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Organic Chemistry Workbook For Dummies by Arthur Winter, Ph.D. | PDF Free Download.
Arthur received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Maryland. He is the creator of the popular Organic Chemistry Help! Web site at chemhelper.com and is the author of Organic Chemistry I For Dummies (Wiley).
His two major research interests involve exploiting photochemistry to solve challenging problems in medicine and using high-powered lasers to start small laboratory fires.
He is currently a post-doctoral student at Ohio State University
Organic chemistry is a subject that blends basic chemistry, logic problems, 3-D puzzles, and stick-figure art that looks like something you may find in a prehistoric cave.
To say that organic chemistry covers a pretty large amount of material is a bit like saying that oxygen is pretty important for human survival. You’re probably somewhat familiar with an organic chemistry textbook if you’re reading this workbook.
I’d be proud to catch a fish that weighed as much! Organic chemistry does cover a lot of material, so much that you can’t possibly hope to memorize it all.
But good news! You don’t need to memorize the vast majority of the material if you understand the basic concepts at a fundamental level, and indeed, memorization beyond the basic rules and conventions is even frowned upon.
The catch is that to really understand the concepts, you have to practice at it by working problems. Lots of problems. Lots.
Did I mention the whole working problems thing? Mastering organic chemistry without working problems is impossible kind of like becoming an architect without bothering to draw up any plans. This workbook is for getting hands-on experience.
I’ve heard that organic exams are a lot like a gunfight. You act out of instinct only if you’ve drilled the material you need to know. Classmates who haven’t worked the problems will see the problems gunning at them on an exam and spook.
They’ll come down with a bad case of exam-block and start sucking their thumbs and crying for Momma.
You, on the other hand, have been to boot camp and practiced by drilling the problems every day, will stare the exam down like a cool-headed soldier, and get down to the serious business of whooping it up until it begs for its life.
Ideally, you should use this book in conjunction with some other reference book, such as a good introductory organic textbook or Organic Chemistry I For Dummies.
This book doesn’t cover the material in great detail; for each section, I give a brief overview of the topic followed by problems that apply the material. The organization of this book follows the For Dummies text, which in turn is organized to follow most organic texts fairly closely.
The basic layout of this workbook is to give you straightforward problems for each section to really drill the concepts and build your confidence before spicing things up with a mischievous humdinger or two at the end of each section to make you don the old thinking cap.
For added convenience, the book is modular, meaning that you can jump around to different chapters without having to have read or worked problems in other chapters. If you need to know some other concepts to get you up to speed, just follow the cross-references.
I divide this workbook into five parts that cover the most important topics in first-semester organic chemistry. Here’s an overview.
Part I: The Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry Here’s where you first practice speaking the words of the organic chemist. You put charges on structures, work with resonance, and draw structures using the various drawing schemes all the skills that you just gotta know to do well in the class.
You also work with the functional groups and do a bit of magic with acid and base chemistry, because these concepts are so important when you work with organic reactions a little later in the course.
Part II: The Bones of Organic Molecules Hydrocarbons In this part, you enter the cemetery of the organic chemist and take a look at the hydrocarbons. These are the bones of organic molecules that bind organic structures together, and they consist of just hydrogen and carbon atoms.
You first practice working with alkanes, the sturdy carbon backbones that hold all the reactive centers on organic molecules in place and keep things nice and stable.
When you’re finally straight with these organic molecules, I take you into the third dimension through stereochemistry.
Stereochemistry is the way that atoms can orient in space, and here you get to practice your 3D visualization skills.
You also see how organic molecules can bend, flex, and pretzel themselves to form different conformations, and you see how to predict the various energies of these conformations.
Finally, you get the first appetizer of organic reactions in the discussion of alkenes and alkynes, molecules containing carbon-carbon double and triple bonds.
Part III: Functional Groups and Their Reactions This is the part where you get the full entrée of organic reactions: the discussion of various functional groups and their reactions, spiced up with a few healthy helpings of nomenclature.
Included are the alkyl halides, aromatic rings, and my favorite! the alcohols (of which there are thousands more than the alcohol you find cheering up the local spirits and inspiring karaoke singers in your favorite watering hole).
Part IV: Detective Work: Spectroscopy and Spectrometry In this part, you put on your overcoat and fedora and break out the magnifying glass and dusting powder.
You practice your detective work in solving for unknown structures using spectroscopy and spectrometry, instrumental techniques that let you nail down a structure of an unknown molecule.
You work on extracting the various parts of spectra (the data plots coming out of these instruments) for clues to the identity of your molecule and then put all the clues together, just as if you were in a cornball TV murder mystery trying to figure out whodunit. So go get ’em, Sherlock.
Part V: The Part of Tens In this part, I give you some tips on how to ace our exams. As an added bonus, I’ve included the long-lost Ten Commandments of Organic Chemistry, which help you avoid committing the common sins that lead organic chemistry students into the abyss.
Disobey these commandments at your own peril!
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