This lecture begins a series describing the development of organic chemistry in chronological order, beginning with the father of modern chemistry, Lavoisier. The focus is to understand the logic of the development of modern theory, technique and nomenclature so as to use them more effectively. Chemistry begins before Lavoisier's "Chemical Revolution," with the practice of ancient technology and alchemy, and with discoveries like those of Scheele, the Swedish apothecary who discovered oxygen and prepared the first pure samples of organic acids. Lavoisier's Traité Élémentaire de Chimie launched modern chemistry with its focus on facts, ideas, and words. Lavoisier weighed gases and measured heat with a calorimeter, as well as clarifying language and chemical thinking. His key concepts were conservation of mass for the elements and oxidation, a process in which reaction with oxygen could make a "radical" or "base" into an acid.
This is the first semester in a two-semester introductory course focused on current theories of structure and mechanism in organic chemistry, their historical development, and their basis in experimental observation. The course is open to freshmen with excellent preparation in chemistry and physics, and it aims to develop both taste for original science and intellectual skills necessary for creative research.
As one of the world's great universities, Yale traces its roots back to the early 1640s when colonial clergyman sought to establish a school in order to continue the tradition of European education within the Americas. Yale has now grown to educate over 11,000 students from over 100 countries on a 310-acre campus in New Haven, Connecticut. Within the school's 260 buildings are over 2,000 undergraduate programs in 65 departments taught by a distinguished faculty. As Academic Earth's first partner school, Yale has been a leader within the space of OpenCourseWare by consistently delivering on its esteemed mission to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn.