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Topic: Guidance for someone completely new to chemistry  (Read 8740 times)

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altair

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Guidance for someone completely new to chemistry
« on: December 11, 2005, 10:07:33 PM »
Ok, so I am 14, in highschool and I am completely new, but very interested in learning chemistry. I always though I was intelligent and then I look at what is spoken of here and I find myself wanting a dictionary. So heres my issue. I want to learn some chemistry that goes beyond the almost none that I know.

What I need to know is where should I start? I have no clue where to go, but I'd rather be able to learn without reading TOO many books, because I need to focus that kind of energy on school. I am not taking a science class this year, for multiple reasons.

So I have to go, all replies are appreciated.

-altair
« Last Edit: December 20, 2005, 05:29:07 AM by Mitch »

Offline Bakegaku

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Re:Completely new
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2005, 10:47:35 PM »
well it may help a lot to look around on the posts at this site.  The questions asked and, more importantly, the answers given.  There's also some articles and other resources at this site.  Also, if you search google or Wikipedia you can pretty much find anything you want.  

First just look at the different kinds of reactions and compounds, then look at how elements react and why (electron valencies), then things like reaction energies, equilibriums, electronegativity...   Once you get into it you'll find your way  ;)
« Last Edit: December 11, 2005, 10:48:46 PM by bakegaku »
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Offline Mitch

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Re:Completely new
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2005, 10:50:56 PM »
Purchase this book from your local store or through this link. It has everything you need to know to begin learning Chemistry http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0486656225/thechemicalfo-20/103-4864049-8946204?creative=327641&camp=14573&link_code=as1
Most Common Suggestions I Make on the Forums.
1. Start by writing a balanced chemical equation.
2. Don't confuse thermodynamic stability with chemical reactivity.
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nakada

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Re:Completely new
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2005, 04:50:38 AM »
Ok, so I am 14, in highschool and I am completely new, but very interested in learning chemistry. I always though I was intelligent and then I look at what is spoken of here and I find myself wanting a dictionary. So heres my issue. I want to learn some chemistry that goes beyond the almost none that I know.

What I need to know is where should I start? I have no clue where to go, but I'd rather be able to learn without reading TOO many books, because I need to focus that kind of energy on school. I am not taking a science class this year, for multiple reasons.

So I have to go, all replies are appreciated.

-altair

OK, so if i understand correctly, you are 14, and you should be in 7th grade. Well, as i reember we started learning chemistry in 7th grade too. If you know that you are more intelligent than your classmates, you shuold not worry about staying behind the others. In fact if you are hooked for this subject, than you must show it to your teacher, and to do that it would be wise to ask about everything that interests you. Soon you will find out that you know more than your teacher, but only if you study every day. People often think that chemistry is simple, but in fact covers the widest area of science (as does the math). Now, if you are from America, you are in trouble. I am from europe, and in our class (highschool) there was this kid from Canada. We were 16 yo, and he knew nothing from chemistry, and we were studied chemistry for 2 years by then. Do not go and buy advanced chemistry books, or chem books from collages, or something like that. The smartest thing to do is to build your knowlage as you learn it in school, my advice is to start from the simplest books that you can find. Then as you study more and more, you would probably start to hate chem, because, belive me it is not as simple as you may think. Don`t worry, that is normal. Now, there are a lot of books on the market, and the worst thing would be to go and buy something like Fundaments of chemistry, or basic, applied, physical chem book. That are books mostly for quick refference, and you don`t need that. What you need is some book for beginers (for kids), with lots of simple experiments that you can do at home.
Enjoy!

Offline P

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Re:Completely new
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2005, 12:22:50 PM »
Get a copy of the periodic table.    Look at why Mendelev organised the elements into their groups and colombs.  Look at how many electrons each atom has and see why they form compounds to get full electron shells.   look at the difference between ionic and covailent bonds...
I recon these are the most important starting blocks.  Then go for electronegativities and see why some elements replace others in chemical reactions.  

I would say that you should definately take science at school if you get the chance. They teach you things in stages and help you with things you don't understand.

Best of luck  -  Enjoy.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2005, 12:23:51 PM by P »
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savoy7

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Re:Completely new
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2005, 02:12:11 AM »
I have a nephew who wanted to learn how to play guitar.  His parents, wanting to please him, bought him a guitar and lessons.  The lessons were drills of scales and notes.  I play guitar and when he comes over to my house, I ask to play guitar with him.  He can't.  What he wanted to be able to do was play guitar like the performers on the songs he liked.  When I learned to play, I learned a couple of chords and jammed to the songs I loved.  Over time, I learned theory and the scales.  I eventually learned to create riffs and play music with others.  He never got to the point of playing songs, because he was so bogged down with the scales.

How does this relate to you?  You have been alive for 14 yrs on this planet.  You are, in a sense, an expert on your life.  You've been able to observe science and chemistry for years.  You know science and chemistry.  Sure, you may not know the words or have the logic well thought out, but you know it.  Some experts in the education realm believe that one needs to "activate" their mind by relating what they know with what they don't know.  Many of the above suggestions are fine choices, but I offer you a different view.  Read a book that was featured on this site.  That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles: 62 All-New Commentaries on the Fascinating Chemistry of Everyday Life by Dr. Joe Schwarcz.  It relates real world senarios to the chemistry behind it.  After you read it, you may be able to better understand chemistry when you take the course or read a more technical book.  

Here's the amazon link.

It is very affordable used - less than $10 USD.


Borek: broken link edited.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2005, 03:02:16 AM by Borek »

kkrizka

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Re:Guidance for someone completely new to chemistry
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2006, 08:55:52 PM »
I'm starting to learn chemistry now too in more detail. One suggestion that I have is to get a chem kit. I have the C2000, which contains the basics. I really recomend it. it also comes with booklet with some basic experiments, so do them. If you find any interesting, try to research it on a bigger scale on the internet and try your own modifications of it.

Try to do experiments on anything that you find interesting. Books are a great source of ideas. When you get an idea, do some searching (I recommend wikipedia) on how to do it and so on. And when you do something, try to hink why it happened.

But first, try to get some basic understading in chemistry. I'm not sure about a book to suggest, but I really like my school textbook. It's suppositedly what they use at the university:
http://prenhall.com/brown/
So it might be a bit too advanced for you, the book posted by Mitch might be better.

Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re:Guidance for someone completely new to chemistry
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2006, 09:51:10 PM »
A Dictionary of Chemistry (Oxford Paperback Reference)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0192801015/qid=1138848421/sr=2-2/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_2/103-9567564-5855038?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

check the link above. it is my favourite chemistry dictionary and it is NOT a big thick book - pretty mobile to carry around.
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