Chemicals in the Community

This course looks at themes that delineate chemistry as a human activity.

Humans became Chemists the moment they mastered their first chemical reaction: creating and controlling fire. Since then, the science of chemicals and the changes it can undergo have enabled the advance of humankind through the ages. The science of chemicals continues to embrace everything in the world around us and power our lives.

This course demonstrates the way science and technology of materials move out of the laboratory and intersect with society using examples gleaned from everyday real-life experiences such as medicines, electronic devices, cosmetics, dyes, cooking/​baking, and water and air pollution. The goal is to impart an appreciation for various scientific and technical features of everyday life. It also looks at the way our ability to manipulate
materials has also brought us to a juncture when we have irreversibly altered the planet we live on.

The aim of the course is to show students the same concepts of chemistry that they encounter in high school applied in the real world and outside the textbook. Through experimentation inside the laboratory and in the field, it aims to develop an appreciation for how chemical structure and properties relate to properties of substances and the way we use them or the effect they have on the planet.