Introduction to Chemistry

Chat times for Summer 2017
Wednesday
11:00am-12:30pm ET/8:00a-9:30am PT


Dr. Christe Ann McMenomy

Texts Required

Advanced students expecting to take the Scholars Online AP Chemistry course and who desire to complete lab work required for that course as part of this summer session should acquire the textbook, laboratory, and equipment requirements for that course in order to take advantage of the opportunity to perform some of the experiments as part of this course.

Students who do not expect to take AP Chemistry in 2017-2018 need only acquire Faraday's text at this time.

The Chemical History of the Candle, Michael Faraday.

Since the content is no longer under copyright, you will find several different editions. Any one of the following is acceptable for this course, since the entire set of lectures is included. [We will use a separate set of lab instructions, adapted to use materials and equipment readily available for independent instruction.]

Cherokee Publishing Company, December 1978 — In print — ISBN: 0877972095
This edition includes contemporary illustrations of the equipment Faraday used.
Echo Library, October 2008 — In print — ISBN: 140687535X
As far as I have been able to determine, this edition contains the text only.
Chicago Review Press, October 1988 — Out of Print — ISBN: 1556520352
This edition also includes 22 experiments with the six lectures. If you can find this used for a reasonable price, I would recommend it.
WEB EDITIONS
The Book Page will let you read the text online, based on the Harvard Classics 1909 edition. The site includes copies of the figures.
Fordham University Text Library. A single HTML page containing all the lectures, with no illustrations.

Notes on Reading Faraday's Lectures

Assigned readings for each chat session will be posted in the course schedule. We will do some introductory work the first week, then proceed at one lecture per week, about 20 pages.

According the historical records, Faraday did not write his lectures ahead of time. He planned them carefully, practiced the demonstrations, then delivered them spontaneously as he walked about the lecture stage in front of his audience. The lectures in our text were taken down in shorthand by a trained scientific reporter who attended each lecture and endeavored to capture not only the substance of the lectures, but also the lecturer's style. In most cases, we can assume that the wording is Faraday's own wording, as delivered, but we can't always be sure that any particular sentence is exactly what Faraday said.

Because the lectures were not prepared as complete text for a reader audience, we must approach them in a different way than we would read a standard textbook. We are used to well-organized texts which follow a very logical progression of concepts, with all the implications worked by the author ahead of time, and the actual course of discovery rearranged to show fundamental concepts first, then more complicated ones. Faraday has organized his lectures according to the way his audience might investigate the operation of a candle, starting from scratch (watching the candle burn) and moving to more and more detailed observations of different phenomena associated with the candle. So he seems to jump back and forth between similar ideas sometimes. This means you may have to read a lecture very carefully in order to understand the underlying theme he has chosen.

Another difference between these lectures and normal prose lies in the reporter's style. The paragraphs are organized according to the view of the audience, and may have several ideas which are based on some unspoken principle which the reporter observed — perhaps Faraday was standing in front of a single piece of apparatus as he talked, and the reporter thought of the ideas as flowing together and pertaining to that apparatus--rather than the words Faraday was using. Watch for changes in emphasis in the paragraphs!

Always keep in mind that these were lectures, given to an audience. As we read the lecture, we must imagine Faraday strolling from one piece of apparatus to another, performing different demonstrations as he talked. Sometimes, the audience could see things which Faraday did — and since the audience was seeing, Faraday had no need to describe the event they watched. As a result, there sometimes appear to be "holes" in the lecture. At those points we need to read the text very carefully to figure out what Faraday was doing, what the audience was seeing, and supply the missing information from our own experience. If you get to such a section, and cannot determine what is happening, check the reading notes on the course web pages for help. If you still don't understand what is happening, be sure to ask about the puzzling section in class.