While informally chatting with friends in our math department, I realized that I could put together a presentation about how chemists use group theory. I was invited to give the presentation as part of our math department's weekly colloquium series. The talk was to be one hour in length, and my math colleague described their typical format as:
After attending and participating in the talk, it was my goal that the math majors be able to:
- describe how symmetry operations can be used as a quantitative way to classify objects into point groups
- apply matrix multiplication to symmetry operations
- understand that mathematical concepts can be applied more broadly to chemistry, specifically in the areas of IR spectroscopy and molecular bonding theories
I gave the presentation as part of the math department's weekly colloquium series in mid-February. I scheduled it to arrive near the end of my group theory unit in my spring inorganic course. The audience was diverse - approximately 5-8 math majors, 4-5 math professors, one physics professor, one physics major, and about five chemistry majors. Three of the students from my inorganic course came, as I told them it would be a good review before our first midterm exam.
I have uploaded the "stretching videos" I obtained from Spartan separately from the powerpoint file due to restrictions on file size. If you plan to use the powerpoint, you'll need to insert the stretching videos individually. I have included some notes at the bottom of each powerpoint slide to describe any models or websites that I used during the talk. The slides may seem very spare, as I tried to keep them simple and do most of the explaining myself. The talk was much more of a tutorial than a formal presentation.