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Chemistry

Chemistry courses are typically split between three broad and overlapping sub-disciplines: Physical, Inorganic & Organic. The degree will expand upon your knowledge of Chemistry and Maths A Level.
βŒ›οΈLast updated: Aug. 6, 2020, 8:19 a.m.

Application Resources

Here are some general resources related to Chemistry. These should be a useful introduction, regardless of which Chemistry-related course you’re interested in and where you might want to study it.

Online Support

This is a really great resource for supporting your school studies and expanding your thinking, by offering an extension beyond A Level / equivalent material. It will come in handy both in achieving the grades you want and in preparing you for university.

Chemguide πŸ”— 🌟 Of particular recommendation are the pages on orbital hybridisation; the esterification mechanism; and proton NMR.

Online Articles

It’s useful to start reading about chemistry and the way that scientists write about their findings. Use these to get used to the style, develop your knowledge, and find new areas of interest. Take notes and follow up anything you’re interested in (by looking up references or via Google) - this process could end up forming part of your personal statement.

Chemistry Libre Texts πŸ”— A useful resource for supplementary reading and covers the topic of thermodynamics particularly well and accessibly.

Chemistry World πŸ”— 🌟 A publication by the Royal Society of Chemistry, reporting on recent research in quite an approachable format. Chemistry is a practical subject with an application focus so many of the articles are a helpful introduction to science in print.

The Oxford Scientist Magazine πŸ”— A student-run Science publication at the University of Oxford. They also run School science writing competitions.

Videos

These videos are a fun way to engage with Chemistry outside of school. Watch to get a feel for what makes Chemistry exciting - and try to pay attention to what is going on scientifically. Make connections with things you already know about and follow these up - this is useful for developing your thinking skills (useful at interview and in admissions tests if applicable) and potentially in writing your personal statement.

Nile Red πŸ”— 🌟 A popular chemistry YouTuber with a strong emphasis on practical chemistry, ranging from synthetic organic chemistry to materials science. Fun, engaging and a particular emphasis on explaining the underlying chemistry.

Explosions and Fire YouTube channel πŸ”— Another chemistry YouTuber with an interest in wacky chemistry from the early 20th century. Not exactly health and safety compliant, and we do not condone you replicate anything you see there!

Books

Several of these books are considered 'core texts' which may be referenced frequently during your lectures or other teaching at university. These are useful for deepening your knowledge, and going beyond the school curriculum. Follow what interests you, and again research independently anything that particularly confuses or engages you! You can use this process of reading one thing, then another, then (maybe) another, to form part of your personal statement. You may also find this extra reading useful in an interview setting, if applicable.

'Why Chemical Reactions Happen' by J. Keeler & P. Wothers. A popular pre-university book that introduces in more detail how thermodynamics determines both physical and chemical reactions and how molecular orbital theory can be used to describe bonding in molecules.

'Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements' by H. Aldersay-Williams. A fascinating cultural history of the elements that explores not only their discovery, but also their use throughout the past and the present day.

'The Structure of Scientific Revolutions' by T. Kuhn. Perhaps the most influential book written about science in the last century that also brought us the concept of paradigms. An interesting discussion of a model of how science works with a particular emphasis on the discovery of oxygen and the chemical revolution.

'What is Chemistry?' by P. Atkins. Peter Atkins is a formidable character and his huge popular science authorship is no exception. A very insightful piece on the real-life applications of chemistry and its impact on the natural world.

'Reactions The Private Life of Atoms' by P. Atkins. Another one of Peter Atkins’ Popular Science range. It gives a very good idea of the visualisation of atoms and molecules that will prove helpful in University-level Chemistry studies.

'Chemistry3'. A huge book, which you may be able to find in a library. It does have some very useful material to ease the transition between A-Level and University, but by no means must be read cover to cover (a formidable task!).

Image credit: Gonville and Caius by Akil Hashmi