3 pages long, single-spaced, font 12, Times New Roman.
A fourth page should list the references cited in the essay. I prefer you send a WORD document.
Each essay will focus on material developed in the presentation of one module of the course.
Each essay must be submitted before the Tuesday following the completion of each module.
Your first essay is due April 14.
Grammar, spelling and attribution (explicit reference to a literature source, including
journal title, volume #, complete pagination, and contributing authors), are all considered
in the evaluation because the quality of your writing will affect how convincingly you present
the material and because effective writing is expected in the “real world”.
Each three-page essay should devote about 1/3 to the underlying chemistry (as developed
in the lectures and suggested readings), ( about) 1/3 to present applications, and (about) 1/3 to
suggest how the situation may change in the future, adding any personal views or insights
As noted in the “mechanics” of the course, the five essays replace HW assignments, quizzes, a midterm
exam and the final. Grades on your five “personalized” essays form the basis for your final grad in the
What am I looking for? I am giving you the opportunity to do research on a topic of your choosing.
You will need to track down relevant sources to support your discussion of the essential Chemistry.
The first 1/3, should focus on what is already known and been reported/published.
The second 1/3 should focus on present applications. What is the atom/molecule/process being used
for today. Put simply, what are the business/market implications? By any measure, the chemical
industry is the largest World-wide. Almost every product you use in everyday life or consume at
breakfast/lunch/dinner is a product produced by the chemical industry. Materials to construct buildings
and bridges, fabricate plastics and drugs, airplanes and space ships , … and now ventilators, are produced
industrially from “chemicals” found in Nature. And, of course, the fuels used in cars and to heat
your home all derive from chemical substances processed in refineries. It is this “relevance” that I
ask you to discuss.
The third section should then focus on what might be the future for the atom/molecule/process
you choose to discuss. This section is usually the one that separates “the women from the girls.” This
is because you will have to do some “digging,” checking the business section of the Wall Street
Journal, the New York Times, Bloomberg, …. for educated projections.
What it comes down to is that the time you would have spent on HW assignments, quizzes,
a midterm and a final is now channeled into a “research paper,” each on a topic of your choice,
something in the Lectures in each module that you found interesting.
Now, a word or two about the two example essays attached. I have purposely chosen two essays
centered on topics covered in the first four lectures of the course, written by former students. The
text of each is good, but two things were missed or omitted that I believe are relevant.
First, the metals they focused on have crystal structures, and these could have been included.
Second, when I ask for reference, I do NOT mean citing a Wikipedia site. Rather, if you go to
a Wikipedia site and find a point you wish to discuss in your essay, the Wikipedia site will give you
the literature reference, which is what you should track down, read and cite.
problems for previous paper:
1. Your essay contains passages that were (apparently) transferred directly from
primary sources. Citing a reference on which the material is based is not sufficient.
After identifying a primary source, you should make the effort to express the points
made in your own words.
2. In suggesting that you write an essay on any element, molecule or process
(chemical reaction) discussed in the four Lectures, I did not mean that you
should write a comprehensive review article on an entire field. Rather, I want
you to focus on a specific example of an element, molecule or process
(chemical reaction) that interests you.
3. In choosing a particular atom or molecule, a graphic showing the atomic/molecular structure
and crystal structure should be displayed in your essay.
In choosing to discuss a particular process (class of chemical reactions) the relevant
chemical equations for your chosen topic should be displayed.
1. A few sentences on the range of applications is appropriate. But once done, you should
focus on one or more specific applications .
2. Concrete estimates of “usage” can be obtained from any number of sources and should be
documented by financial data and, if available, graphical data.
1. Once you have chosen a particular element, molecule or chemical process, tracking down
the website of the chemical company and/or industrial firm that uses your element, molecule
or process will (almost always) forecast it future use.
2. It may well be that your choice of topic is one that is of particular interest to you. I encourage
you to present personal reflections on the topic.
1. Your essay should be three pages in length, with a fourth page listing primary sources.
On any given subject, volumes can be written. The intent here is to condense the source
material you read into the absolute essentials. Think of this as constructing for each
section a one-page CV, keeping in mind that employers only pay attention to the first
page of a CV.
2. Send your essay as a WORD document, Times New Roman, Font 12, single spaced.
Your first essay was on Metals, Metalloids and Non-Metals. I have reviewed this essay.
With respect to the points I stressed when I sent you your grade on Essay #1, you addressed
a number of these. Continued emphasis on all the points I raised will be helpful in improving
your next essay.