This new course explores the physical aspects of organic chemistry. Physical organic chemistry finds application in many differing situations such as organic synthesis, chemical biology, green chemistry, catalysis, materials science and alternative energy research. The course will train the student in the scientific approach employed in physical organic chemistry. This approach involves the combined use of different techniques, such as theory, computational science, mechanistic analysis, organic synthesis and a variety of instrument-based techniques. This combined approach can then be applied to solve problems through a quantitative understanding of key processes.
Students will gain a feel for the potential applications of the techniques and approaches of physical organic chemistry and will be able to apply this knowledge to developing a quantitative understanding of reactions and proposing potential improvements to existing processes in organic chemistry, biology, biosynthesis, environmental and green processes. The acquired skills will be put into practice in a short project forming part of currently ongoing research.
The course will provide opportunities for students to develop key skills including learning skills, information handling, (quantitative) data analysis, presentational skills and critical analysis.