Welcome to inorganic chemistry @MIT

In this course you are introduced to the key concepts of inorganic chemistry from a molecular perspective. We begin with the origins of the chemical elements themselves, and proceed to consider how atoms arrange themselves into molecules, beginning our study with compounds of the main group (s and p block) elements of the periodic table. Molecular shapes are discussed with reference to symmetry based tools that lend themselves to consideration of molecular orbital theory, molecular vibrations, spectroscopic properties, and potential energy surfaces for chemical reactions. Hypervalent and electron-deficient molecules are contrasted with typical organic systems, and then we embark on a descriptive chemistry sequence for the biogenic elements illustrated with examples highlighting their importance to energy, the environment, and sustainability.

With a firm grasp of entirely general structure and bonding principles, we proceed in the second half of the semester to the chemistry of the d block elements (transition metals). Here, practical applications in catalysis are used to illustrate chemical principles, drawing on examples from organometallic chemistry, bioinorganic chemistry, materials science, and metals in medicine. The beautiful colors of transition-metal complexes are explained in relation to the electronic population of the d orbital manifold, which is shown also to govern the magnetic properties of such systems. The intimate connection between d orbital electronic occupation and the rates of chemical reactions in metalloenzyme systems and in synthetic model complexes is elucidated. Electron transfer reactions integral to life are illustrated using simple synthetic complexes as well as the magnificent bioinorganic machinery of the photosynthetic oxygen evolving complex.