Thursday, November 4, 2010

An Interim Course to Think About!

Chem 252: Organometallic Chemistry

Instructor: Gary Miessler

Counts toward Chemistry major; satisfies WRI credit

This course introduces an area of chemistry that bridges the organic and inorganic realms; it can be taken by any student who has completed one semester of organic (Chem 247 is the only prerequisite). In many ways, Chem 252 uses organic chemistry as its foundation. For example, we will consider how benzene and other molecules with cyclic π systems can combine with transition metals to form “sandwich” compounds. We will see that, although there are similarities between organometallic and classical organic molecules, there are some dramatic differences in structure, reactions, and chemical bonding—where we will use an “18-electron rule” for electron counting. In addition, because Chem 252 counts toward the college’s WRI requirement, members of the class will make use of the recent literature to write three short papers and to present the contents of these papers to the class. Examples of topics of current interest that could form the basis for such papers include medical applications of organometallic molecules, recent developments in homogeneous catalysts, and complexes of fullerenes and other “nano” forms of carbon. In addition, a short project will be to use molecular modeling software to calculate and display the molecular orbitals of classic organometallic molecules such as ferrocene and Cr(CO)6.

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