Principles of Chemical Science

OCW Scholar

Photograph of Professor Drennan and abstract drawings of chemical formulas and symbols.

The WHO, the WHAT, and the WHY of chemistry. (Adapted from a figure by Mary O'Reilly. O'Reilly Science Art, LLC. Photograph by James Kegley.)




Cite This Course

OCW Scholar courses are designed specifically for OCW's single largest audience: independent learners. These courses are substantially more complete than typical OCW courses, and include new custom-created content as well as materials repurposed from previously published courses. Click here for a complete list of OCW Scholar courses.

Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the chemistry of biological, inorganic, and organic molecules. The emphasis is on basic principles of atomic and molecular electronic structure, thermodynamics, acid-base and redox equilibria, chemical kinetics, and catalysis. One year of high school chemistry is the expected background for this freshman-level course.

The aims include developing a unified and intuitive view of how electronic structure controls the three-dimensional shape of molecules, the physical and chemical properties of molecules in gases, liquids and solids, and ultimately the assembly of macromolecules as in polymers and DNA. Relationships between chemistry and other fundamental sciences such as biology and physics are emphasized, as are the relationships between the science of chemistry to its applications in environmental science, atmospheric chemistry and electronic devices. 

Click to get started.


Professor Drennan would like to acknowledge the contributions of MIT Lecturer Dr. Elizabeth Vogel Taylor, Professor Sylvia Ceyer, and Professor Robert Silbey to the development of this course and its materials.

Related Content

Catherine Drennan. 5.111SC Principles of Chemical Science. Fall 2014. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

For more information about using these materials and the Creative Commons license, see our Terms of Use.