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Thread: Chemistry for a beginner

  1. #1 Chemistry for a beginner 
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    Hi there

    I am looking for some advice on learning basic chemistry.

    I'm nearly finished a law degree, and have never studied very much science, but am considering entering the field at a postgraduate level. In high school I was good at mathematics, but I am not sure if that will help me very much.

    In order to determine whether I am capable and sufficiently interested, I want to learn basic chemistry.

    So, I have a few questions.

    • Can anyone here recommend sound methods by which to go about this?

      Can you please suggest good websites or texts that I can use?

      Is it possible to find people online who might be prepared to assist me?

      Can you please offer any other advice that you think might assist?


    Thank you very much in advance, and all the best.


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  3. #2  
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    What advice would you give a chemist who says "I want to learn the law"?

    Would you simply direct him to a website? Suggest he buy "Torts for Dummies"?

    I am not being sarcastic, merely trying to get you to see this project in the right perspective. Self-study is a good thing but anyone who is serious about learning a subject must sign up for a formal training program and place himself in the hands of a Master. You also need access to basic lab facilities. Particularly for chemistry, books alone cannot get the job done.

    You need to investigate educational opportunities in your community. For this subject it is likely that your only recourse is a normal college program. If you can work it into your schedule, excellent! Any lesser approach will likely lead only to disappointment and eventual abandonment of your project.

    *


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  4. #3  
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    Yeah if its just purely out of interest then sure teach yourself I'm sure we'll be happy to answer any questions, however if you intend to work in this field in any way, you'll need a qualification anyway; and not just for its own sake, it will ensure ou know the relevant theories/areas well.
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  5. #4  
    New Member equinox's Avatar
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    A formal training program is necessary if you truly intend to work in a chemistry related occupation. Self-taught individuals may eventually be as skilled as one with a university degree but earning a degree guarantees some form of competency whereas you have nothing to show when you're self-taught. Enrolling in a formal program comes with its own benefits. You get access to resources in a university library, chemicals and lab time. If you impress the right person, you can even land a job in a chemistry laboratory, which, I believe, you will do most of your learning in.

    That said, an ability to carry out self-study is essential so don't discount that. As a graduate student, I frequently come across topics and knowledge not even touched upon during my undergraduate education. Being sufficient at self-study is necessary.

    Math skills certainly help as quantitative chemistry eventually requires some math. My advice for you would be to begin with a basic chemistry text (I started off with Zumdahl) and explore some branches of chemistry that you may be interested in. Chemistry is a vast, vast, vast field of study. There are several subfields, all of them interrelated in some way. A few of these sub-branches include:

    - Biochemistry (chemistry of living organisms --- metabolic reactions, proteins, lipid membranes, biochemical signalling)
    - Food Chemistry (pretty self-explanatory --- how apples turn brown, how do you make cheese from milk, etc.)
    - Polymer Chemistry (plastics, synthesizing novel polymers, biodegradable packaging)
    - Analytical Chemistry (the chemistry of quantifying chemical phenomena --- you study techniques like chromatography, NMR, spectroscopy, etc.)
    - Organic Chemistry (the chemistry of "carbon molecules" --- things like ethanol, hydrocarbons, petroleum, etc.)
    - Nanotechnology (control and modification of matter at the atomic level)

    There are many more sub-fields of chemistry but these are the ones I have come across during my time in school.
    Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.
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  6. #5  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    The Open University in the UK is available to residents of other countries. Their tutition schemes are excellent. They might be worth looking into.
    http://www.open.ac.uk/
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  7. #6  
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    niceday; Going from Law to chemistry, does seem a little curious, at least to me. If in connection with law, wouldn't 'Forensic Science' make more sense, even if not pursuing a law career???
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  8. #7  
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    Well... my whole major is PharmD "Doctor of Pharmacy"... and it's all about chemistry and biology that it's based on... So I was wondering if we can really help each other online ... I really need to learn from zero )
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  9. #8  
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    Wow, this thread is really old. The poster probably isn't on the forums anymore.

    It is a shame, because I feel the people who responded to the post didn't answer the question at all.

    Nicedayforawalk said they wanted to study chemistry as a postgraduate. In otherwords, the poster is planning to enroll at a tertiary institution to learn after they complete the law degree. However, in the meantime the poster would like to learn some of the basics to ensure that they are going down the right path. This could save them a lot of time and money. It is a smart idea.

    Nicedayforawalk, if you are still around, did you choose chemistry in the end? How did it turn out?

    Ilham, you know no chemistry? Do you know any neurobiology?
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