BU Logo


CH102 General Chemistry, Fall 2021


Welcome to CH102 General Chemistry 2. This is the second semester of a year-long course intended primarily for science majors, pre-medical students, engineering students who require a one-year course, and other interested students.

Staff and online forum

The course is given by Professor Dan Dill (dan@bu.edu).

Discussion is led by Professor Dill and learning assistants:

  • Discussion section B1: CAS/225, Thursday, 6:30-7:20pm, Daniella Chavez (dmchavez@bu.edu)
  • Discussion section B2: FLR/152, Friday, 12:20-1:10pm, Priscilla Shine (pshine@bu.edu)
  • Discussion section B3: FLR/152, Friday, 1:25-2:15pm, Priscilla Shine (pshine@bu.edu)
  • Discussion section B4: FLR/152, Friday, 2:30-3:200pm, Daniella Chavez (dmchavez@bu.edu)

Nolan Shepard (nmshep@bu.edu) is in charge of the laboratory part of CH102 and laboratory is led by teaching fellows:

  • Laboratory section L1: SCI/268D Wednesday 8:00 am-10:45 am, ... (...@bu.edu)
  • Laboratory section L2: SCI 268C Wednesday 6:30 pm-9:15 pm, ... (...@bu.edu)
  • Laboratory section L3: SCI 268D Wednesday 6:30 pm-9:15 pm, ... (...@bu.edu)
  • Laboratory section L4: SCI 268D Friday 2:30 pm-5:15 pm, ... (...@bu.edu)
  • Laboratory section L5: SCI 268C Friday 2:30 pm-5:15 pm ... (...@bu.edu)

All course questions are answered on the Piazza online discussion forum. Sign up for Piazza at


All of us teaching the course follow this forum and so this is the way to get your questions about the course answered and to help your classmates answer theirs. If you have questions of a personal or private nature, send them to dan@bu.edu

Required course materials

The following materials are all available at the Barnes & Noble @ Boston University.

  1. General Chemistry Atoms First, 4e, McQuarrie, Rock, and Gallogly,
    ISBN 978-1-891389-60-3. An optional student solutions manual is available. Suggestions for how to get the most out of the textbook and solutions manual are here. Physical copies of the book, and the eBook, can be ordered from the publisher's website:
    • Book ($78.80 print*, $65 eBook purchase, $50 eBook rental); and
    • Optional solutions manual ($22.40 print, $30+ for eBook)
    • *Discount: we have negotiated a discount price on the printed copy of the book for BU students. To get the additional discount, you must order using your BU.edu email address, then write in "20% OFF FOR BU GEN CHEM" in the "Additional Information and Discount Codes" and comment box at the bottom of the order page. The additional discount will be applied when the final order is processed. You must use your BU.edu email address to get the discount.
  2. The Turning Technologies ResponseCard RF Clicker (ISBN 978-1-934931-68-4). You must use only your own clicker. Using a clicker belonging to someone else will constitute academic misconduct. How to license and register your clicker are given here.
  3. Any non-graphing and non-programmable calculator may be used. We suggest the The Texas Instruments TI-30X IIS 2-Line Scientific Calculator.
  4. A spiral bound notebook to record your solutions to all assigned problems in the course. Your work in lecture, discussion, and homework will be done in this notebook.
  5. Laboratory notebook, Hayden McNeil Publishing; the 50-page version should be sufficient.
  6. Approved safety goggles, item #9301, and laboratory coat. Massachusetts State Law requires that all students wear approved personal protective equipment at all times in all labs. Contact lenses are forbidden in chemistry labs. Additional details about lab safety and protection will be provided in lab.
  7. Laboratory coat, also required in organic chemistry.
  8. A lock to secure your belongings in the locker when in the laboratory.

Details about the lab experience are provided the lab syllabus.

Meeting times

The course consists of Four required components:

  1. Lectures, held in CAS/313 on Tuesday and Thursday, 5–6:15pm. The first lecture is Thursday, September 2.
  2. Discussions, which start Thursday and Friday, September 2 and 3.
  3. Pre-lab lectures, wheld in SCI/113, Wednesday, 3:35-4:25pm, starting September 8 .
  4. Labs, which start the week of September 13.

All students in CH102 are required to be registered for all four components of the course: lecture, discussion, pre-lab lecture, and lab. If you have not yet done so, please do so right away.

Office hours

  • Monday 9–10am Priscilla, SCI/296
  • Monday 10–11am Daniella, SCI/296
  • Monday 2–4pm Professor Dill, SCI/451
  • Tuesday 11am–noon, Priscilla, SCI/270D
  • Wednesday 1:30–3:30pm, Priscilla, SCI/344
  • Thursday, 3–4pm, Daniella, SCI/296
  • Friday, 1–2pm, Daniella, SCI/296

Exams and final exam

There will be three exams and a course final exam:

  • Exam 1, Thursday, September 23, 5pm
  • Exam 2, Tuesday, October 26, 5pm
  • Exam 3, Tuesday, November 23, 5pm
  • Final exam, Friday, December 17, 3-5pm

The exams and final exam will not be given at any other time and failure to take an exam will result in a 0 for that exam, so please make Thanksgiving Recess and end-of-semester plans accordingly.

Topics and locations of each exam will be posted the preceding week here.

What we will cover

We have designed the course as an introduction to general chemistry that integrates laboratory explorations with the development of the analytical tools necessary to understand and guide those explorations. Some particular aspects that we will emphasize are

  • mathematics as a tool for the exposition and manipulation of chemical concepts
  • the connection between microscopic models of matter and its macroscopic properties
  • the connections between applications from pure and applied research and from technology to chemistry

Our goal is to help you share in our excitement for and the wonder of science, to challenge you to excel, to give you a sense of empowerment about science, and to encourage you to continue study in science—and hopefully chemistry. We intend to focus especially on what are the core ideas of chemistry.


In this semester we cover McQuarrie et al., chapters 15 through 25. The calendar of lectures topics, discussion worksheets, and exams is at here and a printed version is available here.

The required problems assigned for each chapter are be listed below. Your are required to record in your spiral bound notebook your solution to each of the assigned problems.

Corresponding worksheets are here.

The recording of each lecture will be available here.

McQuarrie et al., chapters: Required problems, lectures and corresponding worksheets.
Chapter and required problems Lectures Worksheets
15. Liquids and Solids
Problems 2, 4, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28, 30, 32, 33, 34, 46, 50, 52, 59, 60, 64, 72, 73, 74, 78;
skip sections 15-9 through 15-13 and related problems.
1, 2, 3 and 4 1 and 2
16. Colligative Properties of Solutions
Problems 2, 4, 8, 10, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24, 26, 32, 34, 40, 42, 44, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 64, 68, 69, 70, 74, 80, 81, 88, 89
5 3
17. Chemical Kinetics: Rate Laws
Problems 6, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 28, 30, 32, 34, 42, 44, 46, 47, 49, 50, 51, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 70, 74, 77
6, 7 and 8 4
18. Chemical Kinetics: Mechanisms
Problems 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 37, 38, 39, 40, 42, 43, 44, 47, 53, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62;
skip section 18-7 and related problems.
8, 9 and 10 5 and 6
19. Chemical Equilibrium
Problems 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 48, 50, 52, 53, 54, 59, 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70, 72, 80, 82, 84, 86, 90, 91
10 and 11 7
22. Solubility and Precipitation Reactions
Problems 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 28, 30, 34, 36, 38, 60, 63, 74, 78, 84, 88, 90;
skip sections 22-3, 22-4, 22-6, 22-7, and 22-8, and related problems
11 and 12 10
20. The Properties of Acids and Bases
Problems 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, 52, 56, 65, 66, 68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 75, 76, 84, 88;
13, 14 and 15 7 and 8
21. Buffers and Titration of Acids and Bases
Problems 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 20, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46, 51, 52, 54, 56, 60, 62, 66, 70, 72, 78, 82, 84, 86, 90;
skip section 21-3 and related problems.
16 and 17 9
23. Chemical Thermodynamics
Problems 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 32, 36, 38, 44, 46, 48, 52, 54, 62, 63, 64, 68, 74, 76, 78, 84, 86
18, 19 and 20 11 and 12
24. Oxidation-Reduction Reactions
Problems 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 22, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 48, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 66, 68
21 and 22 13
25. Electrochemistry
Problems 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44, 48, 52, 54, 56, 58, 65, 66, 67, 69, 73, 76, 78, 80, 84, 88
22, 23 and 24 13


Details about the lab experience are provided in the lab syllabus.

The laboratory part of the CH102 course will let you see first-hand chemical principles and processes in action. It will also give you experience with some of the methods scientists use to do chemical research. Your work in the General Chemistry laboratory will consist of the following experiments.

  • Week of September 13, Experiment 1: Intermolecular forces. You will demonstrate the connection between the interactions between molecules at the microscopic scale and measurements of the evaporation rate of liquids at the macroscopic scale. This experiment will give you direct evidence of how molecular geometry and bonding influences compounds' behavior in the lab.
  • Week of September 20, Experiment 2: Colligative properties. In this experiment you will discover how to control the freezing temperature of any liquid. You will investigate the freezing point depression effect, which lowers the freezing point temperature of a solution when some chemicals are added to the pure liquid.
  • Week of September 27, Experiment 3: Introduction to kinetics. Laboratory experiments you've done up to this point have likely assumed that reactions procede to completion quickly. This experiment will introduce reactions that you can measure the progress of, reaction rates, rate laws, and how the concentrations of reagents influences those rates of aqueous reactions.
  • Week of October 4, Experiment 4: Kinetics: the iodine clock reaction. You will put the reaction that you initially used to examine concentration dependence in rate laws through the paces of different thermal and catalytic environments to determine exactly how much energy it requires to get started.
  • Week of October 11, no lab.
  • Week of October 18, Experiment 5: Equilibrium formation of ferric thiocyanate complex. What happens in a reaction depends not only on the reactants, but also on the conditions under which they are combined. This gives us some control over the outcome of chemical reactions. In this experiment, you will investigate the sensitivity of the reaction equilibrium to the ratio of reactants and to the temperature of the reaction mixture.
  • Week of October 25, Experiment 6: Solubility properties: The common-ion effect. In this experiment, you will explore the nature of solubility equilibria and investigate the solubility of one sparingly soluble salt in different solvents. This lab will be an open project experiment, so we hope you will enjoy your research work.
  • Week of November 1, Experiment 7: Acid-base titration. Exactly how much of something is contained in that beaker of aqueous solution? With this experiment, you will learn the ubiquitous technique of titration to measure the concentrations of acids and bases in solution, and investigate how equilibrium processes and shifts lead to visible changes with indicators.
  • Week of November 8, Experiment 8: Potentiometric titration of weak acid-weak base. This experiment will expand on the technique of titration by comparing direct measurements of pH with the equivalence points of indicators. You will also investigate how the equivalence point for an acid-base titration changes with the strength of the acid and base used.
  • Week of November 15, Experiment 9: Electrochemistry, part 1. The world is largely run on electricity, and this experiment will demonstrate how electricity can be generated from chemical reactions. You will investigate how the concepts of equilibrium and free energy are the basis of understanding batteries by creating your own electrochemical cell battery.
  • Week of November 22, no lab.
  • Week of November 29, Experiment 10: Electrochemistry, part 2. This experiment will continue to introduce the concepts of electrochemistry by relating electron transfers from oxidation-reduction reactions to the flow of electrical current. You will investigate the reactivities of various metals and how they influence the design of electrochemical cell batteries.


The course grade is based on your overall course score; we do not assign letter grades to exams, labs or the final exam. The components of the overall score are shown below.

Components of the overall score
Component Contribution
Exams 45%
Final Exam 25%
Lab 15%
Lecture participation based on clicker responses 5%
Discussion participation (includes problem solutions notebook) 5%
Lab participation 5%

Course grades are assigned based on the distribution overall scores at the end of the course. The following (tentative) grading scheme will be used to assign course grades based on your score in the course. Please note that we reserve the lower cutoff numbers (making achieving a grade easier) but we will not raise them. However, please do not count on them changing.

  • Score range 930–1000: Grade A
  • Score range 900–929: Grade A-
  • Score range 850–899: Grade B+
  • Score range 800–849: Grade B
  • Score range 750–799: Grade B-
  • Score range 700–749: Grade C+
  • Score range 650–699: Grade C
  • Score range 600–649: Grade C-
  • Score range 550–599: Grade D
  • Score range below 550: Grade F

Overall score so far

After exam 2 and after exam 3 we will provide the distribution of overall course scores so far, on a 1000-point scale, and your individual score so far. These overall scores so far will take into account the scores on the work completed so far (exams, labs, and participation). In this way, you will have a measure of how you are doing at that point in the course.

Your overall score so far will be available on Blackboard and the distribution of overall scores so far will be posted here.

Please note that the overall score so far will not take in account dropping of the lowest lab, or absences from lectures, lab lectures, or discussion. This will be done only at the end of the semester.

Questions about grading

No makeup exams will be given. A missed exam counts as 0. A missed lab counts as 0; the lowest lab score will be dropped. If, due to unusual circumstances, such as a documented prolonged illness, you miss more than one lab, please contact Nolan Shepard (nmshep@bu.edu). as soon as possible so that special arrangements can be made to catch up with your work.

Exams in CH102 will be graded through GradeScope. In days leading up to the first exam you will get an email from Gradescope. It will have you set a password so that you can access your graded exams.

Regrades on exams: To ensure fairness, all exams are graded with same rubric, so requests for additional credit for incorrect answers cannot be entertained. If you believe that you’ve answered a question on a quiz correctly, but credit was not awarded, please print your quiz and show the relevant question to your Professor Dill at the end of the first discussion after the graded exam is posted. Write your BU.edu email address on the top of your submitted request. All submitted regrade requests will be evaluated amd the outcome communicated by email. Requests for regrades are only accepted within one week of a quiz being returned.

Course details and policies

No electronic devices in classes

Recent studies have shown that taking notes with laptops or having your cellphone out in class leads to lower performance by students in classes and on quizzes and exams. For this reason, we require that you take notes using the traditional pen and paper mode, and we do not permit the use of cellphones or laptops in class.

Make sure that your cell phones are kept in your bags at all times during class (lectures, discussion, labs, and quizzes) so that you are able to get the most out of class time. Taking notes with tablets (iPad, Surface, and equivalent devices) is permitted provided that they are set in airplane mode before class.

We realize that some of you may want to use cameras to make images of the lecture slides, etc. However, since all lectures are recorded, you have full access to everything that is being presented.

Discussions and group work

Each week, all students will participate in their scheduled discussion section. During each discussion, students will work in groups (3 students per group) on problem solving (selected book problems and other problems), interactive exercises, and class-wide discussions. The discussion leader and undergraduate learning assistant (LA) will be facilitators and mentors in discussion, working with groups to help them on their work.

Students are expected to arrive on time and to actively participate in all of the discussion sections. A portion of your course grade (5%) will be awarded based on your discussion work, including (on-time) attendance; engagement (in group work and class-wide exercises) in discussion; and the effort and completeness of your problem-solving notebook. The minimum assigned problems are posted here.

Participation in lectures

In addition to traditional lecture presentations, lecture time will also be comprised of interactive individual and group-based problem solving. Students will use Turning Technologies clickers to answer questions in class. A portion of your course grade (5%) will be awarded based on your participation using the clickers. An additional 5% of your course grade will be awarded for participation using clickers in pre-lab lecture.

Please note: Students may only use their own clicker in class. Using another student’s clicker is a violation of the Academic Conduct Code.

Academic Conduct

All students at Boston University are expected to maintain high standards of academic honesty and integrity. It is the responsibility of every student to be aware of the Academic Conduct Code’s contents and to abide by its provisions, as detailed at


Please note carefully that the University and its Faculty treat cheating with zero tolerance. Here, “cheating” refers to any violation of the academic conduct code. There are no small infractions. All instances of misconduct will be reported to the Dean’s office. It is the responsibility of every student to be aware of the Academic Conduct Code’s contents and to abide by its provisions.

Please note the following about lecture participation: Students must use only their own TurningPoint mobile app login. Answering for another student is a violation of the academic conduct code.

Absence Policy

Attendance at all lectures, discussions, and labs is mandatory. Students must attend their assigned discussion section, and are expected to arrive on-time. Lecture and discussion participation and engagement will count for 15% of your course grade.

Your participation grade will be based on your performance, prompt attendance, and contributions in lecture and discussion. It is completely understandable that some students may miss a lecture or discussion due to unforeseen circumstances. At the end of the semester the lowest two lecture participation scores and the lowest discussion participation score will be dropped. Missed classes due to religious observances will not affect your performance score.

Policy on Religious Observances

Absences for documented religious observances will be excused according to the specifications of the University Policy on Religious Observance Please make sure to communicate about religious observances as far in advance as possible (and no later than one week before the observance, per university policy) so that accommodations can be made.

Office of Disability and Access Services

The Office of Disability and Access Services (25 Buick Street, Suite 300) is responsible for assisting students with disabilities. If you have a disability, you are strongly encouraged to register with this office. Lecture hall and discussion rooms are accessible and ADA compliant.

Learning and testing accommodation: Boston University complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. If you are a student who needs academic accommodations because of a documented disability, you must present your letter of accommodation from the Office of Disability and Access Services directly to Professor Golger as soon as possible. If you have questions about documenting a disability or requesting academic accommodations, contact the Office of Disability and Access Services. Letters of accommodations should be presented as soon as possible to ensure that student needs are addressed from the start of the course. Instructors are not able to provide accommodations without documentation from Boston University's Office of Disability and Access Services.

Suggestions for success

Learning chemistry requires persistence, diligence and hard work. We suggest that you plan to spend about 30 hours per week on this course over and above the scheduled contact hours. If you are willing to devote this time, and you spend it wisely and effectively, you will be able to perform your best in this course. Here are some specific suggestions that we have found helpful.

Lecture preparation

You will get the most out of lecture if you have studied the textbook readings, related web exercises and assigned problems beforehand.

A particularly effective way to do this is to first read through several pages of the material in the course texts. Next, when you think you have understood what you have read, set the texts aside and then make a written summary of what you have understood. It is important to carry out this step without looking at the texts. Finally, compare what you have written with the material in the texts, to identify those parts that are unclear or where your understanding is incomplete.

If you follow this procedure, you will have a quite detailed idea of what will be covered in each lecture, and, most important, you can be particularly alert to those parts that are unclear for you and, if the lecture still doesn't clarify things, you will be able to ask questions right in lecture. You may even want to collect your summaries in a journal that you can then update and refine throughout the semester. and so make an excellent set of notes for review prior to the final exam.

Lecture follow up

After each lecture, you should work through your lecture notes to be sure you understand everything that was covered. You may even want to rewrite your notes. That way, as you do so, you can test your understanding. If material is still unclear, then be sure to ask for specific help with it, in email, office hours or discussion.


Chemistry is a quantitative science and understanding of its concepts is obtained by solving problems. The text and supplementary materials offer many problems. For success you should do as many of these as you can and if you run into difficulties ask your teaching fellow or professor, in email, office hours or discussion. You will get the most out of lectures if you have worked through problems related to material to be covered before lecture.


Discussion is a particularly good time to bring up problems you haven't been able to solve. Chances are others are experiencing similar difficulties and you will be able to learn from their questions too. It is essential that you have worked on your own to solve your problems, because then you will be most able to understand their solution.

Quizzes will be returned and discussed during these discussions. Any questions about quizzes or problem sets should be addressed to your discussion TF during this time.

If you have concerns

If you are experiencing difficulty, please come to see your lecture professor without delay. Often, students in this course perceive that they are doing poorer work than they actually are. Particularly for first-year students, we recognize that it may be difficult for you to judge your academic standing in the course, since we do not use the same type of grading scheme with which you may be familiar from high school. That is why it is important for you to speak to us before making any major decision, such as dropping the course.

If dropping the course appears to be in your best interest, we still would like to work through the decision with you. We are also happy to advise you on appropriate choices for your academic program. If you drop the course by Thursday, October 7, no record of it will appear on your transcript. After that date, until the end of the day Friday, November 5, you may drop the course but with a W grade (withdrawn). If you must drop the course, note that CH102 will be given during Spring 2022, Summer 2022, and Fall 2022.

BU Hub Learning Outcomes

Scientific Inquiry I

Students will identify and apply major concepts used in the natural sciences to explain and quantify the workings of the physical world. These concepts include the following: matter is composed of atoms; elements form \families"; bonds form between atoms by sharing electron pairs; shape is of the utmost importance; molecules interact with one another; energy is conserved; energy and matter tend to disperse; there are barriers to reaction; and light and matter can exchange energy. Students will learn about the process by which scientific theories are developed, refined, refuted, and confirmed.

Quantitative Reasoning I

Students will demonstrate their understanding of core conceptual and theoretical tools used in quantitative reasoning, particularly mathematics, as a tool for the exposition and manipulation of chemical concepts and for formulating a connection between microscopic models of matter and its macroscopic properties.

Students will interpret quantitative models of how energy and light interact with atoms or molecules and understand a variety of methods of communicating these, such as graphs, including spectra, tables, formulae, and chemical symbols.

Students will communicate quantitative information about chemical and physical objects and their properties us- ing chemical symbols, visually with sketches, numerically with estimated or computed values, and verbally using appropriate chemical nomenclature.

Students will recognize and articulate the capacity and limitations of quantitative methods such as dimensional analysis and the risks of using it improperly.

Copyright Laws and Protection

The syllabus, course descriptions, lab manual, and all handouts created for this course, and all class lectures, are copyrighted by the course instructors.

The materials and lectures may not be reproduced in any form or otherwise copied, displayed or distributed, nor should works derived from them be reproduced, copied, displayed or distributed without the written permission of the instructors.

Infringement of the copyright in these materials, including any sale or commercial use of notes, summaries, outlines or other reproductions of lectures, constitutes a violation of the copyright laws and is prohibited.

Please note in particular that distributing, receiving, selling, or buying class notes, lecture notes or summaries, lab reports or related materials, or similar materials both violates copyright and interferes with the academic mission of the College, and is therefore prohibited in this class and will be considered a violation of the student code of responsibility that is subject to academic sanctions.