Crash Course Chemistry

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Hank does his best to convince us that chemistry is not torture, but is instead the amazing and beautiful science of stuff. Chemistry can tell us how three tiny particles - the proton, neutron and electron - come together in trillions of combinations to form … everything. In this inaugural episode of Crash Course Chemistry, we start out with one of the biggest ideas in chemistry ever - stuff is made from atoms. More specifically, we learn about the properties of the nucleus and why they are important to defining what an atom actually is.
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A unit is the frequently arbitrary designation we have given to something to convey a definite magnitude of a physical quantity and every quantity can be expressed in terms of the seven base units that are contained in the international system of units. Hank thinks this is a thrilling subject, and while you may not agree, it is a subject that is very important if you want to be a scientist and communicate with accuracy and precision with other scientists. So listen up and learn something or Hank might have to kill you! (NOT REALLY!)
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Today's Crash Course Chemistry takes a historical perspective on the creation of the science, which didn't really exist until a super-smart, super-wealthy Frenchman put the puzzle pieces together - Hank tells the story of how we went from alchemists to chemists, who understood the law of conservation of mass as proposed by a decapitated aristocrat, and explains how we came to have a greater understanding of how chemical compounds work and eventually a complete understanding of what atoms and molecules are.
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Hank gives us a tour of the most important table ever, including the life story of the obsessive man who championed it, Dmitri Mendeleev. The periodic table of elements is a concise, information-dense catalog of all of the different sorts of atoms in the universe, and it has a wealth of information to tell us if we can learn to read it.
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Hank brings us the story of the electron and describes how reality is a kind of music, discussing electron shells and orbitals, electron configurations, ionization and electron affinities, and how all these things can be understood via the periodic table.
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Chemists need stoichiometry to make the scale of chemistry more understandable - Hank is here to explain why, and to teach us how to use it.
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Dihydrogen monoxide (better know as water) is the key to nearly everything. It falls from the sky, makes up 60% of our bodies, and just about every chemical process related to life takes place with it or in it. Without it, none of the chemical reactions that keep us alive would happen - none of the reactions that sustain any life form on earth would happen - and the majority of inorganic chemical reactions that shape the surface of the earth would not happen either. Every one of us uses water for all kinds of chemistry every day - our body chemistry, our food chemistry and our laundry chemistry all take place in water. In today's Crash Course Chemistry, we use Hank's actual dirty laundry (ew) to learn about some of the properties of water that make it so special - it's polarity and dielectric property; how electrolytes can be used to classify solutions; and we discover how to calculate a solution's molarity as well as how to dilute a solution using the dilution equation.
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Last week, Hank talked about how stuff mixes together in solutions. Today, and for the next few weeks, he will talk about the actual reactions happening in those solutions - atoms reorganizing themselves to create whole new substances in the processes that make our world the one we know and love. This week, we focus on acids and bases and their proton-exchanging ways.
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A lot of ionic compounds dissolve in water, dissociating into individual ions. But when two ions find each other that form an insoluble compound, they suddenly fall out of solution in what's called a precipitation reaction. In this episode of Crash Course Chemistry, we learn about precipitation, precipitates, anions, cations, and how to describe and discuss ionic reactions.
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All the magic that we know is in the transfer of electrons. Reduction (gaining electrons) and oxidation (the loss of electrons) combine to form Redox chemistry, which contains the majority of chemical reactions. As electrons jump from atom to atom, they carry energy with them, and that transfer of energy is what makes all life on earth possible. Special Thanks to Matt Young at the University of Montana (Geosciences Department, Environmental Biogeochemistry Lab) who helped with the chemical demonstrations.
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Learning to talk about chemistry can be like learning a foreign language, but Hank is here to help with some straightforward and simple rules to help you learn to speak Chemistrian like a native.
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Gases are everywhere, and this is good news and bad news for chemists. The good news: when they are behaving themselves, it's extremely easy to describe their behavior theoretically, experimentally and mathematically. The bad news is they almost never behave themselves. In this episode of Crash Course Chemistry, Hank tells how the work of some amazing thinkers combined to produce the Ideal Gas Law, how none of those people were Robert Boyle, and how the ideal gas equation allows you to find out pressure, volume, temperature or number of moles. You'll also get a quick introduction to a few jargon-y phrases to help you sound like you know what you're talking about.
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We don't live in a perfect world, and neither do gases - it would be great if their particles always fulfilled the assumptions of the ideal gas law, and we could use PV=nRT to get the right answer every time. Unfortunately, the ideal gas law (like our culture) has unrealistic expectations when it comes to size and attraction: it assumes that particles do not have size at all and that they never attract each other. So the ideal gas "law" often becomes little more than the ideal gas estimate when it comes to what gases do naturally. But it's a close enough estimate in enough situations that it's very valuable to know. In this episode, Hank goes through a bunch of calculations according to the ideal gas law so you can get familiar with it.
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Hank bursts our ideal gas law bubble, er, balloon, and brings us back to reality, explaining how the constants in the gas law aren't all that constant; how the ideal gas law we've spent the past two weeks with has to be corrected for volume because atoms and molecules take up space and for pressure because they're attracted to each other; that Einstein was behind a lot more of what we know today than most people realize; and how a Dutch scientist named Johannes van der Waals figured out those correction factors in the late 19th century and earned a Nobel Prize for his efforts.
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This week we continue to spend quality time with gases, more deeply investigating some principles regarding pressure - including John Dalton's Law of Partial Pressures, vapor pressure - and demonstrating the method for collecting gas over water.
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This video (11:26) is the sixteenth video in the Crash Course Chemistry series.
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This video (9:26) is the seventeenth in the Crash Course Chemistry series.
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Enthalpy

by Sandy Gade

This video (11:24) is the eighteenth in the Crash Course Chemistry series.
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Calorimetry

by Sandy Gade

This video (11:57) is the nineteenth in the Crash Course Chemistry series.
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This video (13:41) is the twentieth in the Crash Course Chemistry series.
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