Introduction to Chemical Principles

General Information

CHEM 10171-03 meets MWF 9:35-10:25 in room 101 Jordan Hall. CHEM 10171 also has a laboratory component and tutorial sections. Attendance at laboratories and tutorials is a required part of the class.


J. Daniel Gezelter
Office hours: M 1:00-2:45 in 402 Jordan

What is this course about?

Chemistry is the field of science that seeks to understand how materials change and interact with each other. An understanding of chemical principles provides a solid foundation for more advanced studies in other natural science, engineering, medicine, and public policy courses. Solving many of the problems we will face in our lifetime (e.g. climate change, antibacterial resistance, energy production) will require us a good grasp of chemical processes.

Required Texts and Materials

The textbook is available at the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, and is being sold bundled with the WebAssignaccess code that allows you to use the online homework system. An access code is required for the course, and you will need to purchase one separately if you bought a text without the bundled code.


Tutorials will start on Tuesday, August 31st. Tutorials give a small-classroom, collaborative learning environment to supplement the lectures and help you understand the material. You should come to tutorials prepared to work in a group with your classmates, solving new problems.


The laboratory experience complements the lectures by giving you a hands-on opportunity to observe chemical phenomena. The laboratory is an integral and essential part of the course. Labs will begin meeting the week of August 30th.

You need to purchase a lab manual, padlock and goggles before you come to your first lab session. Aprons will be provided.

The laboratories are located on the third floor of Jordan Hall. The first meeting will be held in the data analysis room (302 Jordan).


Solving problems is the key to understanding the material (and to doing well on exams). It is extremely important to work through all the assigned problems. Online homework will be assigned and graded using WebAssign (, and assignments will be due on Friday by 8:00 a.m. You will need to enroll in this course using the following procedure:

  1. Go to
  2. Log in using nd as the Institution and your Notre Dame NetID as both your Username and Password.
  3. After logging in, you will be asked to enter your access code.

Start your assignments early. Networking issues and other problems with the homework website can not be fixed at the very last minute - if you have website problems, contact by Thursday afternoon at the latest.


The majority of your grade is derived from your performance on three semester exams and the final. These exams are designed to measure your knowledge of chemistry facts, and (more importantly) to measure your understanding of chemistry concepts and to determine how able you are to solve problems by applying chemical principles.

  • All exams (including the final) are cumulative: you are responsible for all the previously covered material. The semester exams will stress the material that has been covered since the last exam, but questions from the previous exam material may be present. Questions from the laboratory and tutorial material may also be present.
  • Test dates and times are fixed and will not be changed; please plan accordingly! Make-ups are only available for students with approved University excuses. You must notify Professor Gezelter in writing before you miss an exam, even for approved University activities. Emergencies such as sudden illness, accident, family emergencies, etc. are only accepted when adequately documented by the University’s Health Center, Counseling Center, or First Year Studies Office.

All three mid-semester exams will be held in Room 100 of the Stepan Center.

Exam 1 Tuesday, September 14th 8:00 - 9:15 a.m.
Exam 2 Tuesday, October 12th 8:00 - 9:15 a.m.
Exam 3 Tuesday, November 23rd 8:00 - 9:15 a.m.
Final Exam Monday, December 13th 1:45 - 3:45 p.m.

Please Note: Exam 3 is scheduled for the Tuesday before Thanksgiving break. You will not be excused if you schedule travel (buy airline tickets, etc.) that prevents you from taking the exam.

Grading Scheme

Your final letter grade for CHEM 10171 will be based on your performance on the exams, homework, and laboratory scores. The following grading scheme will be used for the Fall 2010 semester:

Homework 15 %
Tutorials 5 %
Laboratory 15 %
Miderm Exams (3) 45 %
Final Exam 20 %

Grades are not assigned for each examination. The cutoffs for the final grades will be:

D C- C C+ B- B B+ A- A
40-50 50-58 58-64 64-70 70-76 76-82 82-87 87-91 91-100

There may be an upward curve applied: If the median class score falls below 76%, an upward curve will be applied to bring the median up to 76%. The scores for students who drop the course will be included in the calculation of the median (note that this helps the grades of students who remain in the class). If there is a curve, it will be calculated and applied at the end of the semester.

There will never be a downward curve: A score of 91 will always be an A, an 87 will be at least an A–, an 82 at least a B+, and so on.

Students with C+ or better grades are generally prepared for subsequent courses in chemistry.  Students with lower scores are strongly advised to consider remedial help.

Be Considerate!

This is one of the largest lecture classes you will take at Notre Dame. Please help your classmates and instructor by observing the following:

  • Quiet is necessary for everyone to hear the instructor. Don’t hold conversations — even in a whisper — during lecture.
  • Turn off cell phones and other noise-making electronic devices before class starts. At some point in the semester, the Notre Dame Victory March will start playing in someone’s backpack, and we’ll all wait while we watch someone scramble for their phone to turn it off. Don’t let that someone be you.
  • The use of laptops in lectures is discouraged (but not forbidden). Keep in mind that what appears on your screen is visible to everyone sitting behind you. If your computer use is distracting other students, you may be asked to close your laptop.
  • Don’t eat or drink during lecture; food and drink make both noise and mess.
  • Try to arrive on time. If you do arrive after class has started, be seated as quickly and quietly as possible to avoid disrupting the class.

Preparation and Studying

This course will cover a great deal of material. While lectures will try to present major ideas of the class comprehensively, important aspects of general chemistry will be covered solely in the tutorials, the homework problems, and the required reading, and this will be reflected in the composition of exams. Expect to spend three hours reading, studying, and solving problems for each hour spent in class.

You will succeed in CHEM 10171 by doing the problems and by staying current with the course material. You shouldread the appropriate sections of the text before coming to class, and you should re-read them after class to insure you understand them. Because earlier topics are the foundation for later ones, you do not want to get behind. Take advantage of instructor and TA office hours to get help in learning and understanding the course material.

We will be making an online chemistry assessment (ALEKS) available during the first three weeks of the course. Completing this assessment is voluntary, but it will definitely help prepare you for the first exam and can point out areas of chemistry that you will need to shore up as you continue in the course.

Getting Help

Quick questions can be answered by Professor Gezelter just before or after the class. Questions, may also be e-mailed directly to Professor Gezelter. Professor Gezelter has scheduled office hours, and you can drop in without a prior appointment during this time, or contact him by e-mail to schedule an appointment at a different time.

  • Office hours will also be held by the Teaching Assistants in room 302/326 Jordan each week as follows:
    Sunday 7:30 pm–9:30 pm
    Monday 7:30 pm–9:30 pm
    Tuesday 7:30 pm–9:30 pm
    Wednesday 8:00 pm–10:00 pm (in room 402 Jordan)
    Thursday 7:30 pm–9:30 pm
  • This class has an assigned tutorial section on Tuesdays or Thursdays run by a teaching assistant or professor. Attendance at these sessions is required and the problems that are solved are integral to the course structure.  Parts of the course will be covered only in these tutorial meetings.
  • One of the most effective ways of helping yourself in General Chemistry is to form a collaborative study group, to work together on homework and other issues in the class.  Study groups work best when the group meets on a regular basis and everyone in the group is an active participant.
  • Free tutoring and a collaborative learning program are offered through the Notre Dame Learning Resource Center. More information about these programs will be given as it is made available.
  • CHEM 13171 is a one-credit supplementary course designed to help you develop the skills to succeed in science classes. Topics include preparing for class/lab, getting the most out of a lecture, how to read a science text book, concept cards and concept mapping, talk-throughs, test preparation, successful study groups, and self-analysis and monitoring one's learning. Talk to your academic advisor if you are interested in enrolling.
  • The course website (at will contain answers and solutions to homework problems, a message board, and links to various informational resources.

Honor Code

You agreed to abide by Notre Dame’s Academic Code of Honor as a precondition for admission to the University. Although collaboration is encouraged in class and in tutorial sections, it is important to clarify what is appropriate for group interaction on homework problems:

Before you may seek assistance for a particular homework problem, it is important that you make a legitimate (and sometimes painful) individual effort at finding a solution. If you are unable to arrive at a solution after 10 minutes, you may then seek guidance for that particular problem from a friend, study group, tutor, or teaching assistant. “Guidance” does not mean that someone shows you how to do a problem. Instead they should ask you directing questions or point you toward resources that will help you discover your own solution. The assignment is not completed until you understand the solution.

Under no conditions should you copy or look at someone else’s solution to a graded problem before you have submitted your own homework or exam for credit. This prohibition includes the work of your classmates, the solution manual, and homework from previous years.

Remember that the Honor Code asks for integrity from all students: you should neither get nor give unfair assistance on homework and exams, and you should confront or report other students if you learn they are behaving dishonestly.

Other possible violations of the Honor Code include:

  • Receiving or giving unauthorized aid on a test, quiz, or homework.
  • Using preprogrammed formulas or plotting functions on your calculator or phone during an exam; retrieval of information that you have previously stored in your calculator or phone memory is a direct violation of the Honor Code.
  • Inappropriate access to information from smart phones and other electronic devices during examinations.
  • Giving false reasons for making up an exam.
  • Resubmitting another’s work as an original piece.
  • Falsifying data and any kind of dishonesty related to academics.

Any suspected violation of the Honor Code will be brought to your attention and if an Honor Code Violation Report cannot be completed, it will be turned over to the College Honesty Committee for investigation. Penalties can be as severe as dismissal from the University, so if anything is unclear about the Honor Code as it applies to this class, you should get clarification from your instructor.

Reading Assignments

Date Chapters Reading Sections Topic
25 August 1 1 Introduction
27 August 2 & 3 2.1-2.4, 3.1-3.4 Fundamentals
30 August 2 & 3 2.5-2.9, 3.1-3.4  
1 September 2 & 3    
3 September 4 4.1-4.6  
6 September 3, 4 & 6 3.5, 4.7, 6.1-6.2  
8 September 7 7.1-7.2 Atomic Structure
10 September 7 7.3-7.4  
13 September 7    
14 September Exam 1 100 Stepan Center Tuesday, 8:00 - 9:15
15 September 8 8.1-8.3  
17 September 8 8.4-8.5  
20 September 9 9.1-9.2, 9.5 Bonding
22 September 10 10.1  
24 September 10 10.2  
27 September 9 & 10 9.3-9.4, 10.3  
29 September 11 11.3  
1 October 9 & 11 11.1-11.2, 9.6  
4 October 11    
6 October 5 5.1-5.3, 5.5 Gases
8 October 5 5.4, 5.6  
11 October 5    
12 October Exam 2 100 Stepan Center Tuesday, 8:00 - 9:15
13 October 12 12.1-12.3 Intermolecular interactions
15 October 3 & 4    
16 – 24 October Fall Break    
25 October 17 17.1-17.3 Equilibrium
27 October 17 17.4-17.5  
29 October 17 17.6  
1 November 19 19.3  
3 November 19    
5 November 18 18.1-18.3 Acids and Bases
8 November 18 18.4-18.4  
10 November 18 18.6-18.9  
12 November 19 19.1  
15 November 19 19.2  
17 November 19    
19 November 6 6.1-6.3 Thermodynamics
22 November 6 6.2-6.5  
23 November Exam 3 100 Stepan Center Tuesday, 8:00 - 9:15
24 – 28 November Thanksgiving Break    
29 November 9 & 18 9.2-9.4, 18.6  
1 December 20 20.1  
3 December 20 20.2-20.3  
6 December 20 20.4  
8 December 20    
13 December FINAL EXAM   Monday 1:45 - 3:45 P.M.