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This course introduces students to the methods used to assess the risks posed by organic chemicals to human, animal, and ecosystem health. Our goal is to develop a quantitative understanding for how specific features of organic molecular structure directly dictate a given molecule’s environmental fate. We will begin by using thermodynamic principles to estimate the salient physiochemical properties of molecules (e.g., vapor pressure, solubility, charging behavior, etc.) that impact the distribution, or partitioning, of organic chemicals between air, water, soils, and biota. Then, using quantitative structure activity relationships, we will predict the degradation kinetics resulting from natural nucleophilic, photochemical, and biological processes that determine chemical lifetime in the environment.
Format: lecture; Lecture/discussion; lecture, three hours per week and discussion, 75 minutes per week.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
weekly problem sets, two midterm exams, a final exam, participation in discussion, an independent research proposal
CHEM 251 and either CHEM 155 or CHEM 256. ENVI 102 is strongly recommended.
junior and senior Chemistry and Environmental Studies majors with a demonstrated interest in environmental chemistry
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENVI Natural World Electives