CH400 Special Topics in Chemistry:

for FA 2012

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CH 400 Special Topics - History of Chemistry: A Materials Perspective


FA 2012 HO


Claycomb, Gregory D.


Assistant Professor


Ph.D. Kansas State University

Office Location

SC 305

Office Hours

MW 1:00 - 2:00; TR 10:00 - noon

Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

August 20th - December 14th

Class Days


Class Time

8:45 - 10:00 AM

Credit Hours


Transforming Matter: A History of Chemistry from Alchemy to the Buckyball by Trevor H. Levere; John Hopkins University Press, 2001.

Additional Resources:
Additional resources will be available by loan from the instructor.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Course Description:
CH400 Special Topics in Chemistry: A seminar devoted to selected topics in modern chemistry of interest to students requiring more depth in the field. The course may involve laboratory work. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Variable credits: 1-4 hours.

The focus of this course will be on the discovery, development, and application of materials throughout human history.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Discuss and examine a topic that is not normally offered as a formal class in chemistry.
  2. Demonstrate a degree of competency via readings, discussions, and/or experimentation in the area of chemistry in which the course is offered.
  3. Research the appropriate journals to write professionally in the area.
  4. Master the instrumentation and laboratory skills required for the subject level.

Core Assessment:
Papers, homework, reports, presentations, proficiency of lab work

Class Assessment:
There will be four papers, presentations, take-home exams, as well as a comprehensive final exam.

Each paper and presentation must be posted online at and must be available for the take-home exams.  Each student must work individually on the exams (please follow the honor system otherwise the take-home format will be revoked).

Papers           (4) 50 pts     200 pts
Presentations (4) 50 pts     200 pts
Exams            (4) 100 pts   400 pts
Final Exam     (1) 200 pt    200 pts
                                           1000 pts

Late Submission of Course Materials:
The instructor will not accept late assignments.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
No cell phones, especially during student presentations.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
The class will be divided into four eras:  100,000 BC - 300 BC, 300 BC - 1500 AD, 1500 AD - 1900 AD, 1900 AD - present.  There will be four weeks of study within each era: two weeks led by the instructor followed by two weeks of student presentations.  The presentations will be 20 minutes in length and must be given using PowerPoint.  There will be a 10 minute Q/A and discussion period following each presentation.  The content of the presentation will be based upon a 4-6 page paper which will contain the following elements: 
Page-1 should focus on the geologic/synthetic origins of an element, compound, molecule, or material that was particularly relevant during each era (ie: coal)
Pages 2 and 3 should focus on mankind's discovery and use of the material with an emphasis toward different uses and an increased understanding of how to use the material for the betterment of society (ie: coal used for heating)
Pages 4 and beyond should focus on chemical considerations as to what processes/transformations/transmutations were thought to be occurring and an emphasis should be placed on the actual modern chemical reaction of your selected material.  (ie: combustion of coal)
The paper must be written in NewTimesRoman 12 font, double spaced, with one inch margins using MS Word.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:8/17/2012 4:47:23 PM