Chapter 1

Chemistry is an experimental science where measurements are made. Every formula, theory, law, and observation shown in the pages of our textbook has been verified many times over in the laboratory. Chemists are interested in observing and interpreting experimental measurements. The interpretation of chemical data has led to many technological advances and plays a key role in our everyday lives. This course is designed to solidify your foundation in general chemistry and at the same time equip you with non-routine critical thinking skills, which will allow you to succeed in your chosen career. And hopefully, if I am doing my job, I can make chemistry interesting and give you a different perspective of the subject.

We define chemistry as the study of the properties and behavior of matter. Matter is anything that has a mass and takes up space. So there are very few limitations in terms of the content we can cover in General Chemistry.

1.1 The Study of Chemistry

Chemists are interested in the reactions and properties of matter and measure the changes from one state of matter to another. By analyzing the properties of matter, a chemist can design, modify, and improve the way a material function. We need a way to classify matter and must introduce terms that will allow you to communicate with a chemist.

1.3 Properties of Matter

In order for the properties of matter to take on meaning, a chemist must be able to quantify their measurements and communicate their results to other scientists. In 1960 a system was developed for the preferred metric units for use in science called SI Units. We will use these units throughout the course.

1.4 Units of Measurement

Now that we have emphasized the units we will be using, we need to come up with a system that will indicate to us, and more importantly, someone else who is reading our data, just how good our measurement is. Significant Figures tell us how good our data is.

1.5 Significant Figures

Once the rules for significant figures have been established for individual numbers, we then need to determine a set of rules allowing us to determine significant figures in calculations. The following video shows the significant figure rules for problems involving addition/subtraction and multiplication/division.

1.5 Significant Figures in Calculations

There are many instances in which a unit that we are given is not a unit that we want to use. Chemists use Dimensional Analysis to convert a given unit to another unit by using Conversion Factors.

1.6 Dimensional Analysis

One Response to Chapter 1

  1. Magnolia Ip says:

    Dr. Fus,

    I really like that you post the videos online. It helps a lot and I really feel think it will help me succeed in your course. Thanks so much for posting them!

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