This lecture asks whether it is possible to confirm the reality of bonds by seeing or feeling them. It first describes the work of "clairvoyant" charlatans from the beginning of the twentieth century, who claimed to "see" details of atomic and molecular structure, in order to discuss proper bases for scientific belief. It then shows that the molecular scale is not inconceivably small, and that Newton and Franklin performed simple experiments that measure such small distances. In the last 25 years various realizations of Scanning Probe Microscopy have enabled chemists to "feel" individual molecules and atoms, but not bonds.
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.