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The Chemical Reaction

All the bits and bolts of chemistry.

Chemistry is the science of how matter transforms from starting materials into other substances. Driven by physics and the fundamental properties of the elements, chemistry frees us from depending on the materials we find in nature, and enables us to invent our own.

In this course, you'll learn the fundamentals of chemistry from the perspective of reactions. Forgoing the usual approach based on quantum mechanics, you'll work through puzzles and patterns to see how charge, energy, and probability combine to determine the basic behavior of molecules undergoing chemical reaction. By the end, you'll be able to make predictions about simple chemical systems and will be ready to take on the next step, the chemical bond.



Concepts and

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    An exciting crash course on all the topics that will be explored in this course.

    1. What is a Chemical Reaction?

      On the stage of chemistry, reactions are plays and atoms are actors, but the real spotlight is on the electron.

    2. Molecular Choreography

      Reactions are all about being in the right place at the right time. See how the laws of chemistry arise from basic probability.

    3. Hiking the Reaction Landscape

      Like trails through a mountain range, chemical reactions traverse the peaks and valleys of an energy “landscape”.

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    Chemical Kinetics

    Starting with a simple type of reaction, dissociation, this chapter builds an intuition for how molecules interact and transform.

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      Reaction Rates

      Learn the factors that determine reaction rates starting from one of the simplest types: the dissociation reaction.

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      Forward and Reverse Reactions

      Explore the balance of chemical reactions going in opposite directions.

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      The Equilibrium State

      No matter where you start, chemical equilibrium is where you’re headed. Learn why it’s nature’s preferred state of affairs.

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      Tipping the Scales

      Learn how savvy chemists turn the tide of equilibrium in their favor by harnessing LeChatelier's One Simple Principle.

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    Reaction Principles

    See the principles of chemical reactions at play and piece together the emergence of the periodic table.

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      Atoms and Charges

      Alchemists tried to turn lead into gold. We now know that’s impossible, but chemical principles still enable astounding transformations.

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      Balancing Act

      For all the amazing things it can do, chemistry isn’t magic. Learn how chemists can predict which transformations are possible with a little chemical accounting.

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      Reactions at Work

      The chemical industry is a fight against equilibrium. Learn how tycoons leverage Le Chatelier's principle to defy nature and get what they want.

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      Periodic Acids

      The stronger an acid, the weaker its hold on protons. It sounds contradictory, but is fundamental to understanding chemical behavior.

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    Elements of Reactivity

    Explore how atoms of the different elements form nature’s building blocks for all substances

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      A Mole Isn't an Animal

      Chemical equations help us see what reactions are doing but hide the millions of billions of billions of molecules. Confront the sheer scale of practical reactions.

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      Compound Interest

      Why is H2O the chemical formula for a real compound but HO2 isn’t? Atoms combine to form compounds but not every combination is viable.

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      Reaction Roundup

      Explore real world applications of chemistry in this collection of capstone puzzles.

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    Chemical Bonds

    Coming Soon