Adam R. Johnson, Harvey Mudd College's blog

27 Feb 2018

In early February I was teaching vibrational motion in water using vibrational mode analysis and group theory. I remember learning about vibrational modes as an undergraduate and I remember distinctly feeling uneasy about it. Why can’t water just vibrate one of the two OH bonds at a time? What is it that forces the linear combination of the two OH stretches into the symmetric and antisymmetric stretches?

20 Jun 2017

Appendix 9 - Scientific Writing Tips from Professor Johnson

Submitted by Adam R. Johnson, Harvey Mudd College

My inorganic chemistry lab manual has all sorts of policies, procedures, experimental instructions, and examples of what to do in the lab and for the writeups. My manual is quite specific in how I want lab reports to appear, and what I want in them. For example, I want a reaction scheme, a reagent table, an evaluation of possible characterization methods (with limited time, which methods are the best to do first?), a detailed experimental section and a complete, open-ended, discussion that analyzes the data from their synthetic reaction.

14 Apr 2017

Symmetry Challenge -- 2017 recap!

Submitted by Adam R. Johnson, Harvey Mudd College

The 2017 Symmetry challenge has come and gone and I wanted to give a big thank you to all the participants. In the end there were 12 intrepid scholars who contributed their symmetrized objects to the challenge, from three schools. Sadly, I have to report that no one from my class submitted the challenge. Perhaps the stakes were too low... er... should I say the "snakes" were too low?

11 Jan 2017

Symmetry Challenge -- 2017!

Submitted by Adam R. Johnson, Harvey Mudd College

Well, it's time to dust off the symmetry challenge. First offered in 2009, we've made some changes to the site and our social media presence (I'm looking at you Flo, with your Facebook, and Twitter addiction) that make it likely that we will have more than just 2 schools submitting. If you're looking for a fun competition to pit your students against students across the world, here it is. Since symmetry is usually an early component of an inorganic course, I'm making the deadline March 3rd.

28 Sep 2015

Sn/Al Anniversary†

Submitted by Adam R. Johnson, Harvey Mudd College

On September 28, 2005, the following email was sent to seven inorganic chemists at seven schools that were part of an Andrew W. Mellon Faculty Career Enhancement Initiative. The original group, the Inorganic Chemistry Curricular Initiative, consisted of five inorganic chemists (including three current members of the Leadership Council) from the cluster, and one “external” member who brought much-needed expertise in the realm of solid state chemistry.


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