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Online course

Exploring Everyday Chemistry

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

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Exploring Everyday Chemistry

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Why join the course?

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.

Download video: standard or HD

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

  • 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

Andy Parsons is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of York. His textbooks include Chemistry3 (co-author) & his teaching has been recognised by a Royal Society of Chemistry HE Teaching Award.

Who developed the course?

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.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $69 you’ll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Access to tests

When you upgrade you’ll have access to any tests during the course.

  • Validate your learning
  • Ensure you have mastered the material
  • Qualify for a certificate

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to take any tests and score over 70%. You don’t get access to tests if you choose to take a course for free.

A Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your Linkedin or CV

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete, and score over 70% on any course tests.