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Thread: New to Chemistry

  1. #1 New to Chemistry 
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    Starting on Chem 090 today...will I need a lot of help since I'm not great at math?


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    Practice your algebra and you should do well enough -though there are some other mathematical concepts that can arise. Most of it is algebra, however, often having to do with conversions and such.


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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Practice your algebra and you should do well enough -though there are some other mathematical concepts that can arise. Most of it is algebra, however, often having to do with conversions and such.
    Thanks. My teacher said that it's almost prealgabraic at this level. Hope he's telling the truth. I also hope that this will help build a good foundation for further study.
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  5. #4  
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    Will I need to be a math whiz when I reach higher levels of understanding?
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    Will I need to be a math whiz when I reach higher levels of understanding?
    Unless you want to study some specific branch of chemistry that's very math-heavy, simply algebra with a small amount of calculus and linear algebra will allow you to do anything/everything. I'm working on a phd in chemistry and I rarely use anything more advanced than freshman-level calculus. And when I do need more advanced math, I usually just ask a computer to solve it.

    The one more advanced math topic that you might need to know is a bit of group theory, but usually any chemistry classes that use it will teach it to you (since it's assumed that most chemists won't have taken a specialized group theory class).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    Will I need to be a math whiz when I reach higher levels of understanding?
    Unless you want to study some specific branch of chemistry that's very math-heavy, simply algebra with a small amount of calculus and linear algebra will allow you to do anything/everything. I'm working on a phd in chemistry and I rarely use anything more advanced than freshman-level calculus. And when I do need more advanced math, I usually just ask a computer to solve it.

    The one more advanced math topic that you might need to know is a bit of group theory, but usually any chemistry classes that use it will teach it to you (since it's assumed that most chemists won't have taken a specialized group theory class).
    I'm mid-semester now (halfway through my text) and understanding dilution, molarity, nomenclature, etc. If I get an A in this high school level course should I be able to take higher levels and do well, even with my next to nill understanding of math?(still only halfway competent in Algebra)
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    You'll have to take calculus eventually, it's pretty much a requirement for any branch of university science except psychology. That being said, a lot of introductory chem doesn't require heavy duty math skills. If you go into biochem you'll probably not have to go beyond introductory calculus.
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    You'll have to take calculus eventually, it's pretty much a requirement for any branch of university science except psychology. That being said, a lot of introductory chem doesn't require heavy duty math skills. If you go into biochem you'll probably not have to go beyond introductory calculus.
    Biochem sounds awesome..I'm also looking into to molecular genetics.
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    Kinda mad at my teacher...we took our second test today (2 of 4) and he asked us true/false questions that we didn't go over in class (and a few I don't even recall from the book. Example:

    3p4 (where four is superscript)...is this part of the 4th electron shell? I didn't know the answer because it's a suborbital and I think you count them as well... I wrote false...I thought it would be the fifth shell..right?

    Right now I think I got either a B or a C depending on how he grades it.. :?
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    Kinda mad at my teacher...we took our second test today (2 of 4) and he asked us true/false questions that we didn't go over in class (and a few I don't even recall from the book. Example:

    3p4 (where four is superscript)...is this part of the 4th electron shell? I didn't know the answer because it's a suborbital and I think you count them as well... I wrote false...I thought it would be the fifth shell..right?

    Right now I think I got either a B or a C depending on how he grades it.. :?
    3p4 means that there are four 3p electrons, so they would be in the third shell (because they are 3p). So "false" would be correct.

    The "shell" depends on n, the "subshell" depends on l, and the "orbital" depends on ml (or the "magnetic quantum number", or whatever you want to call it).
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  12. #11  
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    I'm definitely going to be taking Chem 151 next semester. Chem is awesome.
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    Got a B on Test #2...happy but hoping for an A next time..got a 97 on the first test...
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  14. #13 doing biochemistry without maths 
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    Hello

    I have a biochemistry degree which I passed with the highest grade possible and I didn;t have any basic maths skills. However I failed all of the thermodynamics units and kinetics units in th first year. It was only because I was so good at everything else that I got through.

    I wouldn't recommend doing it without knowing algebra, logs, indices and basic calculus. Some basic statistics wouldn't go amiss either but, for most people, that is easier to learn.

    As someone else said, you have to know the fundamentals but by the time it gets really advanced where you can't do it on paper, you do the calculations on a computer anyway.
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  15. #14 Re: doing biochemistry without maths 
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    Quote Originally Posted by andieje
    Hello

    I have a biochemistry degree which I passed with the highest grade possible and I didn;t have any basic maths skills. However I failed all of the thermodynamics units and kinetics units in th first year. It was only because I was so good at everything else that I got through.

    I wouldn't recommend doing it without knowing algebra, logs, indices and basic calculus. Some basic statistics wouldn't go amiss either but, for most people, that is easier to learn.

    As someone else said, you have to know the fundamentals but by the time it gets really advanced where you can't do it on paper, you do the calculations on a computer anyway.
    Will Chem teachers help you learn logs and indices? I have no clue what they are. Also, it won't be difficult to relearn Algebra but Calculus scares me. I'm taking Math 140 next semester and it will cover some Algebra I believe.
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    Semester ends in December..none of the offered Chem classes next semester fit into my schedule.. guess I'll take Bio...
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  17. #16  
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    Got an A! Now onto to big-boy Chem 151...
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    Just ordered a chem text from 2006 for $6 (the next to most recent version of the general chemistry text my university uses)..I'm going to study over the summer and view youtube videos in preparation for Chem 151. There is even a website for an even earlier edition which I recommend for anyone wanting a general chemistry review for AP chem in high school or for the class I'm getting ready to take.

    A link to the text I bought:

    http://www.amazon.com/Chemistry-Cent...9527507&sr=8-1
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  19. #18  
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    If you're doing about acids/bases and the pH scale you need to know about logarithms. Well I say you need to know about them...you just need to know some very basic log laws (they aren't that hard ) and how to input logs into your calculator.
    I find with Chemistry theres usually a shortcut that you can do when it comes to the Maths sections which can help.
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  20. #19  
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    I find that as well. I often review old tests to help with the algebra.
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