CH105: (Bio)Chemistry and Society

China - Fall 2007


INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Henry Jakubowski

TIME/PLACE: Tuesday, 3:00-6:30 pm, Thursday, 8:00 - 10:20 am.

LAB: Tuesdays after class.  Time announced in advance


SCIENTIFIC CONTENT:  In this course, you will develop a basic understanding of the

  1. roles of experimentation, induction, deduction, correlation, causation, and falsifiability, and creativity in the scientific process
  2. following chemical and biological (biochemical) concepts
    • elements, atoms, and molecules
    • bonding
    • intermolecular forces and solutions
    • chemical reactions
    • stoichiometry
    • organic functional groups
    • biochemical Structures
    • central dogma biology
    • innate and adaptive immunity
    • signal transduction
  3. risk analysis
  4. biochemistry of alcohol and psychotropic drug effects
  5. biochemistry of influenza virus infection and treatments
  6. (if time permits) biochemistry of obesity and diabetes   

NATURAL SCIENCE CORE CONTENT:  In this course, you will

  1. demonstrate the interactive relationship between society and science.

  2. develop my capacity for scientific literacy (reading scientific reviews for nonscientists written in science magazines/journals).

  3. develop my capacity for exercising responsible citizenship in a scientific and technological society.

  4. emphasize the fundamental role of observation and experimentation in science.

  5. show the role of abstract thinking (working with things that cannot be seen) in science.

  6. show the role of critical analysis (an appraisal based on careful evaluation of results and concepts/ideas) in science.

  7. illustrate the application of scientific concepts to everyday life and their usefulness in understanding common experiences.

This course should contribute to your critical thinking skills and build your scientific literacy.

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE:  Here is a link to a tentative schedule for the class.


I arranged lab with the help of Professor He in the Chemistry Department and Professor Xie in Biology.  Some labs will be in the Chemistry Dept and others in the Biological Sciences Building.  We are the guests and must show great respect and appreciation of their efforts.  Hence we have to be prompt, careful and courteous in lab.

Remember this is China so things might not work out as I've planned.  Please be patient as we work through the lab remembering the limitations of working in labs in a very different environment than at home.  


There are two sources of readings for this class:


We will be doing some group activity each day. Hence attendance each day is important. Most of the group work will result in identical grades for each member of the group. Group grades will often be assigned by grading work from one member of the group, chosen randomly. Nonattendance in class will result in lower grades, or, at my discretion, being asked to withdraw from the class.

Chinese students from SWU will join our class at some point during the semester.  Much depends on the arrangements that can be made with Professor He and Professor Xie, both of whom are very busy people.  My best guess is they they will join when we start our module on Ethanol and drug use.  It is my hope that our group discussions, especially dealing with societal issues, will provide a change an excellent opportunity to get a much better understanding of China, its culture and people.  Be kind, courteous, and respectful in discussion and try to encourage their participation in small and large groups.


Class reading materials:  These are available on the Chemistry and Society main course web page for the course and on Moodle.  To access Moodle from the CSB/SJU homepage, click the links to "Current Students", then "Web-Based Courses." In the large gold box, click the link to access Moodle.  You can access Moodle directly by going to

Login with your regular campus network ID and password.  On the list of available courses, click the title of the course you want to access.  

When you log into the Moodle page for the course (named Chemistry and Society - Jakubowski), you will find links for Readings and Quizzes.   The readings are listed in order of the following topics:  Science, Ethanol, Influenza, Obesity/Diabetes, Lab, and In Conclusion.  For the second class, log onto Moodle, and following the appropriate links, print Lab 1, The Blue Bottle.

The quizzes are listed after the readings.  The quizzes will be ungraded but will contribute to your class participation grade.  If you go to readings in the Chemistry and Society main course web page (such as on Bonding for example) you will be prompted at some point in the text to take a Moodle quiz.  For example, the following icon would appear in the text to prompt you to take a quiz on Salt Structure.

moodlelogoMoodle Quiz: Select Salt Structure 1


Go to Moodle, select the Quizzes icon, and select the appropriate quiz..

Web Interactive Molecular Modeling:  You will find many interactive molecular modeling links in the main course web page readings, which will help you understand the molecules that we will be studying.  These are highlighted in the reading materials with the following icons:

  angifdna.gif (35913 bytes)molecule name | Jmol


I will use the following evaluation methods for the class:



The 3 test and final exam during the semester may be a combination of multiple choice, essay, and may include group components. The times for the test will be announced in class. Tests will cover both content and process issues.


Quizzes will be held periodically to ensure that you are prepared for class and have read the assigned materials.  Homework may include writing a short summary paper and participation in web-based discussion forums.  In class group work may also be submitted.


Details on the final will be available closer to the exam date.


Four tests are scheduled for this class (three regular tests and one final exam). I will replace your lowest regular test score with the final exam score if the final exam score is higher than your lowest regular test score. In that case, your final will count twice, once as a regular exam and once as the final. This policy is designed to help you if you had a bad day on one exam and to give you motivation to study hard for the final exam.


Participation in the course is extremely important.  Evidence of participation includes responding to and initiating discussion in class, asking questions (in or out of class), thoughtfulness of responses, seeking help when you don't understand a concept, etc.  A high level of participation could raise your grade from an AB to an A, for example, if you are close to the cutoff for the higher grade.  Conversely, little participation might lead the to half-step reduction in your grade if you are close to a cutoff.


I will do my best to construct the course to meet the syllabus described above.  Remember, however, that this is China and much is beyond my control.  Expect changes in the syllabus as we go to accommodate the unexpected.