Submitted by Maggie Geselbracht / Reed College on Mon, 06/09/2008 - 19:11
My Notes
This short communication in 2001 established the structure of a dinuclear cobalt complex based on a single crystal X-ray diffraction study of crystals taken from the Werner collection. The X-ray structure clarified the nature of the bridging ligands including a bridging superoxo group. As such, it offers a nice entry point into the nomenclature of bridging ligands, a discussion of O2 related ligands such as peroxide and superoxide, and the evolution of characterization techniques from Werner's time to the present.
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Werner from Grave Discussion Questions 28.5 KB
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Implementation Notes
I first used this as a problem set question rather than an in-class activity. I spent so much time talking to groups of students during office hours to clarify the concepts that I think it would have worked much better as an in-class discussion.  If you have VIPEr Faculty Status, you will find solutions to these questions under the Problem Set activites (follow the link to related activities above).
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Anne Bentley / Lewis & Clark College

For the past three years, I've been teaching inorganic chemistry using a homework method I learned from a pchem colleague.  I assign one semi-hefty homework problem due at the beginning of each lecture.  If students don't get full credit on the first try, they can re-submit the problem a week later.  Most students have liked this approach because it keeps them working steadily.  I also give non-graded problems for each topic we cover.

I adapted this literature discussion into a daily homework problem - see attached.  One small effect of using this problem is that we can have a short conversation in class about what constitutes authorship on a scientific paper and why Werner was included as an author on the 2001 paper.

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 16:58 Permalink
Anne Bentley / Lewis & Clark College

PS  I see that 2013 is the 100th anniversary of Werner's Nobel Prize in chemistry!  Maybe another inorganic chemist will win the prize this fall...

Tue, 01/15/2013 - 16:59 Permalink
Anne Bentley / Lewis & Clark College

For the past couple of years, I've used this as an in-class problem instead of a homework problem.  This year I switched back to using it as a homework problem.  I agree with Maggie's assessment that it works better as an in-class problem.  It's very hard for the students to correctly translate the formula into a structure and generally understand the concepts on their own.

I thought I was being all cool this year by giving the students the .cif from the actual paper and asking them to use Mercury (free software) to measure the O-O and Co-N bond lengths and then figure out the puzzle.  It was only when I started grading the problems that I realized the error in this approach - the crystal structure shows a triply-bridged complex, so it takes the whole mystery out of the problem.  Oops.

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 19:47 Permalink
Anne Bentley / Lewis & Clark College

I used this again this year, now back to an in-class problem.  It was good to check in with everyone as they worked through the sections. 

Tue, 04/05/2016 - 15:16 Permalink