12.335 | Fall 2014 | Undergraduate, Graduate

Experimental Atmospheric Chemistry


Course Meeting Times

Lectures / Labs: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hour / session


5.111 Principles of Chemical Science or

5.112 Principles of Chemical Science or

3.091SC Introduction to Solid-State Chemistry

or permission of instructor

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the atmospheric chemistry involved in climate change, air pollution and biogeochemical cycles using a combination of hands-on laboratory, field studies, and simple computer models. Lectures will be accompanied by field trips to collect air samples for the analysis of gases, aerosols and clouds by the students. Students taking the graduate version complete different assignments.


Laboratory Reports 70
Presentations 20
General Participation 10

Laboratory Reports:
For the first lab report, please answer the questions directly in complete sentences, with attached graphs if necessary. The first lab report will be graded for (1) scientific content and (2) effectiveness of communication and returned approximately one week after it is handed in. You will then revise the lab report and resubmit it for partial additional credit. The following reports will progressively become more like a short research paper.

Each student will present 2 of the 3 labs. All students will give a presentation for the first lab section and then decide between either the second or the third. The presentations will be 10–15 minutes and discuss the background, importance, data used, analysis and results.

General Participation:
You will be expected to participate in and ask questions during class. This includes questions during the laboratory presentation. There will be feedback questionnaires based on each set of presentations, which will be handed in at the start of the next class.

Additional Grading Policies

Laboratory Reports:
Lab reports are due at the start of the class after the presentations are completed. This will allow you to incorporate comments from the presentations into your lab report. We caution that you should start the report well before the presentation day, if you wait until afterward as may not have sufficient time to finish. Comments / grades on lab reports are returned approximately one week later. Students will revise the first lab report based on the comments to earn back partial credit by the resubmission due date, which is 1 week after the lab reports are returned. Late lab reports are penalized by making the maximum possible grade be a declining fraction of full credit. Lab reports have a maximum of 75% credit if turned in a day late and 50% credit when turned in two days late. Lab reports turned in more than two days late will have a maximum grade of 25%. This policy is also in effect for the resubmitted reports after the resubmission due date. The report must be resubmitted for CI-M credit. Furthermore, if the first report is not resubmitted an additional 25% will be subtracted from the original grade (e. g. an original grade of 90% will instead become 65%).

Presentations and Participation:
Presentations will be submitted to the Teaching Assistants (TAs) via email before the start of the (first) presentation class. This will allow the TAs to have presentation on the course computer for that class. Absence will only be excused with a doctor’s note or other similar documentation (see below). In only this case students will be given the opportunity to make up the presentation in a future class. Presentations represent 20% of the final grade.

Students will show up for all presentations regardless of if they are presenting. During each presentation you will be expected to participate by asking questions of your peers. You will also return a feedback report on the presentations the next day of class. Participation in class and presentations represents 10% of the final grade.

Field Trips and Laboratory Work:
Students must make all field trips and show up for all laboratory experiments. If the TA can manage, a make-up field trip or laboratory appointment can be offered but this should not be expected.

Statement on Group Work:
You will be working in groups during laboratory and field experiments and are free to collaborate on the measurements and other group work that will form the basis of your individual presentations and reports. However, all the slides in your presentations and all the text and graphs in your reports should be your own work. Copying another person’s assignment text, data or figures will not be tolerated and will result in a lower grade. All work should be fully referenced. For a general discussion of academic integrity, please see “Academic Integrity at MIT”.

Special Circumstances:
The penalties described above can be forgiven under special circumstances (for example, personal reasons, health reasons, etc.) if the student provides documentation from Student Services, a doctor or another reputable source.

Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Activity Assignments