Chemistry impinges on modern society in more ways than anyone including a chemist can imagine. Most of the things which improve the quality of our lives are made of chemicals which are made in chemical plants such as Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tennessee. Many of these same things unfortunately also often have led indirectly to environmental degradation including water pollution, acid rain, smog, ozone depletion, and global warming, to name a few. Although people in the past weren’t aware of humanity’s profound impact on the earth, or didn’t care, we know better today and can do better today. We have in our power to eliminate or significantly reduce our numerous environmental problems. Chemists are in the forefront in solving these problems.
In the lectures and hands-on laboratory experiments we will examine together the chemistry of the environment, i.e. the chemistry of the earth in the absence of people, environmental chemistry, which is concerned with the effect that chemicals used in our civilization have had on the planet, and green chemistry, a new field devoted to finding and developing methods to carry out chemistry in an environmentally friendly manner.
Some high school chemistry is recommended for students choosing this course.