General Chemistry (CHEM 1A)

CHEM 1A is a required course in all concentrations in Biological Sciences, as well as other programs throughout the Sacramento State campus. It reviews the fundamental principles and concepts of chemistry, including stoichiometry; thermochemistry; atomic and molecular structure; solution chemistry, including acid-base chemistry; quantum theory; bonding and intermolecular forces; and chemical kinetics.

The SIRIUS Module in CHEM 1A is focused on a new water chemistry lab where students can link the identity, concentrations and nature of ions and compounds in water to measurable quantities such as solubility, pH, and conductivity. Detection of water impurities is also utilized to monitor the rate of aqueous chemical reactions. This will allow students to formulate questions about how man-made changes in river chemistry might impact capacity for carrying dangerous chemicals in the stream.

Quantitative Analysis (CHEM 31)

CHEM 31 is a required course in many concentrations in Biological Sciences, as well as several other programs throughout the Sacramento State campus. It focuses on chemical measurements including associated statistics, chemical equilibrium in aqueous solutions, volumetric analysis, and an introduction to spectrophotometry and chromatography.

The SIRIUS Module in CHEM 31 is focused on human impacts on river water quality. Students collect water and soil samples from ecologically relevant locations along the river and use the concentrations of nutrients (such as nitrate and phosphate) to assess the impact of human inputs to the river ecosystem, such as agricultural runoff or storm water (urban runoff). Investigations focus on the combination of this nutrient data with trace level organic molecules that serve as tracers of specific inputs (i.e., caffeine for human wastewater). Other SIRIUS courses will also benefit from these data sets. For example, General Ecology (BIO160) students characterize the fungal diversity of soil samples that vary by ecological location. Chemical data on the soil will improve their analysis by providing greater insight into the conditions that determine the ecological variability.