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Karen McFarlane Holman, Willamette University
Karen McFarlane Holman, Willamette University's picture
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Joined: 03/29/2008 - 12:51am

Symmetry or kinetics?

I teach a one-semester upper-division course where, as we all know, tough decisions need to be made.  I have always taught symmetry, but it has become apparent that our students enter their senior year weak in kinetics, so I am considering swapping out symmetry/group theory for a more advanced treatment of kinetics and mechanisms.  This pains me, because these two topics are are two of my favories.  Then again, so is everything else...

Thoughts?

Karen

Lori Watson, Earlham College
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Joined: 11/17/2007 - 10:58am

Karen--I feel your pain!  So many great topics; so little time!  For my inorg class (also a one-semester upper division) bonding (and the reactivity consequences of it) is the big focus, so I do much more with symmetry than kinetics.  But, I also teach our Thermodynamics and Kinetics course (1st sem pchem) and so much of the inorg kinetics I want to teach I put there.  The nice thing about kinetics and mechanisms is that you can sneak in some "why does this react this way" stuff and maybe even talk generally about MO symmetries and such without having the students learn to derive them all with group theory.

 

Lori

James G. Goll, Edgewood College
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Joined: 08/04/2008 - 10:59am

If I had to choose between kinetics and mechanisms and symmetry, I would go with kinetics and mechanisms. I base that on what our graduates choose for careers. More tend to go into fields where understanding reactions is more important than theory and spectroscopy.