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Introduction to Natural Sciences (CHT113)

The purpose of the module is to introduce students with a background in mathematical and computational sciences to those concepts of the natural sciences that are essential for an appreciation of scientific computing. This module introduces students without a background in natural sciences to a number of key scientific concepts, principles and methods, centred on the molecule and its role in physics, chemistry and biology. The module includes 5 topics: matter, radiation and spectroscopy; gas and reaction kinetics; bonding and structure; thermodynamics; molecules of life. In each topic, students will follow a self-study learning guide, which includes a summary of the scope of the topic, directed reading and assignments.

Relationships between frequency, wavelength and photon energy, and the regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Energy levels and spectrum of the hydrogen atom. Rotational and vibrational energy levels and transitions. Ideal gas law and its assumptions. Integrated rate equations for 1st, 2nd and zero order reactions. Arrhenius equation, including the origin of the terms contained in it, and explanation of catalysis. First and second laws of thermodynamics. The definition of enthalpy, and how it can be measured. The concept of the standard state, and the relationship of the Gibbs energy to equilibrium constant. The structural differences between nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids, and the key functional groups. The key role of phosphate in primary metabolism, and the role of phosphorylation in the biosynthesis of glucose, pyruvic acid, citric acid and amino acids.

Prediction of bond strength in simple molecules through the construction of orbital energy diagrams. Predict the geometry of a molecule using the VSEPR model. Apply Hess' law and use Born-Haber cycles. Extension of the student's view of the interdisciplinary nature of science, especially at the borders between physics, chemistry and biology. Identification of functional groups in large molecular systems, and relation of these to these chemical behaviour in terms of intramolecular and intermolecular interactions.