Exploring Everyday Chemistry

  • Categories Science
  • Duration 30h
  • Total Enrolled 0
  • Last Update February 8, 2021

About Course

University of York


This online course explores a range of chemistry-based topics relating to our everyday lives, with an emphasis on the important role of organic chemistry – the study of carbon-containing organic compounds. Activities include experimenting ‘in the kitchen’ with hands-on projects ranging from extracting a plant fragrance, to testing the activity of spices against microbes. The course will be particularly useful for sixth formers who are interested in developing independent learning skills to help the transition to university.


What topics will you cover?

  • Chemical attraction – perfumes and pheromones
  • The race for new antibiotics
  • Understanding brewing


Who will you learn with?

Andy Parsons

Andy Parsons is a Professor of Organic Chemistry at York. His teaching has been recognised by a Royal Society of Chemistry Teaching Award; he is a Senior Fellow of the HEA & a National Teaching Fellow



Who developed the course?

University of York

The University of York combines the pursuit of academic excellence with a culture of inclusion, which encourages everyone – from a variety of backgrounds – to achieve their best.

What Will I Learn?

  • Identify a range of natural and synthetic attractants
  • Discuss current theories that help to explain how chemical structure is related to smell
  • Describe the mode of action of antibiotics and understand bacterial resistance
  • Describe promising new areas of research to design smarter drugs
  • Engage with the process of brewing, and identify key flavouring compounds
  • Discuss the role of modern analytical methods

Topics for this course

22 Lessons30h

Welcome and overview?

Welcome to Exploring Everyday Chemistry ARTICLE
Introduction to the course VIDEO (02:29)00:02:29
Chemical attraction and organic compounds VIDEO (02:27)

Understanding chemical structures, naming and fragrance composition?

In this section we cover some of the essential chemical concepts needed to understand fragrances and pheromones, from drawing chemical compounds to recognising functional groups and naming carbon-chains.

Mechanisms and shape theory?

An introduction into acid-base reactions, nucleophilic substitution mechanisms and the concept of resonance.

Fragrant organic compounds from roses and oranges?

In this activity we will have a look at the organic compounds responsible for the highly recognisable smells from roses and oranges.

Organic compounds in pheromones?

In this section we will look at the organic compounds responsible for trail pheromones, alarm pheromones and sex pheromones in animals and question whether humans exhibit pheromones too.

Concluding thoughts?

Glossary - chemical attraction

Material Includes

  • Official Certificate

Target Audience

  • The course is designed for anyone with an interest in chemistry (a GCSE level of science is recommended), but will be particularly useful for sixth formers to aid the transition to study science at university.
  • You can use the course to support your UCAS personal statement and prepare for university study, by broadening your chemistry knowledge and developing your independent learning skills.