• University of York

Exploring Everyday Chemistry

Explore the organic chemistry behind perfume, medicine, brewing and sport from one of the UK's leading universities

24,548 enrolled on this course

Exploring Everyday Chemistry
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    5 hours
  • 100% online

    Learn at your own paceHow it works
  • Unlimited

    $23.33/monthLearn more

This free online course explores a range of chemistry-based topics relating to our everyday lives, with an emphasis on the important role of organic chemistry – the study of carbon-containing organic compounds. Activities include experimenting ‘in the kitchen’ with hands-on projects ranging from extracting a plant fragrance, to testing the activity of spices against microbes. The course will be particularly useful for sixth formers who are interested in developing independent learning skills to help the transition to university.

Use real-life examples to study organic compounds

During each week of the course, we will use real-life examples to show you how an understanding of the structure and shape of organic compounds can be used to explain their reactivity and properties.

Week 1: The chemical attraction of perfumes and pheromones

We’ll identify a range of natural and synthetic attractants; understand current theories that help to explain how chemical structure is related to smell; and make a molecular model.

Week 2: The race for new antibiotics

We’ll describe the mode of action of antibiotics; understand bacterial resistance; identify promising new areas of research to design smarter drugs; and explore pattern recognition in structure-activity relationships.

Week 3: The chemistry of brewing

We’ll describe the process of brewing; identify key flavouring compounds in beer, tea and coffee; understand the role of modern analytical methods; and analyse spectroscopic data.

Week 4: The chemistry of sport

We’ll explore innovations that are changing the game; identify modern materials that improve performance and aid protection; and model the structures of polymers.

Learn with organic chemistry experts from the University of York

The University of York is a centre of excellence in chemical education, being the home of Salters' Advanced Chemistry (Science Education Department), the A-level magazine Chemistry Review, and it has a notable history and track record in outreach, principally by our CIEC group, including The Essential Chemical Industry website.

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What topics will you cover?

  • Chemical attraction - perfumes and pheromones
  • The race for new antibiotics
  • Understanding brewing
  • Chemistry in sport - innovations that are changing the game

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify a range of natural and synthetic attractants
  • Discuss current theories that help to explain how chemical structure is related to smell
  • Describe the mode of action of antibiotics and understand bacterial resistance
  • Describe promising new areas of research to design smarter drugs
  • Engage with the process of brewing, and identify key flavouring compounds
  • Discuss the role of modern analytical methods

Who is the course for?

The course is designed for anyone with an interest in chemistry (a GCSE level of science is recommended), but will be particularly useful for sixth formers to aid the transition to study science at university.

You can use the course to support your UCAS personal statement and prepare for university study, by broadening your chemistry knowledge and developing your independent learning skills.

Who will you learn with?

Andy Parsons is a Professor of Organic Chemistry at York. His teaching has been recognised by a Royal Society of Chemistry Teaching Award; he is a Senior Fellow of the HEA & a National Teaching Fellow

Who developed the course?

University of York

The University of York combines the pursuit of academic excellence with a culture of inclusion, which encourages everyone – from a variety of backgrounds – to achieve their best.

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Unlimited

$23.33/month

Billed at $279.99 for a year

Endless possibilities!

  • Access to this course
  • Access to ALL eligible short courses with additional benefits, for a year
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Upgrade this course

$74

Unlock your expertise

  • All of the above* for this course only, plus a printed certificate when you’re eligible

*Excludes access to all eligible short courses with additional benefits for a year

Basic access

Free

Try before you buy

  • Limited access to course content for 6 weeks

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Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

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  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
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Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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