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Thread: chemicals

  1. #1 chemicals 
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    i never understand how they make medication or any other chemcial that is.
    Take for instance methadone/physeptone(as we are doing a opiod essay in our history lessons.
    How do they make methadone. and on wikipedia what does the symbols mean with the hexagons with letters coming off them.
    I oviously dont want a point by point instruction into how to make ...
    i just want to know how by seeing this





    They can tell exactly how to make it.i really want ot become a chemist. i also really want ot learn everything about everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! is this possible, does someone know everything!!!!


    ~~~im trying to paste a methadone chemical hexagone shape thing but it wont paste!! what am i dong wrong!!!


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  3. #2  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    For chemical structures like this (called skeletal structures) the end of each straight line is a carbon atom, the other letters are the chemical symbols of other atoms bonded to the carbon. For the hydrogens they are not shown but it is understood they are there and the number of them is such that the valency of each carbon atom is 4 (unless it is specified as a radical or an ion). These are just a convenient way of drawing complex structures quickly.

    For example a "hexagon" is cyclohexane, a ring of six carbon atoms each one bound to it's two neighbours in a 6-membered ring (and each with 2 hydrogens attached to it to make each carbon 4-valent).

    The following page may be useful (especially the bit on skeletal formulae): How to draw organic molecules

    If you really want to learn chemistry, this is just an example of the "language" chemists use to describe molecules. You need to be fairly fluent to understand anything at a reasonable advanced level (not meant as discouragment just saying you could have a long road ahead).


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    I would say the golden rule for chemistry is to understand the atom. if you know what atoms do when they interact, you will know what molecules they form. if the atom was to act in a different way, the molecule will change. of course, the molecules are always gaining and losing atoms due to, for lack of a better word, time. when the atom meets new atoms - for example, a piece of paper meeting a flame - you will find the atoms change their placement and stuff. no atoms are ever destroyed i suppose, so, if there was a way to find if the atoms were to change due to certain processes, as they compose molecules, and therefore matter, the elementary table should be thrown out, and, then we study compositions of molecules.

    If we find a series of molecules that are composed of atoms and therefore elements and therefore matter, we could simply ignore the elements of theirs, and work instead with atoms. is this practical?
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    Okay, so we want to find a easier way to get to the elemental table for educational purposes? if the elemental table was to be based on atoms, we would not need to learn the elemental table. i know it put me off science in grade 9, and i failed because of it. so, we need to come up with something else, and, make it easier to understand.

    If the elemental table was to be composed of atoms, and how they interact, we would not need elements. for example, if the element hydrogen was to be composed of five atoms or whatever, and they all did their own thing making it hydrogen, then where would they be, and, what would they do differently? this way, we study atoms and where they are instead of elements.

    Quote Originally Posted by http://www2.estrellamountain.edu/faculty/farabee/biobk/biobookchem1.html
    Protons have a charge of +1, and a mass of approximately 1 atomic mass unit (amu). Elements differ from each other in the number of protons they have, e.g. Hydrogen has 1 proton; Helium has 2.
    So, as we can see, we need to know only the makeup of the element in three ways - protons, electrons and nucleons. if the education system were to teach these things at a fundamental level, we could forgo the elemental table and skip right to the action. i am sure, the place where you find the element on the elementary table is showing how many of what it is is going on - the makeup of the element relates to the place on the elementary table - and if it is not, it should be, yes?

    Now, in matter, all molecules are connected, making it not melt, in fluids only some of them are connected, meaning the element has broken down, and in gas they have no connections.

    If the atom was to be bound, we need to recognize the structure. it is said that ramsey numbers play a part in this, so, with each extra atom to be included, there are others that come in too, basically they come in threes or fours, making an extra dimension each time to the drawing. now it comes to common sense! if it is water you are observing, then you need to observe the chemical identify of it, in this case, h2o. so, for every hydrogen atom, there are two oxygen atoms, yes? This means it comes in threes, so what other numbers does it come in? i am hoping for more input with this, or, a complete destruction of my ideas, as they are only work in the making...
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    Basically, the new dimensions will be triangles, squares, hexagons, and so forth, depending on how many elements there are added. so if you had water, you could say, okay, h2o equals a triangle if bend the correct ways, and, that you could add another triangle or dimension by adding another hydrogen and two oxygen elements?
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    So, i guess what i am proposing, is to learn the chemical composition of each 'real' thing, like water or metals or whatever, instead of learning from the ground up?
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    Welcome to the forum but I have to say what you are posting makes so little sense it is hard to know where to begin commenting on it. You seem to be advocating a new way of learning chemistry without understanding chemistry yourself. If you have specific questions ask them and I'll try and answer but your posts above are filled with misconceptions and are frankly in the main rambling nonsense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Welcome to the forum but I have to say what you are posting makes so little sense it is hard to know where to begin commenting on it. You seem to be advocating a new way of learning chemistry without understanding chemistry yourself. If you have specific questions ask them and I'll try and answer but your posts above are filled with misconceptions and are frankly in the main rambling nonsense.
    Okay, could you please give your first example where they are wrong?
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  10. #9  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    Your whole series of posts just shows an almost complete lack of understanding. The first glaring example is "If we find a series of molecules that are composed of atoms..." All molecules are composed if atoms, all atoms are elements, the sentence I have quoted in part shows profound misunderstandings. If you want to learn chemistry ask questions and I'll answer if I can help but rambling on without knowing the basics is pointless.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Your whole series of posts just shows an almost complete lack of understanding. The first glaring example is "If we find a series of molecules that are composed of atoms..." All molecules are composed if atoms, all atoms are elements, the sentence I have quoted in part shows profound misunderstandings. If you want to learn chemistry ask questions and I'll answer if I can help but rambling on without knowing the basics is pointless.
    Well, i get confused in terminology. could you demonstrate where the actual facts are wrong? i am trying to revise the education process so that primary school kids can learn advanced high school or first year content, but, can you show me where i am wrong without messing with terms?
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  12. #11  
    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    I'll go through your posts at lunchtime when I have a block of time free as to do it properly would take a bit longer than a quick reply.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    I'll go through your posts at lunchtime when I have a block of time free as to do it properly would take a bit longer than a quick reply.
    Thanks a lot! i would love someone that has phds and stuff to certify it, or, dismiss it. i had a high hit ratio with my theories over the net, by the way.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    I would say the golden rule for chemistry is to understand the atom. if you know what atoms do when they interact, you will know what molecules they form.
    So far so good,I agree with this.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    if the atom was to act in a different way, the molecule will change.
    Not sure what you mean by this. The structure and behaviour of atoms is governed by QM, the energies and behaviour of electrons in atoms are determined by solutions to the Schrodinger equation, the Pauli exclusion principle etc., if atoms acted in a different way (i.e. the electronic properties were different) stable atoms and molecules would not form.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    of course, the molecules are always gaining and losing atoms due to, for lack of a better word, time.
    Not really to do with time as such, it's to do with the kinetics and thermodynamics of the system which are time dependent but also depend on many other things (temperature, pressure, concentrations etc.)
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    when the atom meets new atoms - for example, a piece of paper meeting a flame - you will find the atoms change their placement and stuff.
    broadly correct if badly explained (Stuff!?), the molecules break down into fragments which recombine. It is very rare for compounds to be broken down completely into atoms during a reaction (except for diatomic gases obviously).
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    no atoms are ever destroyed
    True
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    i suppose, so, if there was a way to find if the atoms were to change due to certain processes, as they compose molecules, and therefore matter, the elementary table should be thrown out, and, then we study compositions of molecules.
    I've no idea what you mean by this. The fundamental units of matter as far as chemistry is concerned are atoms not molecules (i.e. elements not compounds). Molecules are combinations of atoms and are more complex. As far as I can follow your reasoning you want to throw away the simplest possible foundation for a more complicated one that is built of the components of the simple one you want to discard. This is nonsense. You are proposing ditching the periodic table with it's 100 or so elements in favour of a sytem where you have a potentially infinite number of compounds. Science always works to try and explain as much as possible with as few principles and components as possible, you seem to be going the wrong way.

    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    If we find a series of molecules that are composed of atoms and therefore elements and therefore matter, we could simply ignore the elements of theirs, and work instead with atoms. is this practical?
    No as addressed in an earlier post.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    Okay, so we want to find a easier way to get to the elemental table for educational purposes?
    By elemental table I assume you mean the periodic table. I'm not convinced there is an easier way and if there was it would still be based on elements not compounds.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    if the elemental table was to be based on atoms,
    It is!
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    we would not need to learn the elemental table.
    I strongly disagree, the periodic table is one of the most useful things in chemistry. If you understand how it is put together and why, it allows you to make predictions and inferences about atomic properties, how atoms will combine, the likely strengths of the bonds in it's molecules and a whole host of other things. If you don't understand the periodic table your chances of understanding chemistry at any reasonable level are slim to none. I recopmmend reading "The Periodic Kingdom" by Peter Atkins, a short but very good book outlining this very point.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    i know it put me off science in grade 9, and i failed because of it.
    Sorry to hear that, sounds like you had a poor teacher
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    so, we need to come up with something else, and, make it easier to understand.
    Good luck with that, the periodic table has been around for so long without major modification because it is so simple and useful. I applaud your aim of wanting to make chemistry more accessible but making the periodic table "easier to understand" is a hard task as it is already beautifully simple.

    If the elemental table was to be composed of atoms,and how they interact, we would not need elements.
    What would it be composed of? Molecules? You'd need a f***ing big wall to pin it up on, just think about how many different molecules there are compared to how many different types of atom there are and as stated the "interactions" can be predicted from the current table if you understand the theory behind how it is put together.

    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    for example, if the element hydrogen was to be composed of five atoms or whatever, and they all did their own thing making it hydrogen, then where would they be, and, what would they do differently? this way, we study atoms and where they are instead of elements.
    I'm not sure what this even means.

    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    Protons have a charge of +1, and a mass of approximately 1 atomic mass unit (amu). Elements differ from each other in the number of protons they have, e.g. Hydrogen has 1 proton; Helium has 2.
    OK so far
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    So, as we can see, we need to know only the makeup of the element in three ways - protons, electrons and nucleons.
    I think you mean neutrons not nucleons. Also as I said earlier all of chemistry is concerned with the behavious of electrons. The proton number defines the element as it determines how many electrons are needed in the neutral atom. All you really need to know is the number (and arrangement in energy levels) of the electrons.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    if the education system were to teach these things at a fundamental level, we could forgo the elemental table and skip right to the action.
    This is a bad idea. You want to "skip right to the action" without covering the basics. At best this will give a superficial knowledge of the area, not any real understanding.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    i am sure, the place where you find the element on the elementary table is showing how many of what it is is going on - the makeup of the element relates to the place on the elementary table - and if it is not, it should be, yes?
    The place an element has on the periodic table is due to it's electronic make up (and coincidentally number of protons as these have to be equal to the number of electrons in a neutral atom).

    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    Now, in matter, all molecules are connected, making it not melt, in fluids only some of them are connected, meaning the element has broken down, and in gas they have no connections.
    If I understand you right you haven't explained what you mean very well, in water for example it is always H2O regardless of whether it is a solid liquid or gas, the only difference between the phases is the distance between the molecules and the intermolecular forces between them. In a liquid the forces are still there it's just the greater degree of molecular motion means they have less of an effect. Even in a gas there are forces of attraction between the molecules, they are just so much weaker than in liquids and solids and have less of an effect due to the greater separation.

    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    If the atom was to be bound, we need to recognize the structure.
    What does this mean?
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    it is said that ramsey numbers play a part in this,
    By whom? I've been studying and working in chemistry for 20 years and never used them.

    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    so, with each extra atom to be included, there are others that come in too, basically they come in threes or fours, making an extra dimension each time to the drawing. now it comes to common sense!
    No it seems to be utter rubbish.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    if it is water you are observing, then you need to observe the chemical identify of it, in this case, h2o. so, for every hydrogen atom, there are two oxygen atoms, yes?
    No, there are 2 H for each O.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    This means it comes in threes, so what other numbers does it come in? i am hoping for more input with this, or, a complete destruction of my ideas, as they are only work in the making...
    This makes no sense to me whatsoever.
    Basically, the new dimensions will be triangles, squares, hexagons, and so forth, depending on how many elements there are added. so if you had water, you could say, okay, h2o equals a triangle if bend the correct ways, and, that you could add another triangle or dimension by adding another hydrogen and two oxygen elements?
    This is just meaningless, I have no idea what you are on about.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    So, i guess what i am proposing, is to learn the chemical composition of each 'real' thing, like water or metals or whatever, instead of learning from the ground up?
    What you are proposing seems to be nonsensical.
    This is not meant to put you down, it's good you are thinking about these things but you really need a better understanding of the core concepts yourself before you attempt to rewrite how chemistry is taught and learned.
    Last edited by PhDemon; December 11th, 2013 at 07:33 PM.
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  15. #14  
    Forum Freshman Brett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    I would say the golden rule for chemistry is to understand the atom. if you know what atoms do when they interact, you will know what molecules they form.
    So far so good,I agree with this.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    if the atom was to act in a different way, the molecule will change.
    Not sure what you mean by this. The structure and behaviour of atoms is governed by QM, the energies and behaviour of electrons in atoms are determined by solutions to the Schrodinger equation, the Pauli exclusion principle etc., if atoms acted in a different way (i.e. the electronic properties were different) stable atoms and molecules would not form.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    of course, the molecules are always gaining and losing atoms due to, for lack of a better word, time.
    Not really to do with time as such, it's to do with the kinetics and thermodynamics of the system which are time dependent but also depend on many other things (temperature, pressure, concentrations etc.)
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    when the atom meets new atoms - for example, a piece of paper meeting a flame - you will find the atoms change their placement and stuff.
    broadly correct if badly explained (Stuff!?), the molecules break down into fragments which recombine. It is very rare for compounds to be broken down completely into atoms during a reaction (except for diatomic gases obviously).
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    no atoms are ever destroyed
    True
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    i suppose, so, if there was a way to find if the atoms were to change due to certain processes, as they compose molecules, and therefore matter, the elementary table should be thrown out, and, then we study compositions of molecules.
    I've no idea what you mean by this. The fundamnetal units of matter as far as chemistry is concerned are atoms not molecules (i.e. elements not compounds). Molecules are combinations of atoms and are more complex. As far as I can follow your reasoning you want to throw away the simplest possible foundation for a more complicated one that is built of the components of the simple one you want to discard. This is nonsense. You are proposing ditching the periodic table with it's 100 or so elements in favour of a sytem where you have a potential infinite number of compounds. Science always works to try and explain as much as possible with as few principles and components as possible, you seem to be going the wrong way.

    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    If we find a series of molecules that are composed of atoms and therefore elements and therefore matter, we could simply ignore the elements of theirs, and work instead with atoms. is this practical?
    No as addressed in an earlier post.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    Okay, so we want to find a easier way to get to the elemental table for educational purposes?
    By elemental table I assume you mean the periodic table. I'm not convinced there is one and if there was it would still be based on elements not compounds.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    if the elemental table was to be based on atoms,
    It is!
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    we would not need to learn the elemental table.
    I strongly disagree, the periodic table is one of the most useful things in chemistry. If you understand how it is put together and why it allows you to make predictions and inferences about atomic properties, how atoms will combine, the likely strengths of the bonds in it's molecules and a whole host of other things. If you don't understand the periodic table your chances of understanding chemistry at any reasonable level are slim to none. I recopmmend reading "The Periodic Kingdom" by Peter Atkins, a short but very good book outlining this very point.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    i know it put me off science in grade 9, and i failed because of it.
    Sorry to here that, sounds like you had a poor teacher
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    so, we need to come up with something else, and, make it easier to understand.
    Good luck with that, the periodic table has been around for so long without major modification because it is so simple and useful. I applaud your aim of wanting to make chemistry more accessible but making the periodic table "easier to understand" is a hard task as it is already beautifully simple.

    If the elemental table was to be composed of atoms,and how they interact, we would not need elements.
    What would it be composed of? Molecules? You'd need a f***ing big wall to pin it up on, just think about how many different molecules there are compared to how many different types of atom there are and as stated the "interactions" can be predicted from the current table if you understand the theory behind how it is put together.

    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    for example, if the element hydrogen was to be composed of five atoms or whatever, and they all did their own thing making it hydrogen, then where would they be, and, what would they do differently? this way, we study atoms and where they are instead of elements.
    I'm not sure what this even means.

    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    Protons have a charge of +1, and a mass of approximately 1 atomic mass unit (amu). Elements differ from each other in the number of protons they have, e.g. Hydrogen has 1 proton; Helium has 2.
    OK so far
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    So, as we can see, we need to know only the makeup of the element in three ways - protons, electrons and nucleons.
    I think you mean neutrons not nucleons. Also as I said earlier all of chemistry is concerned with the behavious of electrons. The proton number defines the element as it determines how many electrons are needed in the neutral atom. All you really need to know is the number (and arrangement in energy levels) of the electrons.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    if the education system were to teach these things at a fundamental level, we could forgo the elemental table and skip right to the action.
    This is a bad idea. You want to "skip right to the action" without covering the basics. At best this will give a superficial knowledge of the area, not any real understanding.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    i am sure, the place where you find the element on the elementary table is showing how many of what it is is going on - the makeup of the element relates to the place on the elementary table - and if it is not, it should be, yes?
    The place an element has on the periodic table shows is due to it's electronic make up (and coincidentally number of protons as these have to be equal to the number of electrons in a neutral atom).

    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    Now, in matter, all molecules are connected, making it not melt, in fluids only some of them are connected, meaning the element has broken down, and in gas they have no connections.
    If I understand you right you haven't explained what you mean very well, in water for example it is always H2O regardless of whether it is a solid liquid or gas, the only difference between the phases is the distance between the molecules and the intermolecular forces between them. In a liquid the forces are still there it's just the greater degree of molecular motion means they have less of an effect. Even in a gas there are forces of attraction between the molecules, they are just so much weaker than in liquids and solids and have less of an effect due to the greater separation.

    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    If the atom was to be bound, we need to recognize the structure.
    What does this mean?
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    it is said that ramsey numbers play a part in this,
    By whom? I've been studying and working in chemistry for 20 years and never used them.

    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    so, with each extra atom to be included, there are others that come in too, basically they come in threes or fours, making an extra dimension each time to the drawing. now it comes to common sense!
    No it seems to be utter rubbish.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    if it is water you are observing, then you need to observe the chemical identify of it, in this case, h2o. so, for every hydrogen atom, there are two oxygen atoms, yes?
    No, there are 2 H for each O.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    This means it comes in threes, so what other numbers does it come in? i am hoping for more input with this, or, a complete destruction of my ideas, as they are only work in the making...
    This makes no sense to me whatsoever.
    Basically, the new dimensions will be triangles, squares, hexagons, and so forth, depending on how many elements there are added. so if you had water, you could say, okay, h2o equals a triangle if bend the correct ways, and, that you could add another triangle or dimension by adding another hydrogen and two oxygen elements?
    This is jsut meaningless, I have no idea what you are on about.
    Quote Originally Posted by brett
    So, i guess what i am proposing, is to learn the chemical composition of each 'real' thing, like water or metals or whatever, instead of learning from the ground up?
    What you are proposing seems to be nonsensical.
    This is not meant to put you down, it's good you are thinking about these things but you really need a better understanding of the core concepts yourself before you attempt to rewrite how chemistry is taught and learned.
    Thank you very much for addressing me. i think now that they should be added to the periodic table learned in grade nine or so, and brought forwards to grade six, hopefully? thanks a lot.
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett View Post
    If the elemental table was to be composed of atoms, and how they interact, we would not need elements.
    Atoms are elements so I'm not quite sure what you are proposing here. The periodic table describes the properties of each atom or element.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brett View Post
    i think now that they should be added to the periodic table learned in grade nine or so, and brought forwards to grade six, hopefully? thanks a lot.
    You think what should be added to the periodic table?
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Brett View Post
    If the elemental table was to be composed of atoms, and how they interact, we would not need elements.
    Atoms are elements so I'm not quite sure what you are proposing here. The periodic table describes the properties of each atom or element.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brett View Post
    i think now that they should be added to the periodic table learned in grade nine or so, and brought forwards to grade six, hopefully? thanks a lot.
    You think what should be added to the periodic table?
    I meant the orbitals and how many electrons go into each element. surely they are ready to learn this earlier?
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Welcome to the forum but I have to say what you are posting makes so little sense it is hard to know where to begin commenting on it. You seem to be advocating a new way of learning chemistry without understanding chemistry yourself. If you have specific questions ask them and I'll try and answer but your posts above are filled with misconceptions and are frankly in the main rambling nonsense.
    sorry i am new to the forum and im beggining to understand how to put proper questions across with detailed mneanings
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    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by graemedon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Welcome to the forum but I have to say what you are posting makes so little sense it is hard to know where to begin commenting on it. You seem to be advocating a new way of learning chemistry without understanding chemistry yourself. If you have specific questions ask them and I'll try and answer but your posts above are filled with misconceptions and are frankly in the main rambling nonsense.
    sorry i am new to the forum and im beggining to understand how to put proper questions across with detailed mneanings
    The post you quoted was in response to Brett. Don't worry, asking questions is fine as long as you take on board the answers you are given.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett View Post
    I meant the orbitals and how many electrons go into each element. surely they are ready to learn this earlier?
    Learning the orbital shapes? As early as you like, learning why the orbitals are the shape they are, 1st year undergrad course in QM.
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett View Post
    I meant the orbitals and how many electrons go into each element. surely they are ready to learn this earlier?
    Well, the number of electrons is already in the periodic table - this is an essential piece of information. The structure of the table itself tells you a lot about the number of electrons in the outer shell, which is the most important part.

    I don't know when information about orbitals is normally taught. I learned about the basics in the equivalent of the last two years fo school before university. But that was because I was studying chemistry specifically. I'm not sure how useful it is for just a general science background, which is what I think most people expect from school. The detail of orbitals rapidly becomes complicated, highly mathematical and quite confusing!
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Bullshit Intolerant PhDemon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Brett View Post
    I meant the orbitals and how many electrons go into each element. surely they are ready to learn this earlier?
    Well, the number of electrons is already in the periodic table - this is an essential piece of information. The structure of the table itself tells you a lot about the number of electrons in the outer shell, which is the most important part.

    I don't know when information about orbitals is normally taught. I learned about the basics in the equivalent of the last two years fo school before university. But that was because I was studying chemistry specifically. I'm not sure how useful it is for just a general science background, which is what I think most people expect from school. The detail of orbitals rapidly becomes complicated, highly mathematical and quite confusing!
    IIRC from my experince atomic and molecular orbital theory was taught qualitatively in A-level chemistry (before this it is all rationalised with the "octet rule" and it's exceptions are said to be able to "expand their octet"). It was put on a firmer mathematical footing in first year P.Chem where the first course, first term was QM with emphasis on atomic structure.
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