Students: Use Your Resources!

Hello DePaul Students, Alumni and Friends! Dr. Grice here (@GriceChemistry). One thing we always tell our students in our classes is to use their resources to help them succeed. We want students to read their texts, come to class, go to course assistant (CA) and instructor office hours, and do practice problems so that they can improve. Everyone learns in a different way, so we want to give students various resources to learn how to tackle the concepts. But it doesn’t stop there. As a student you should be building your resume and networking while here at DePaul, so you can be prepared for your life after college (yes, it exists and we want to help you get there!). There are many resources on the internet that can be extremely valuable for other important parts of a student’s time here at DePaul (and beyond). In addition, if you start doing research or plan to go into a research/bench chemistry position, there are many great resources to help you learn about your projects and tackle the challenges that chemistry research throws at you. Maybe you need to write a thesis or research paper and you want to know how approach writing such a large document.  Maybe that TLC or column is giving you a lot of trouble. There are resources out there to help!

The Catalyst is a home for links to many resources to help you succeed.

We want the The Catalyst to be your go-to place for online resources. You will find many under the Links to Resources tab at the top of the page. We will try to keep the links updated as new tools come up, so go ahead and bookmark it! We’ve sorted them by area where they may be useful to you and have only included links to things that we have read and/or used ourselves. There’s a lot of not-so-great stuff out there on the internet and we want to help you sort through it by giving you this resource. Future posts to The Catalyst will be dedicated to introducing you to many of these. In the meantime, visit Links to Resources and dive in! All the best, -Dr. Grice

Here are a few links that I have put together for you based on input from faculty and staff.

Commonly Used DePaul Links

  • DePaul Academic Calendar
    It’s a busy world and you always need to know what’s coming up! We recommend putting important deadlines in your calendar well ahead of time (You do use a calendar, right? All of us professors live by our calendars. If it’s not on there, we’ll probably miss it!). I’ve got my calendar synchronized with my phone so I can always know what’s happening next!

Free Software

  • Mercury from the Cambridge Crystallographic Database Center
    Mercury is a free program for visualizing and examining crystal structures (CIF files and similar formats). Many papers have their crystal structures included as supplementary information and you can download them and then visualize and examine them with this program.
    Software for simulating NMR signals. Great for trying to figure out complex coupling systems or just to see how various coupling constants affect the appearance of signals

Career Development/Networking

  • DePaul Career Center
    The Career Center has a variety of fantastic resources and events to help you achieve your career goals.
  • LinkedIn
    If you do not have a LinkedIn account, open one now and join the DePaul University Department of Chemistry group! Many employers now work through social media and LinkedIn is a common site. We recommend making a professional site to highlight your skills before applying for jobs.
  • Researchgate
    If you are interested in continuing in academia, Researchgate is a great tool to start an academic network with other researchers across the globe.

Chemistry Research and Fundamental Chemistry Concepts

  • Chris Parker’s Chemistry Library Research Page
    We have a great Librarian, Chris Parker, and he’s put together a research guide page that’s really useful. If you are a DePaul Student, you can get your own SciFinder account  by following the instructions on his page.
  • Not Voodoo
    Chemistry research isn’t voodoo and this site is designed to help you navigate organic synthesis. Really useful information for everyone from beginners to advanced researchers.
  • Solvent Miscibility Chart
    Can’t remember what mixes with what? This chart has you covered! Always useful for doing reactions, extractions, crystallizations, and columns.
  • NMR chemical shifts by Hans Reich
    A very comprehensive site with a huge amount of data. Really useful if you are trying to identify NMR peaks in a reaction mixture.
  • pKa tables: Evans, Bordwell
    These tables have pKa data in water and DMSO for a wide variety of compounds. Very useful, as acid-base chemistry plays a critical role in many types of chemistry.
  • R/S Symmetry trainer
    Test your organic chemistry symmetry skills! 100 questions to practice R/S assignments.

Videos of Chemistry and Interactive Tools

Sometimes seeing something helps you understand it better than just reading about it or hearing a lecture about it. Here are some links to great videos or animations about chemistry.

  • Beautiful Chemistry
    Chemistry is beautiful, and this site has some wonderful high-quality videos of chemical reactions and processes.
  • University of Nottingham’s Periodic Table of Videos
    The U. of Nottingham has made a wonderful series of videos on every element (and more). We highly recommend them.
  • Symmetry @ Otterbein
    This fantastic online tool allows you to animate symmetry operations and see the 3-D transformations as they happen. Highly recommended for students in Inorganic Chemistry.

Writing and Communicating Science

Science isn’t science until it is repeatable and communicated to a broad audience. This includes writing journal articles, making posters, and giving talks, as well as other communication tools (like social media and this blog!). Below are some useful tools for those getting started in this process.

Well, there you have it. We would love to hear from you about other great resources you’ve found that help with these areas. Leave a comment with the link and we’ll check it out!


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