Here we collect 10 essential problems to get you thinking before
you embark on your degree course in chemistry. They will
give you a good mathematical grounding in the topics likely to
arise in your degree course - we have included a short explanation
of why each problem might be useful to you.
Remember, these problems are designed to make you think and there
is not necessarily a 'right' answer. Approach them in a thoughtful
way; it is to be hoped that they are both interesting and
stimulating. What questions do they raise in you mind? Where do
these questions lead you? Take them to a level that feels
comfortable for you.
Finally, once you have done the problems, study the solutions.
These will give you additional insights into the problems and the
underlying mathematics and science.
Additional problems of interest will be found on the main
||Refresh you skills with percentages, ratio and moles by
investigating what the empirical formula of this mixture of iron
oxides tell you about its consituents.
||Dilution calculations are crucial in the lab. This problem will
develop your understanding of the ideas. There are other related
problems on the chemNRICH pages.
||This will get you thinking about pH and the use of the
logarithm formula. There are other related problems on the
||This problem will hone your skills with the combinatoric
aspects of chemistry.
||You will need to make good use of your problem solving skills,
understanding of combinatorics and knowledge of atomic masses and
compounds to make sense of these spectrometry data.
Diamonds aren't forever
||Familiarise yourself with the use of the ideal gas equation and
the properties of diamonds in this sequence of problems.
||By investigating some of the issues raised by Geiger and
Marsden's famous scattering experiment in which they fired alpha
particles at a sheet of gold you will refine your problem solving
skills in measurement and estimation.
||Think about rates of reaction and graphs in this thought
provoking problem which works at a range of levels.
CSI: Chemical scene investigation
||This entertaining extended crime challenge will give your
analytical chemistry skills a thorough workout.
The real hydrogen atom
||This problem is just for those with further mathematics
experience! Whilst challenging, it will give a real insight into
the mathematics which can be involved in the applications of
quantum mechanics to chemistry. It will also be great for honing
your mathematical and problem solving skills.
You are also advised to read our interactive article which
take you through a fascinating area of chemistry. You will need a
pencil and paper to hand as calculations are required