4 Jan 2018

Inorganic Chemistry

Submitted by Lori Watson, Earlham College
Specific Course Information
Course Area and Number: 
Chem 361
Earlham College
Richmond IN, USA
Inorganic Chemistry, 5th ed. by Shriver and Atkins, et. al.
Course Meetings and Time
Number of meetings per week: 
3 meetings / week
Time per meeting (minutes): 
50 min / meeting
Number of weeks: 
15 weeks
Lab Associated: 
Yes, required, concurrently
Average Class Size: 
15 to 25
Typical Student Population: 
This is a course taken by a mixture of biochemistry and chemistry majors, typically in their junior or senior years. Completion of the organic sequence and our sophomore analytical/instrumental course with a grade of "C" or higher is required. Completion of Thermodynamics and Kinetics (Physical Chemistry I) is recommended.

Inorganic chemists study the entire periodic table (even carbon—as long as it’s bound to a metal!) and are interested in the structure and reactivity of a wide variety of complexes.  We will spend the first third of the course learning some “tools” and then will apply them to a variety of current topics in inorganic chemistry (bioinorganic chemistry, solid state materials, catalysis, nuclear chemistry, and more!).

Learning Goals: 
  • Students will be able to articulate principles of atomic structure, spectra and orbitals, ionization energy, electron affinity, shielding and effective nuclear charge.
  • Students will be able to discuss approaches to modeling bonding interactions of covalent molecular substances including geometries (symmetry point groups), valence bond theory (hybridization, σ, π, δ bonds), molecular orbital theory (homo and hetero-nuclear diatomics, multi-centered MO, electron-deficient molecules, π -donor and acceptor ligands).
  • Students will be able to explain elements of transition metal and coordination chemistry and their effects on bonding, reactivity, and spectroscopy. Topics covered will include ligands, coordination number, stereochemistry, bonding motifs, nomenclature; ligand field and molecular orbital theories, Jahn-Teller effects, magnetic properties, electronic spectroscopy (term symbols and spectrochemical series), thermodynamic aspects (formation constants, hydration enthalpies, chelate effect), kinetic aspects (ligand substitution, electron transfer, fluxional behavior), lanthanides and actinides.
  • Students will be able to compare and contrast the bonding and reactivity of organometallic complexes with traditional coordination chemistry and organic compounds. Topics will include metal carbonyls, hydrocarbon and carbocyclic ligands, 18-electron rule (saturation and unsaturation), synthesis and properties, patterns of reactivity (substitution, oxidative-addition and reductive-elimination, insertion and de-insertion, nucleophilic attack on ligands, isomerization, stereochemical nonrigidity).
  • Students will understand the basic structure of solid state materials including close packing in metals and metal compounds, metallic bonding, band theory, magnetic properties, conductivity, semiconductors, insulators, and defects.
  • Students will use their knowledge of inorganic chemistry in two applied fields, catalysis and bioinorganic chemistry, applying principles of bonding and reactivity in inorganic chemistry to molecules and processes important in these applications.


How the course is taught: 
There is a mixture of lecture and small-group active learning
Grading Scheme: 
3 Exams: 300 points Final: 150 points Homework: 100 points (top 10 of 12 10-point problem sets) Descriptive Chemistry Project: 30 points Laboratory: 120 points
Creative Commons License: 
Creative Commons Licence
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Do you know of any listing of texts for advanced inorganic chemistry?

I'm not sure if this will help you, but if you look under the "Content" tab on the VIPEr site and scroll down to Textbook, it will take you to a page where you can select an "Upper Division" button to sort for more advanced textbooks. It is definitely not a comprehensive list.

Thank you, Joanne. I had gone through that, but only saw about two or three that I think will work for my semester-long inorganic course next spring. Right now I'm interested in Housecroft & Sharpe, but I'm not sure if the Fourth Edition is in print; I am in communication with the publisher (Pearson).