I linked you to before is by the author Robert Bruce Thompson.

And if you can, I'd recommend getting a sink like this one:

It would make washing glassware a hell of a lot easier than trying to use a small ceramic sink in the bathroom and MUCH safer than using your kitchen sink. Don't use your kitchen sink. Don't. Really Don't.

Let me know if you have any more questions!

u/homegrownunknown · 3 pointsr/chemistry

I loved that book! I think the author has a few others - I remember liking the Violinist's Thumb as well by the same dude.

I also really liked the book Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History.

I have some more on my bookshelf, let me run up and check what I've got. I also found I like reading about non chemistry but still science things. I'm getting a Ph.D. in organic and sometimes it's nice to break out of chemistry. I tend to like reading about plagues, or anything by Oliver Sacks.

u/alterationx10 · 4 pointsr/chemistry

If you are looking for a project for you and a programming friend to work on, the I suggest to you "Modern Quantum Chemistry" by Szabo and Ostlund. It isn't really modern any more, but it teaches you the fundamentals of setting up a Hartree-Fock calculation, which is a good "character building" exercise for a computational chemist. There is even a sample program in the back of the book (it is in Fortran). I'd recommend you and your friend port it over to C (or some other language that is familiar to one of you), as a project. The book can be had for ~$15

u/_perpetual_student_ · 1 pointr/chemistry

I just finished second semester O-Chem and my prof told me that I was one of her top students and that she expects me to ask her for a grad school letter. The key thing to Organic as a class is to keep up with the work. Don't procrastinate at all if you can help it. It is really the sort of course where you would not go wrong putting at least an hour a day of work in every single day whether that work be reading the chapter, doing problems, or doing a study group with friends.

So the real answer is consistently work on the material more or less all the time.

It really is not the hardest class I've ever taken nor the most deeply involved. It is a survey course with all the weaknesses that implies. There will be places where you would love to go into more depth, but can't because there is not enough time. It's simply a lot of information that you have to internalize in a small amount of time, not some fantastically difficult concepts that you have to break apart and derive every aspect of to see how people arrived at it.

Things that I have found helpful as review material and just being able to use an alternate source for the same stuff that is in the Solomons book?

u/Krns · 1 pointr/chemistry

Thanks a lot for the reply!

Well, that's my biggest concern so far. I understand that I need practice, but finding a lab will be challenging(no community colleges, not in the US).
But, there is some spare money, and maybe I could set up some lab practice at home with decent preparations? Found a lot of chem kits, but seems like all of them are for children(and inorganic chem).

Also I got myself this book - , would you recommend it?

EDIT: About lab practice, maybe there is some virtual lab programs? I fully realise it's not the same as real lab, but maybe it will help at first. Practicing while learning programming was so easier, heh.

u/cooldash · 6 pointsr/chemistry

... that's either the most philosophically relevant question ever asked, or I am reading way too much into your comment.

Personally, props should go to the author of the text... it's so bizzare that I want to read the whole thing just for the context.

Here's the description:

> Graduation week should be an exciting time for the Chemistry Department of Allston University, as they prepare to move from their shabby, haunted laboratories into a brand new building. Happily oblivious, they don't know that the President of the University, a candidate for an empty Senate seat and hungry for good publicity, is scheming to trade away their building to poach a Professor of Physics on the Nobel short list. The week might turn out to be more exciting than anyone had reckoned, what with the two different infernal devices stashed in the basement and the assassination scheduled for the dedication ceremony.

The novel is available for on

I aim to deliver ;)

Edit: I just bought "A Novel and Efficient Synthesis of Cadaverine"

u/egyptianwoah · 10 pointsr/chemistry

This is the book that was used in my physical chemistry class. I enjoyed it quite a bit as it is written very well and the practice problems help quite a bit. The book is extremely thorough when going through all of the derivations of equations and give pretty good logical explanations while going through the problems as long as you understand how the algebra and calculus works. The biggest con with it however is that the figures which go along with some of the book can be quite difficult to understand the first time you are looking at them. The book can also be quite dry at times. Because of this, I had also picked up the Atkins book because I found it used for cheap on amazon. The Atkins book is a bit less dry and the figures are way more pleasant to look at, however it seems to be a little less in depth than the McQuarrie book.

No matter which book you choose to go with just be aware that the class can be extremely difficult for people and the most important thing is to make sure you are putting a lot of time into the class. It might be worthwhile to find a decent calculus review and to go through it before taking the class if you feel at all lacking in that department. If you do this you will succeed and possibly even really enjoy the class. I was incredibly nervous going in to the class but it turned out to be one of my favorite classes I took my entire undergrad.

u/MonkeyG0d · 1 pointr/chemistry

Although not chemistry per se right hand, left hand ( was recommended to us by our organic chemistry lecturer (Clayden, the guy who wrote co-authored

Edit: Also there is a chemistry section within Bill Brysons short history of nearly everything, and tbh if you have any general interest in science then you should read this book anyway as it covers loads of topics throughout the history of science really well and its very accessable

u/malice_aforethought · 1 pointr/chemistry

I haven't read that one but I do have On Food and Cooking. I got it for my girlfriend who is a chem grad student and loves to cook. It's a really excellent reference book.

u/fnumb · 3 pointsr/chemistry

I really like Strategic Applications of Named Reactions in Organic Synthesis. It's easy to follow and has a great variety of reactions. There's a brief history of the reaction, then a generic form of the reaction with a mechanism (color coded for greater ease), then it gives several literature examples of the reaction. It's also well-indexed, one of the most polished books I've used.

u/chemcloakedschemer · 1 pointr/chemistry

As you get through certain concepts in lecture, do the corresponding problems in the ACS guide. They give pretty good explanations.

My PChem prof used Engel and Reid and it's pretty readable that you should be OK. If you really want another text to draw from I'd look into McQuarrie's text aka "The Big Red Brick".

u/treeses · 1 pointr/chemistry

The relaxed T1 energy is always going to be lower than the relaxed S1 energy, so T1 will lie somewhere between the S1 and S0 states. Once you cross over to the T1 state and the molecule relaxes to the T1 minimum, there will be an energy barrier that will keep it from crossing back to the S1 state. Here is a picture of what I mean.

There are lots of good books on photochemistry and photophysics. Modern Physical Organic Chemistry has some good chapters on it. Turro wrote several popular books, but I'm partial to Klessinger and Michl.

u/Captain_Awersome · 2 pointsr/chemistry

I like the Prentice Hall Modeling Kit and have two of them for my modeling desires. Unfortunately, the price on Amazon seems to have gone up quite a bit (used to be $35). The size of the atoms versus bonds is perfect, and the models are very sturdy. For example, I regularly use a model of cyclohexane as a back scratcher/massager.

The only downside is that the bonds are a little tight initially. I've found that troublesome bonds can be gently (gently!) chewed to become perfectly fit for the atoms.

u/Indemnity4 · 8 pointsr/chemistry

I took an undergraduate class called "History and Philosophy of Science (Chemistry)", but that involved multiple books.

I'd recommend you start with a popular science novel such as Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History.

The Chemical Tree by Bock and The History of Chemistry by John Hudson are more academic history texts of the development of chemistry. To read and understand these books you probably need to be a chemist yourself. They are more targeted towards teaching a class.

u/NeFace · 1 pointr/chemistry

I have never read this book, but I can tell form the title it will likely be helpful.

Organic chemistry is easy-mode, once you understand that memorising and regurgitating every single reaction and transformation is impossible, and start to actually learn how molecules behave.

Once you understand the rules organic chemistry works by, it is a wonderful subject to study.

I also suggest Organic Synthesis, The Disconnection Approach.

u/Dimsml · 5 pointsr/chemistry

I think that red cabbage powder is used as a PH indicator here.

Zinc sulfide will react with acids to produce zinc citrate and some hydrogen sulfide that smells like rotten eggs.

And while zinc sulfide won't dissolve in water, the zinc citrate salt will dissolve.

The cross linked powder is a bit of a mystery to me,since I have no idea what they wanted to demonstrate. I guess it will just absorb water while increasing in volume, might also heat or cool slightly. I think it is the stuff used in diapers and similar products.

There are better chemistry sets out there, but they do cost a lot for the simple chemicals they put there. More or less good examples are these two: - this one is the stuff all little chemistry kiddies used to crave, but the price is in the range of several thousand dollars, IIRC. - this one is $200 - $300

I also have a wild guess that the zinc sulfide with added copper chloride might be luminescent, but I am not sure. Pure zinc sulfide won't glow, but if doped with copper it should have that familiar greenish glow in the dark after being under the sun or a loghtbulb. But I might be wrong.

If you want further info, then I guess books like this one: or even The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments might be useful, but the second one is from a different era, where you could buy more chemicals and your safety was more like your responsibility, than the responsibility of the authors.

All in all, it is the most basic set you can get, but should be fun. Plus, I don't know how old is your kid and I guess they should not get anything dangerous until their teens. I still do remember how my classmate spilled some acid on me. It was very diluted, no harm done and it even dissolved all the dirt on my backpack.

u/mgberlin · 2 pointsr/chemistry

The keys to chemistry are mostly understanding chemistry. Get him an organic chemistry book; most of it will be over his head right now, but as he grows intellectually he'll be able to conquer more and more. It can't really hurt to have around anyway. My favorite is:

u/aossey · 4 pointsr/chemistry

We used McQuarrie and Simon and I loved it. Not sure if the fact that I was a ChemE major makes a difference in my preferred textbook, but I thought it was great.

It also has a solution guide that I found to be helpful many times for learning how to approach problems.

u/Owan · 1 pointr/chemistry

I took an NMR heavy course as a senior that used this textbook:

its not totally amazing, but it was a pretty good reference for NMR and other spectrometric methods.

What kind of organometallics?

u/verpa · 1 pointr/chemistry

Never read it but it's on my amazon queue from a previous reddit thread:
"A Novel and Efficient Synthesis of Cadaverine"

u/Shmoppy · 1 pointr/chemistry

It's not online, but this is one of my favorite books ever:

It's basically a compilation of a ton of named reactions, with a two page spread for each covering its use, discovery, and mechanism. An amazing book to just open to a random page and learn about/refresh your knowledge on a reaction.

Also, for sheer synthetic flexing, there's an app called chemistry by design, which has a lot of classic total syntheses and a quiz mode for each, where you see the reagents and guess the product, or vice versa. No mechanisms, though.

u/fuji518 · 2 pointsr/chemistry

I took an entire course focused on this topic. A link to the textbook we used is below. It is an excellent book that explains each analytical technique as well as how to interpret the resulting spectral data.

u/MarkLFC · 2 pointsr/chemistry

In the UK the standard textbook is Organic Chemistry by Clayden et al - it is absolutely brilliant and I highly recommend it.

u/sgraber · 1 pointr/chemistry

This is the one I use:

Prentice Hall Molecular Model Set For Organic Chemistry

Works great and they can double as ornaments on your ChemisTree at Christmas. :)

u/sircoolguy · 5 pointsr/chemistry

Strategic applications of named reactions is a great book. Lots of pictures, reference, and mechanism.

Also Greene protecting groups is a good reference

u/sammiesfriend · 2 pointsr/chemistry

Uvex Stealth OTG Safety Goggles with Anti-Fog/Anti-Scratch Coating (S3970DF ) - 19369, Navy Body, Clear Lens
I have these, hard to fit the big framed glasses I have , so I wear my smaller frames. Indents form a bit on my cheeks and forehead but good ventilation if your goggles get fogged up.

u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/chemistry

Highly recommend this workbook:

I started going through it a little before class started (it was actually one of the required texts). Get your head around drawing structures and working mechanisms, and you'll be in great shape.

u/filiusb · 2 pointsr/chemistry

or the Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry if you want a free one.

Plus if you want a book of reactions with names, I'd recommend this one

u/TanithRosenbaum · 1 pointr/chemistry

I used Clayden/Greeves/Warren/Wothers to study for my final tests. I loved it. Looks like I'm not the only one taken by that book.

u/Rhioms · 1 pointr/chemistry

See if you can pick up a copy of the textbook before hand, and look through it, and see what you need to learn/ brush up on for the subjects. If they haven't posted a booklist yet, email the professor, they will likely be willing to tell you. If not, take a look at McQuarry, It's a pretty standard book for the course.

u/sjb-2812 · 6 pointsr/chemistry

Warren (and Wyatt? I've not really seen the updated book) is pretty good

Newer edition at e.g.

u/sourkatt231 · 3 pointsr/chemistry

Haha. Yes, I have been doing some of that. Athough most papers seem so daunting at first the retro always kind of makes me 'ahh I see.' But knowing all the reactions is a different story.

By Laszlo & Kirti are you refering to a book? If so what is the title? Is it this

u/RoneBone · 3 pointsr/chemistry

Find a used copy of this book
Nice descriptions of some really common, powerful reactions, along with (brief) mechanisms. Also gives a bit more experimental detail than most textbooks (solvents, catalysts, etc).

u/tsub · 2 pointsr/chemistry

The "standard" method for designing a synthetic route to a new target is to apply retrosynthetic analysis - Corey's book (linked in the wikipedia article) is the original text on the subject, but I've heard good things about [Warren's book] ( as an introduction.

u/skierface · 1 pointr/chemistry

This is what I have.

It's pretty expensive unfortunately, but it's incredibly nice and I don't see it breaking any time in the near future.

u/Evaporiser · 2 pointsr/chemistry

To understand organic synthesis you need to understand organic chem and spectroscopy methods, so here, this book is the best on the market in my opinion and starts with basic reactivity and spectro methods and ends in hetrocyclic synthetic methods, protecting groups and such things. So, here you go! Oxford Press

u/PlasticWhisperer · 1 pointr/chemistry

If you're into organic, this one, right here:

It's space-filling and very versatile, I like how it helps me see the shapes of molecules.

u/earth23 · 2 pointsr/chemistry

Here is the best book for learning the basics of reaction mechanisms: Pushing Electrons

u/murakaminutmeg · 8 pointsr/chemistry

Clayden, Greeves, Warren, and Wothers Organic Chemistry

I'm a second year Grad Student and this is still one of the best I've read for reference or for learning source.

u/kristofvagyok · 8 pointsr/chemistry

Classics in Total Synthesis: Targets, Strategies, Methods Paperback
by K. C. Nicolaou

Organic Synthesis: The Disconnection Approach Paperback – December
by Stuart Warren

And the best collection of total synthesis what is found on the internet:

u/BigDieselPower · 19 pointsr/chemistry

On Food and Cooking

This is probably your best bet to understanding what is going on when you cook. There are food chemistry textbooks out there but they can be pricey and you may need a significant chemistry background to understand them.

u/Kracatoan · 2 pointsr/chemistry

Speaking as a UK 3rd year undergraduate, Warren's Organic Synthesis: The Disconnection Approach and it's accompanying workbook are exactly what you are looking for - they're simply excellent.

u/craigwilk · 1 pointr/chemistry

This book was fantastic for organic chemistry when I was in undergrad. Really well explained and detailed. Don't buy it new!

Phys chem I used was Atkins Physical Chemistry, but I wouldn't rave about that as much.

u/piroblast · 2 pointsr/chemistry

U can get it here but it cost 65$. What i like about that kit is that you can use a sharpie on the white hydrogene to do the CIP configuration

u/Yuktobania · 2 pointsr/chemistry

My undergrad research advisor reccomended this book when I asked him a similar question. It's incredibly useful.

u/Clan_McGregor · 3 pointsr/chemistry

If you've a mathematical bent, Szabo and Ostlund gives a good overview of modern quantum chemistry. Less than $15, and much more readable than most quantum books out there (I'm looking at you, Atkins)

u/chemyd · 1 pointr/chemistry

First off, pay attention in lab. Take it more seriously than lecture. Lab should really be twice as many credits as lecture- because it is at least that much more important. Chemistry is action, not books. If you aren't taking a lab, you will suffer greatly. If nothing else, get a chemistry set or something to internalize it. I suggest buying and working through this on your own:

Second, supplement readings with MIT Gen Chem lectures (, they invoke some math-you won't need most of the quantumn mechanics/wave equation stuff to ace your class, so don't get too hung up on that part). Overall the lectures are great.

u/snookums · 9 pointsr/chemistry

Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture is a good book explaining how to create a real home chemistry setup.

u/orma42 · 3 pointsr/chemistry

Flashcards. Reaction on the front, mechanism on the back.

*If that doesn't work, this book saved my life in undergrad.

u/G-Brain · 5 pointsr/chemistry

McQuarrie is quite well-regarded. I like it.

u/elnombre91 · 6 pointsr/chemistry

I think this is the one I have, it's definitely by Warren anyway.


This is the one I have, you might have to shop around to find it a bit cheaper. I think I ended up with the Indian edition or something.

u/ConnorF42 · 1 pointr/chemistry

Have you had any physics? It's normally required for a P-Chem class. Perhaps starting with physics would help you with the regular p-chem textbooks? The P-Chem textbook I see recommended the most here is probably this one, but it isn't really biology based.

u/TheSkepticalChymist · 1 pointr/chemistry

The Hartree-Fock method builds molecular orbitals for a given molecule out of atomic orbitals of a given basis set. Depending on how much calculus you know, this project may be difficult, as it is more appropriate for a 3rd year university student. If you're still interested though, these two books and ppt should help:
linus pauling
Attila Szabo
An Introduction to Quantum Chemistry

Another idea you guys could look into is researching the chemistry of semiconductors in computer chips, how semiconductors work, and possibly look into the future of quantum computing (if there is one).

Sorry to take so long to get back to you.

u/directly_observable · 1 pointr/chemistry

These goggles from Amazon are wonderful (not at all similar to the foggy & painful stick to your face kind):

u/bmcgrail · 1 pointr/chemistry

The Chemical Tree: A History of Chemistry is a very good history. Someone with no chemical training will be able to read the first handful of chapters, but most of it is written on a level where it really helps to know something about chemistry. The fact that it dedicates an entire chapter to the nonclassical ion controversy of the mid-to-late 20th century is my warning to the layman. If you're a chemist, however, it's a must-read.

u/daneelsen · 4 pointsr/chemistry

I was recently asked to teach HS chemistry and I bought this book to brush up on my lab skills. It is understandable, but doesn't dumb things down.

u/_morvita · 2 pointsr/chemistry

Frank Jensen's Introduction to Computational Chemistry is, in my opinion, one of the best books out there for computational chemistry. Jensen's book does a great job introducing the concepts and equations in a way that doesn't feel like you need years of background in math and physics to understand. This book lived on my desk while I was in grad school. From what I've seen, most university libraries have a copy of it in their collection.

There are books out there that go into far more detail about the various methods and give detailed mathematical proofs, like Ira Levine's Quantum Chemistry, but those are very dense and, even as someone with a PhD in the field, intimidating.

u/mlukeman · 18 pointsr/chemistry

Most chemistry books are theory-heavy and light on the practical side, although lab / experiment / technique books do exist:
Overall, it can be difficult and expensive and potentially dangerous to try to learn it all on your own, since you likely don't have much of the needed equipment (which is expensive), and will be forced to improvise; you are probably lacking the basic safety equipment; and with no experience, you will have a hard time assessing risks. I see that they do make home chemistry-type books, which is probably your best bet to have fun with some experiments and stay in that window of safety.

u/Die_Stacheligel · 2 pointsr/chemistry

Napoleon's Buttons is worth checking out. It's not really a book about chemists but rather a book about how molecules/compounds have had a broad impact on human existence. Furthermore, even though the authors are each chemists, the chemistry in the book is not daunting at all, especially if you already have some background in chemistry.

u/mitchandre · 2 pointsr/chemistry

I would suggest "Modern Physical Organic Chemistry", but it isn't limited to just radical reactions. It'll go deeper into many of the reaction types in organic chemistry including radicals.

u/oomps62 · 3 pointsr/chemistry

You could look into The Disappearing Spoon. This series of blog articles will give a bit of a preview of how the book reads.

u/BTownPhD · 13 pointsr/chemistry

This book got me through my sr capstone and grad school.

Anybody else ever think of complex nmr as Sunday paper puzzles?

u/LittleHelperRobot · 1 pointr/chemistry


^That's ^why ^I'm ^here, ^I ^don't ^judge ^you. ^PM ^/u/xl0 ^if ^I'm ^causing ^any ^trouble. ^WUT?

u/iris1406 · 4 pointsr/chemistry

The general textbook I use is Clayden and I've found it really comprehensive - it weighs (and costed) something awful, but there you go.

For specific topics, I use a variety of smaller primers - generally textbooks that use a programmed approach, as that's what suits my learning style.

u/LifeisElemental · 41 pointsr/chemistry

Should not be the top post...
There's no reason you can't learn chemistry while performing simple experiments that reinforce basic principles.
Pick up this book.
If you haven't had your high school chemistry class you might run into issues, but I imagine you have.

u/PeteBunny · 1 pointr/chemistry

Got these for my wife. Only $11 and worth it.

She still had a problem with fogging until last week. The Lab assistant went over to her, "You are wearing them too tightly, it is blocking your vents". She loosened the goggles and they now stay clear an entire lab.

u/jdcl · 4 pointsr/chemistry

Don't be too nervous, it's the biggest weed out class and gets a bad reputation for this alone. Perhaps many students who like the idea of chemistry and are not comfortable in math are talking. The fact you're even trying to get ahead means you're the type of student that will be okay. Think of it like a math class for chemistry, outside practice is required.

I can only speak for the thermo semester, I'm finishing that up right now and doing quantum in the fall. Brush up on calc III partial derivatives, specifically with fractions. You'll probably dive head first into gas law partials if thermo is your first semester. They're not even that complex, you just have to be methodical/neat when doing them. Also integration, look up the derivations of root mean square, mean speed etc. If your'e iffy on integration, practice those too.


Resources that really helped me:

  • MIT's website has decent free notes that breakdown core concepts if your professor lacks in the detail department.
  • This youtube channel is gold for pchem/physics, just use the channel search function since he has so many.
  • I bought the McQuarrie book ( and it helps in some areas that Atkins lacked.
  • Little known but golden book for an undergrad, Essentials of Physical Chemistry by Don Shillady. Really helped me in the beginning. He writes it for undergrad level knowledge and is able to explain in plain English what the intuition should be, mathematically as well.

    If the Atkin's book doesn't cut it, usually another university's website will have plenty of material that explains it in other words, just need to Google it.


    As mentioned, it's a math class for chemistry. Go to the back of the book and solve all different types of problems. Write down on the paper, in english, what a step means if you don't understand initially why it happens. I used Chegg to backwards engineer most problems, wrote down The Why, and then owned the problem solving approach for the future.


    I only have one more test/ACS final left, I have over a 100% average right now and an A in lab while taking 21 credits with research, tutoring etcetc everyone will have an excuse why it sucks. I'm not inherently good at math either, I just practice. It's all doable, you just need to work some on your own and ask your professor a million questions. They will likely be so smart they don't realize they skip things. They may also be happy someone gives a damn in that class.

    Sorry for the long response, but I hope this helps. I often feel dragged down by my peers complaining or instilling fear for classes, just do your own thing.
u/flacidbanana · 0 pointsr/chemistry

No no no no. This is the perfect example of how not to learn. You need to learn how to learn. Learning form videos is a horrible idea if you want to beat the average. Please I tell you this from experience. There are studies out there if you don't believe me. If you're looking for a textbook to read check out

u/yohann · 2 pointsr/chemistry

I am actually not sure how good it is, I found it on boingboing that have quit a lot of articles on home chemistry. Including several scary ones on FBI raid !