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Offline Baseball_Fan

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Question about a career in Chemisty?
« on: March 16, 2006, 08:46:33 PM »
Hi. I'm 30 years old and have been working since highschool, and I have no college credits. Recently, I have been thinking about going to school to get a degree.

Can someone tell me a little about what a Chemistry major is like? How much math is needed for chemistry? I was looking at university catalogs, and they all require lots of math. Is this a problem for people who are not savants?

Also, are there any on-line schools that have good first year classes? I don't have a lot of money, and I would continue to work. I would also feel odd in a classroom with so many younger people. Is it possible to study at home, and take a test later?

Offline mike

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Re:Question about a career in Chemisty?
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2006, 09:48:55 PM »
30 years old!! that's not old  :)

Which country are you in? This will affect what information you need, I am from Australia!

Just remember: "It is never too late to be what you could have been."

There are plenty of "old" people studying here in Australia and plenty of grants, social security etc for students and mature age students (although alot of students do work part time as well).

Why not take math at the same time as chem, that way you have it covered. I would suggest you might need to know some basic algebra, some very basic statistics, some graphing math.

There are plenty of on-line courses.
There is no science without fancy, and no art without facts.

Offline Baseball_Fan

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Re:Question about a career in Chemisty?
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2006, 10:17:39 PM »
Hi Mike.

Thanks for responding. I live in the USA. I've been watching a series on the internet called The World of Chemistry (http://www.learner.org/resources/series61.html). The series does not use very much math, highschool algebra at most. But what I see at university websites shows that calculus is taken the first year. Even if I started studying math now, I would not be able to take calculus for a year. My math is not very strong.

Do you know of any good on-line classes that I can use for credit? If I could finish the first year of chemistry, I would gain confidence to take more classes.

Thanks.


Offline mike

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Re:Question about a career in Chemisty?
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2006, 10:45:42 PM »
Cool thanks for the link I haven't seen that one before, I will check it out in more detail when I have some time.

Which university websites have the info about needing calculus? I think I did calculus at high school but I haven't done calculus for about ten years now and I managaed to become a chemist ;) I am not sure why you would need calculus for most chemistry ???

As for on-line classes I am not sure how it works from the USA, you would probably have to find one over there. Many universities offer some online courses so maybe check them out. You can look at the websites for the Australian Unis too to compare if you want. Here is the website for tertiary admissions: http://www.satac.edu.au/ and here is the website for University of Sydney: http://www.usyd.edu.au/ just to get started.
There is no science without fancy, and no art without facts.

Proileri

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Re:Question about a career in Chemisty?
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2006, 02:04:32 PM »
Can someone tell me a little about what a Chemistry major is like? How much math is needed for chemistry? I was looking at university catalogs, and they all require lots of math.

I guess it depends what you want to do with your degree, but I can assure you there is not much of higher level maths involved, at least when it comes to basic BSc level degree in Chemistry. I think my degree in Laboratory Sciences has about 3-5% worth of real math courses, including the statistics courses.

There is plenty of logical and mathematical thinking involved, but most of this is rather simple high school physics -level calculations about concentrations or masses per volume and such, where it is more important to understand which variable comes from which principle.  

Oh, and while it might feel odd to be hanging around with younger students (I know it is, I recently changed my major into Chem Dept and am good 5 years older than the youngest students in the 1st year courses I participate in) I think you should be able to fit in. I've seen guys 20 years older than me studying with the kids fresh outta high school and doing well - if it bothers you, just remember shave your face on regular basis ;)    

Offline Yggdrasil

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Re:Question about a career in Chemisty?
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2006, 05:53:18 PM »
For chemistry majors, math is really needed only for understanding physical chemistry.  However, if you are going for a degree in chemistry, you will need to take physical chemistry courses, and therefore will need the math for those classes.  However, for the physical chemistry courses that a regular chem major would take, all you really need to understand are differentials and how to perform some basic integrations (i.e. up to lower-division multi-variable calculus).  However, if you take more advanced physical chemistry courses you'll need to understand more complex topics from linear algebra, group theory, and differential equations.

Offline Donaldson Tan

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Re:Question about a career in Chemisty?
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2006, 07:49:31 PM »
this is a useful link for you to familiarise with the various chemistry apparatus with lab.
http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Chemistry/5-301January--IAP-2004/StudyMaterials/index.htm

when i just started lab, i struggled how to use the rotary evaporator because nobody taught me. even the demonstrator expect that I should know how to operate it on my own, despite the fact I am a chemical engineering student enrolled in the chemistry department.
"Say you're in a [chemical] plant and there's a snake on the floor. What are you going to do? Call a consultant? Get a meeting together to talk about which color is the snake? Employees should do one thing: walk over there and you step on the friggin� snake." - Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of Glaxosmithkline, June 2006

Offline billnotgatez

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Re:Question about a career in Chemisty?
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2006, 02:36:58 AM »
It would be interesting to see how they conduct chemistry lab courses online.

Especially in Texas

Offline green-goblin

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Re:Question about a career in Chemisty?
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2006, 06:53:41 PM »
I don't think that you will find an online chemistry degree, about a quarter or more of the marks in most chemistry courses are obtained from lab work.

Your not being great at maths shouldn't be a problem, in my first year there was a maths module which showed everyone how to do basic calculus etc (I bought a calculus for dummies book which was really good, didn't let anyone see it though ;D).
You don't really use calculus; its just handy for certain parts such as rate laws and some quantum equations so that you have a jest of how they are derived.

Good luck with it. :thumbsupup:

Offline mike

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Re:Question about a career in Chemisty?
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2006, 07:02:38 PM »
I think you will find that only the theory is delivered online or through distance education. Presumably there are some all theory courses and if there are some that require lab work you may have to go there to do this component.
There is no science without fancy, and no art without facts.

Offline billnotgatez

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Re:Question about a career in Chemisty?
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2006, 05:43:37 AM »
Would not  one of the differences between a chemist and a chemical technician be the amount of calculus taken during training?

Offline deadally

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Re:Question about a career in Chemisty?
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2006, 07:54:09 PM »
I believe chemical technicians do not NEED a degree in chemistry.  My girlfriend's mother is such a technician, and she just follows protocols she was trained to, and she dropped out of high school.

Correct me if I'm wrong

Offline mike

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Re:Question about a career in Chemisty?
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2006, 07:59:02 PM »
Here they need a certificate or diploma usually. Depends how "technical" the work is.
There is no science without fancy, and no art without facts.

Offline billnotgatez

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Re:Question about a career in Chemisty?
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2006, 08:30:16 PM »
My point is that the Chemical Technician diploma and coursework do not require the same courses as a Chemist. It may be that only 2 years of training is required for the former. A chemical technician training is good and they perform an important function. One might do this as a stepping stone to other levels of chemistry.


Offline mike

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Re:Question about a career in Chemisty?
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2006, 08:42:40 PM »
Good idea, if you are not sure you want to spend four years studying chemistry you could become a technician first.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2006, 08:58:26 PM by mike »
There is no science without fancy, and no art without facts.

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