Principles of Chemical Science

Course Dates: Open-ended
Enrollment Dates: Enroll Anytime
Who can Enroll: Anyone
Course Language: English
Price: FREE

About the Course

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.

In an effort to illuminate connections between chemistry and biology, a list of the biology-, medicine-, and MIT research-related examples are provided in Biology-Related Examples.


Buy at Amazon Atkins, Peter, and Loretta Jones. Chemical Principles: The Quest for Insight. 4th ed. New York, NY: W.H. Freeman and Company, 2007. ISBN: 9781429209656.

Buy at Amazon Krenos, John. Chemical Principles: The Quest for Insight/Student Study Guide and Solutions Manual. 4th ed. New York, NY: W.H. Freeman and Company, 2007. ISBN: 9781429200998. (Buy at Amazon Bundled set. ISBN: 9781429212595.)

About the Professors

Prof. Catherine Drennan

CATHERINE L DRENNAN is a professor of chemistry and biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a professor and investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She grew up in the NY/NJ area with her father (a medical doctor), her mother (an anthropologist), and her dog (a beagle). Cathy received an AB in chemistry from Vassar College, working in the laboratory of Professor Miriam Rossi, and a PhD in biological chemistry from the University of Michigan, working in the laboratory of the late Professor Martha L Ludwig. She was also a postdoctoral fellow with Professor Douglas C Rees at the California Institute of Technology.

Dr. Elizabeth Vogel Taylor

Beth Vogel Taylor is an instructor in the Department of Chemistry at MIT. She joined the HHMI program in February 2007 and is involved in the all of the HHMI initiatives for “Getting Biologists Excited about Chemistry,” including course development for the 5.111 freshman chemistry course and for the biochemistry UREICA laboratory modules. Beth will co-teach 5.111 in the spring semester of 2008. Beth grew up in Londonderry, NH and received her B.A. in chemistry with a minor in English in 2001 from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. Beth first became interested in organic chemistry research while working in the lab of Professor Ian Rosenstein during summers at Hamilton and throughout her senior year. In 2001, Beth joined the lab of Professor Barbara Imperiali at MIT and worked on developing caged phosphorylated peptides and proteins to study the downstream effects of kinase activity in cell signaling pathways. Beth received her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from MIT in 2006.

License Information

Catherine Drennan, and Elizabeth Taylor. 5.111 Principles of Chemical Science, Fall 2008. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 4 Apr, 2015). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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Course Structure


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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), founded in 1861, is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is one of the foremost U.S. institutions in science and technology. It is comprised of five schools and one college, including the renowned School of Engineering and Sloan School of Management, offering Bachelor’s, Master’s, and [...]

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