Thomas Poon
of Chemistry





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  CHEM51L (Topics in Forensic Science): As its name suggests, this course will explore the science behind the field known as criminology (a.k.a. forensic science). The focus is on chemical and physical methods used in modern crime detection. Topics change from year to year, but have recently included drug analysis, serology, fingerprinting, document examination, DNA analysis, nuclear chemistry, explosives, and arson investigation will be examined. There are six labs associated with the course (attentance is mandatory) in which we actually get to perform experiments using some of the techniques and theories we cover in lecture. Enrollment is limited to 32 students. There are no prerequisites (this is a nonmajors course). Laboratory fee: $50. Offered annually (usually in the spring).
  CHEM116L & 117L (Organic Chemistry I & II): The chemistry of organic compounds developed from considerations of bonding, structure, synthesis, and mechanisms of reaction. Almost every other science course a chemistry or biology major will take involves organic molecules in some way. This is the course you take if you are premed, prevet, predental, etc., and of course, the course you take if you plan on majoring in chemistry, biochemistry, or molecular biology. Prerequisite: Chemistry 15L or equivalent; Chemistry 116 is the prerequisite for 117. Laboratory fee: $50 per semester. Offered annually.
Visit for resources on learning organic chemistry.
  CHEM126L & CHEM127L (Advanced Laboratory in Chemistry): A survey of advanced laboratory techniques including physical and chemistry methods, analytical chemistry (especially instrumental methods), and synthesis and characterization of compounds. Prerequisites: Chemistry 15L, 117L, Physics 34 (or 31), and Math 31. 126L is prerequisite for 127L except with permission of instructor. Chemistry 121L, 122L (P-Chem) recommended as co-requisite. Enrollment limited to 18. Laboratory fee: $50. Offered annually.
  CHEM136 (Modern Molecular Photochemistry): This half course will explore the interaction of light with molecules and the chemical and physical changes that result. Emphasis will be placed on modern applications of photochemistry in the areas of synthesis, mechanistic studies, medicine, and materials science. Enrollment limited to 20.
  FYS017PZ (Science of Identity): This Pitzer College first-year seminar will explore the role of science in society's continual desire to categorize the identity of the individual. We will examine scientific topics (e.g. DNA, performance enhancing chemicals, etc.), discuss how they juxtapose with societal constructs (e.g. race, gender roles, etc.), and evaluate the consequences (e.g. discrimination, consumer trends, etc.) of these juxtapositions. Writing intensive.
PUBLICATIONS IN CHEMICAL EDUCATION (student coauthors underlined)
  A. Blackman, S. E. Bottle, S. Schmid, M. Mocerino, U. Wille, J. E. Brady, F. Senese, W. H. Brown, T. Poon, J. Olmsted III, G. M. Williams, “Chemistry,” John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.: Milton Qld, (2008)
    This textbook is a multi-author work created for the Australian and New Zealand market. The book combines aspects of general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry.    

W. Brown and T. Poon, Introduction to Organic Chemistry, 4th ed. John Wiley and Sons, Inc.: Hoboken, NJ (2010).

    This textbook provides an introduction to organic chemistry for students who require the fundamentals of organic chemistry as a requirement for their major. A special effort is made to show the interrelationship between organic chemistry and other areas of science, particularly the biological and health sciences. The text illustrates the use of organic chemistry as a tool in these sciences; it also stresses the organic compounds, both natural and synthetic, that surround us in everyday life: in pharmaceuticals, plastics, fibers, agrochemicals, surface coatings, toiletry preparations and cosmetics, food additives, adhesives, and elastomers. The textbook is also available in Italian, Japanese, and Chinese.    
  T. Poon and R. Ovadia, "Use of Tactile Learning Aids for the Visually Impaired in a First Semester Organic Chemistry Course," Journal of Chemical Education, 2008, 85, 240-242.
    This journal article describes two techniques for working with students with low vision in a first semester organic chemistry class.  
  H. P. Moeur, A. Zanella, and T. Poon “An Introduction to UV-Vis Spectroscopy Using Sunscreens” Journal of Chemical Education, 2006, 83, 769.
    This journal article describes an experiment that uses sunscreens to introduce students in 1st year chemistry to the Beer-Lambert Law and spectroscopy.  
  T. Poon “The Big Picture. A Classroom Activity for Organic Chemistry.” Journal of Chemical Education, 2004, 81, 513-514.
    This journal article presents a fun activity in which students of organic chemistry can participate.  
  T. Poon, B.P. Mundy, and T.W. Shattuck “The Michael Reaction” Journal of Chemical Education, 2002, 79, 264-267.
    This journal article details the history behind the Michael Reaction and its discoverer.  
  T. Poon, J.P. McIntyre, L.R. Eller, C.M. Norris, J.A. Oelrich, T.A. Pluim, C.F. Eller, K.M. Jones, W. Massello, A. Dorigo, M.A. Davis, H.K. Izumi, K.H. Kelley, M.L. Melamed, S.E. Poplawski, J.M. St. Clair, M.P. Stokes, W.C. Wheeler, E.E. Wilkes “The Preparation of a UV Light Absorbing Polymer: A Project-Oriented Laboratory Experiment for the Introductory Organic Chemistry Curriculum” Journal of Chemical Education, 1999, 76, 1523-1524.
    This journal article presents a multi-day organic lab experiment that introduces organic chemistry students to synthesis, product isolation, and spectroscopy.  
  T. Poon, S.A. Bodolosky, C. Norris “An Integrated Molecular Modeling and Melting Point Experiment for the Organic Chemistry Laboratory” Journal of Chemical Education, 1999, 76, 983-984.
    This journal article combines computational predictions with laboratory melting point determinations.  
  T. Poon, B.P. Mundy, J. McIntyre, L. Woods, F. Favaloro, C. Goudreau "Kinetic versus Thermodynamic Control in the Dehydration of 2-Methylcyclopentanol" Journal of Chemical Education, 1997, 74, 1218-1219.
    This journal article describes an experiment that illustrates kinetic versus thermodynamic control in a dehydration reaction to form an alkene.  
  S.P. West, T. Poon, J.L. Anderson, M.A. West, C.S. Foote “Extraction, Isolation, and Characterization of Fullerene C60” Journal of Chemical Education,1997, 74, 311-2.
    This article describes a simple experiment for obtaining C60 from commercially available soot.  

Last Updated 12/21/11

© 2007 Thomas Poon

The opinions expressed here are those of Thomas Poon, and do not represent official policies of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, or Scripps Colleges.