Chemistry 474: Physical Inorganic Chemistry 2016

An introduction to the use of symmetry for qualitative predictions of energy levels, molecular orbitals, and spectra of molecules. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: Chem 361. This course runs during the first half of the semester (seven weeks).

Inorganic chemistry covers a variety of diverse substances including not only molecular, coordination, organometallic, and nonmolecular compounds but also special materials such as metallobiomolecules, semiconductors, ceramics, and minerals. Furthermore, inorganic chemistry is concerned with all of the approximately 100 chemical elements with the sole exception of the major subdivision of carbon chemistry known as organic chemistry. The great structural diversity of inorganic compounds makes them vitally important as industrial feedstocks, fine chemicals, catalysts, and advanced materials. Inorganic compounds such as metalloenzymes also play a key role in life processes.” —Preface to the Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry


Inorganic Chemistry, 3rd & 4th editions
By Catherine Housecroft, Alan G. Sharpe
Published by Prentice Hall

4th ed. of text available for purchase.

Here is a list of chapters in this text that would be good preparation for a graduate school entrance examination: 6, 7, 8, 9, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29. Some of these chapters include material that is discussed in Chemistry 372 (Organometallic Chemistry) and Chemistry 373 (Solid State Chemistry).

Tentative Syllabus

Parts or all of the following chapters are anticipated to be covered in this seven-week course: 2, 3, 5, 21 (3rd ed.), 7, 20 (3rd ed.).


Most out-of-class communication will take place via email. Katie will sometimes be used for communication.


Homework will be posted on katie.


A quiz is like a mini-exam or small problem set given in class. It is assumed that all work, calculations, explanations, etc., will be shown on quiz problems. Quizzes will usually be cumulative, meaning that problems from any portion of the course may show up on any quiz.

Final Exam

It is assumed that all work, calculations, explanations, etc., will be shown on exam problems. Final exam will be cumulative and is, essentially, the last quiz of the course.

Class time

Class time will be used for quizzes, the final exam, and lectures to introduce topics.


Homework: 20%
Quizzes: 40%
Final: 40%
Total: 100%