April 28, 1999
Chemistry 104-2

Professor Bassam Z. Shakhashiri
E-mail: bassam@chem.wisc.edu
Web Home Page: http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu/


Final Examination:

  2:45 to 4:45 p.m., Monday, May 10

722, 723, 724, 728, 729, 730

  19 Ingraham Hall

721, 725, 726, 727 , 731, 732, 733 ,734 ,735, 736

  B10 Ingraham Hall

There is no early exam. McBurney students and others who wish to request special arrangements should provide me with a detailed statement explaining their request no later than Friday, April 30. Include, your name, TA's name, lab section number, and your E-MAIL address.

If you have three final exams within the 24-hour period of our exam, you should provide me immediately (and no later than Friday, April 30) with a copy of your University schedule which shows the conflicts or a written statement (no E-MAIL messages from students will be accepted). Include, your name, TA's name, lab section number, and your E-Mail address. You should also contact the other instructors to find out what they are willing to do to accommodate such a conflict according to University rules. I am willing to help as much as possible, but other instructors should be asked as well.

The final examination is comprehensive. It covers the entire course right from the first lecture of January 20 through the last lecture of Wednesday, May 5. As mentioned in the course syllabus and announced in class, the final examination will constitute 30% of the semester grade.

The entire exam will consist of multiple choice questions of varying point values. The total point value is 100. Please follow the instructions on the front page of the examination carefully.

Questions and problems are of the same degree of difficulty as on the three examinations, but the answers are in the multiple choice format. Pay special attention to the statement of each question and to the choices of answers. Solve each problem before selecting an answer. In some cases, "none of the above" may be the correct answer.

You have been preparing for this exam all semester long. I have already mentioned in class how you may go about reviewing and preparing for the exam. Here is a summary of the suggestions:

2. Review all the questions asked on each of the 3 exams. Make sure you now know the correct answer for each question and how it is obtained.
3. Review the Study Questions for the three exams. Make sure you are able to answer each question correctly. ALSO, REVIEW THE QUESTIONS TO BE DISTRIBUTED ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 5. These will be typical questions asked on previous evening exams dealing with nuclear chemistry and with polymers--the two topics since Exam III.
4. Review your lecture notes since Exam III : lectures on April 21, April 23 (Prof. Thurber), April 26, April 28. May 3, and May 5. Also, State Representative Spencer Black's Enrichment Lecture of April 30 for possible bonus questions.
5. Review all CHEM TIPS surveys (questions, responses, and messages from me on your student report sheets).
6. Review all the handouts distributed in lecture including the CHEMICAL OF THE WEEK SERIES. Some handouts contained information about lecture demonstrations and you were asked to record observations and answer questions; these handouts were to be part of your lecture notes.
7. Review appropriate examples and suggested exercises in CW, the booklets on CHEMICAL EQUILIBRIUM and CHEMICAL KINETICS, and the WORKBOOK FOR GENERAL CHEMISTRY.
8. Review your lab reports. Pay attention to those experiments which relate to lecture material.
9. Once again, PLEASE follow the instructions on the front sheet of the examination. I HOPE YOU DO WELL!


Final exam scores and the semester letter grades will be posted at 4:00 p.m.,Wednesday, May 12 near Room 1328.

Please do not ask me or your TA about your grades before that time. If you like, you may leave a self-addressed post card or envelope with your TA and we will mail you your final exam score and semester letter grade.

I will keep your final exams on file for one year; you may view your final exam in my office (9303 Chemistry) anytime after the grades are posted. If you plan to stop by, please contact me ahead of time via E-MAIL to make sure I am around.

As announced in the syllabus at the beginning of the semester, the grades for quizzes and for lab will be adjusted by me to take into account variations in grading among TAs; the adjustments are made on the basis of the 3-exam average and standard deviation for each TA's sections. The grades for the entire semester may be curved prior to assigning letter grades using the scale announced in the syllabus as the guide. The cutoff levels for letter grades will not be raised from what has already announced. Improvement and progress in performance will be taken into consideration after the total scores for all students are curved.

Your semester grades will be based on the following:

3 exams


Quiz (adjusted by me)

Laboratory (adjusted by me)    16%
Final Exam    30%

Improved performance on the final exam can greatly help you since the final exam is almost 1/3 (30%) of the total grade. Each student's total performance will be reviewed carefully and in detail by me and your TA jointly prior to assigning the semester letter grade.

You can judge your course standing now by looking at the cumulative score of the three exams and comparing that to the level of achievement shown in the syllabus. That also tells you how many point out of 360 you already have. It is not possible yet to include your lab and quiz grades since that can be done only after I have adjusted them to take into account variations in grading practices from one TA to another. So, the raw scores on quizzes and lab are just that and should not be compared yet to the announced levels of achievement. REMEMBER: YOUR TA AND I WILL LOOK FOR PROGRESS AND IMPROVEMENT ON EXAMS ESPECIALLY THE FINAL EXAM.


I am sometimes asked to write letters of recommendation on behalf of former students. I am pleased to do so especially if given enough advance notice. I usually consult the TA prior to completing my statement. If you wish to have me write a letter, please contact the Recommendation Service located at 25 Ingraham Hall and follow the procedure they have developed. Always indicate the lab section number, the name of your TA, and the semester you were in my course. If their format does not serve your purposes, contact me directly.


Here are some suggested readings for the summer (and beyond) for you, your friends, and your former teachers:

1. Gardner, Martin. (1979). The Ambidextrous Universe. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. $4.95.
2. Bundy, McGeorge; Crowe, William J. (Admiral), and Drell, Sidney D. (1994). Reducing the Nuclear Danger: The Road Away from the Brink. New York: A Council on Foreign affairs Book. $14.95.
3. Science Section in the Tuesday edition of the New York Times
4. Hazen, Robert M. and Trefil, James. (1991). Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy. New York: Doubleday Books. $19.95.
5. Shakhashiri, Bassam Z. Chemical Demonstrations: A Handbook for Teachers of Chemistry, Vol. 1 (1983), Vol. 2 (1985), Vol.3 (1989), & Vol. 4 (1992). Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. $25.00 ea.
6. Feldman, David. (1987). Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise? and Other Imponderables. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. $7.95.
7. Hoffmann Roald, (1995) THE SAME and NOT THE SAME, New York: Columbia University Press. $29.95.
8. Drake, Frank and Dava Sobel. (1992) IS ANYONE OUT THERE? The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. New York: Delacorte Press
9. McGee, Harold, The Curious Cook, (1990), Collier Book, MacMillan Publishing Company, New York, $13.00
10. McGee, Harold, On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, (1984), Collier Book, MacMillan Publishing Company, New York, $21.00
11. Djerassi, Carl, The Pill, Pygmy Chimps, and Degas' Horse, (1992) Basic Books. The autobiography of the "father" of the birth control pill, who is also a novelist, poet, art collector, and an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin (Ph.D. in Chemistry) who recently received an honorary degree from Wisconsin.
12. Levi, Primo, The Periodic Table, (1984), Schocken Books, A memoir by the Italian chemist, essayist, novelist, and survivor of Auschwitz.
13. Hoffmann, Roald and Vivian Torrence, Chemistry Imagined, (1993) Smithsonian Institution Press. A series of essays on chemical discovery, creativity, and personalities by Nobel chemistry laureate Roald Hoffmann, accompanied by images by artist Vivian Torrence.
14. Bohren, Craig F., Clouds in a Glass of Beer, (1987), John Wiley and Sons, New York $12.95
15. Sagan, Carl, Contact, (1985), Simon and Shuster, New York $6.99 paper back.
16. Sagan Carl, The Demon-haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, (1995) Random House, New York $25.95
17. Seaborg, Glenn T., A Chemist in the White House: From the Manhattan Project to the End of the Cold War, (1998), American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, $59.95
18. Hansen, Lee W., Academic Freedom on Trial: 100 Years of Sifting and Winnowing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, (1998), Office of University Publications, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
19. Dawkins, Richard, Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion, and the Appetite for Wonder, (1998) Houghton-Mifflin, New York, $26.
20. Wilson, Edward O., Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, (1998),. Knopf, New York, $26.
21. Frankel, Felice and Whitesdides, George, On the Surface of Things: Images of the Extraordinary in Science, (1997), Chronicle Books, San Francisco, $35, paper back $22.95.

Several students have asked about obtaining SCIENCE IS FUN T-shirts. University Bookstore for Kids at Hilldale Mall has them.

Also, students have asked about the television program ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS CHEERY IN THE LAB OF SHAKHASHIRI as shown on PBS and cable channels. Copies of the 1998 and 1997 videotapes are available. Check my web site for ordering details.

Both of the above items have been popular with students for their own use and/or as gifts to their former high school chemistry teachers and friends.


At the first class meeting, and virtually every time we met in the lecture hall, in my office, at exam times, at Bull Sessions, and elsewhere, via E-MAIL or in person, I have shared with you both in writing and orally my goals and expectations. At all times, I have attempted to provide you guidance, encouragement, support, and to nurture your development.

Of special interest to me is that you develop an informed and healthy attitude toward chemistry in particular and learning in general. Also, I want you to develop good study skills and habits to enable you to fulfill your intellectual and emotional capacities.

I wish you the best in your academic pursuits and in all your endeavors. I trust that some day you will look back at your experience in Chemistry 104 and judge it to have been rewarding. I have enjoyed and benefitted from my interactions with the class and with individual students.

I invite you to keep in touch with me via E-MAIL and postal mail. Why not stop by my office? Nothing can be more rewarding for a teacher than to hear from (and see) former students. Please keep in touch!

Thank you.