All right, so we know the basics about chemistry: what atoms are made of, what they look like (if we had super-powered zoom vision), and how they stick together to make the molecules we know and love (we’re looking at you, sugar and caffeine). Now it’s time to dive into what chemistry is really all about—and no, we’re not talking about controlled laboratory explosions, although that’s part of it. At the heart of this course are chemical reactions. How exactly do all those persnickety elements manage to bond together and make compounds? How come sometimes those reactions give off enough heat to burst into flames, and other times suck in enough heat from their surroundings to form ice? And most importantly, what happens if we fiddle with subatomic particles themselves? Can we make a fission-powered snow cone machine, or maybe a fusion-powered oven that will bake cupcakes faster? By the end of the term, we’ll know how atoms bond with one another, how to predict reactions, and what nuclear reactions are. Here are the major topics we’ll cover in this course: Chemical Equations and Stoichiometry: Chemical reactions involve reactants turning into products. It could be methane and oxygen combusting and turning into carbon dioxide and water, or it could be flour, sugar, baking soda, and eggs turning into a cookie. Same idea. The second one is just tastier. We’ll learn how the magic happens.Thermodynamics and Kinetics: Walking hand-in-hand with chemical reactions is energy, most often in the form of heat. We’ll explore which reactions are too hot to handle and which ones will make it so cold your tongue will stick to the light pole. O-chem and Environmental Chemistry: Did you know your body is a veritable beaker full of chemical reactions? Same goes with our environment. We’ll learn all about the chemical reactions that happen in the natural world, which will come in handy if you ever need to explain an unexpected bout of flatulence or why ocean acidification is pretty scary if you’re a coral reef. Nuclear Reactions: If you think throwing gasoline on a fire will make a big explosion, try splitting an atom. Scratch that. Don’t do either one. We can’t be held accountable for the damage it’ll do, and we’re not joking about the damage. We all know the devastating effects of nuclear bombs, but did you know that the Sun is a big ball of nuclear reactions, too? We’ll learn the finer points of fission and fusion, so can chat comfortably with Einstein if you ever meet him.