eCHEM 1A: Online General Chemistry

College of Chemistry
University of California, Berkeley

Developed by Professor Alex Pines
and Dr. Mark Kubinec with the support of The Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation.


Developed by Professor Alex Pines and Dr. Mark Kubinec with the support of The Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation

Curriculum & ChemQuizzes developed by Dr. David Laws, Dr. Mark Kubinec, and Professor Alexander Pines

Video Instruction by Mark Kubinec
Chemical Demonstrations by Lonnie Martin
Video Production by Jon Schainker, Scott Vento


This open-access online general chemistry video repository, offered not-for-credit and free of charge from UC Berkeley, provides students an introduction to the world of chemistry as seen from a broad variety of perspectives. With significant funding from the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation, we have created studio-quality video segments based on Chem 1A, a traditional large-enrollment general chemistry course offered by the College of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley.

The material is particularly suited to undergraduate science majors and high school students preparing for AP chemistry. High school or community college teachers can also adopt lecture videos or demonstration segments to suit their classroom needs.

With over 400 videos organized into 13 thematic Modules and further subdivided into 38 Lessons, this repository represents a wealth of open-access materials for students of general chemistry. Each Lesson contains roughly the same content as a face-to-face lecture, including the extremely popular ChemQuizzes found in the traditional course. These interactive quizzes offer time for students to pause and reflect before responding to conceptual questions related to the lecture segments. Please note that some ChemQuizzes may not be available when they are scheduled to appear in an upcoming Chem1A lecture at Berkeley. We will attempt to minimize interruptions on this website.

In addition, quantitative problem-solving methods are reviewed to solve in-depth calculations found in the Nuts and Bolts tutorials. Emphasis is placed on the step-by-step methodology and thought processes involved in solving exercises typically found on exams or in end-of-chapter selections in chemistry textbooks.

Also included are numerous exciting chemical demonstrations, from “Lonnie’s Lab,” that directly illustrate the power and colorful flare of chemistry; the demonstrations are often closely associated with lecture segments, ChemQuizzes or Nuts and Bolts tutorials to provide conceptual background and support.

Topics covered include:

  • the elements and periodic table,
  • stoichiometry of chemical reactions,
  • quantum mechanical description of atoms,
  • chemical bonding,
  • real and ideal gases,
  • thermochemistry,
  • introduction to thermodynamics and equilibrium,
  • acid-base and solubility equilibria,
  • introduction to oxidation-reduction reactions, and
  • introduction to chemical kinetics.

Given the modular nature of the video lessons, a linear progression through the material is not necessary; you can focus on content found to be most interesting or most challenging. We hope the UC Berkeley College of Chemistry eCHEM 1A video repository will serve as a powerful resource to strengthen and reinforce learning in chemistry.

View the eCHEM 1A video repository.

Mark Kubinic

Meet the Instructor

Mark Kubinec

Mark Kubinec received bachelor of science degrees in Biochemistry and Chemistry from Michigan State University (1989) and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley (1994). In addition to chemical education, Dr. Kubinec’s research interests are in applications of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy including molecular structure and function, materials analysis, and quantum computing. Dr. Kubinec directed the Digital Chemistry Project for the Chemistry Department at UC Berkeley from 2001 to 2006. The Digital Chemistry projects aims to provide quality, interactive chemistry course material that enhances chemistry instruction at UC Berkeley and is also freely and openly available online. Dr. Kubinec is a principal author and primary presenter of online content for the project. He is the recipient of a variety of distinguished teaching awards for excellence and innovation in the classroom and online.


Module 1: Atoms and Molecules

Lesson 1: Stoichiometry
Lesson 2: Atoms and Molecules

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to

  • Describe the basic structure of atoms and their nuclei and mass.
  • Describe the basic operation of a Mass Spectrometer and the information in a mass spectrum.
  • Convert between the number of atoms or molecules of a substance and its relative mass (the mole concept).
  • Balance chemical equation and calculate theoretical yields and limiting reagents.
  • Determine the empirical formula of a compound from chemical data.

Module 2: Waves and Particles

Lesson 3: Light Waves Absorption Emissions
Lesson 4: Light Particles and Duality
Lesson 5: Matter Waves

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to

  • Describe the characteristics of standing and traveling waves and convert between wavelength, frequency and speed.
  • Describe the properties of electromagnetic radiation (light), interconvert between frequency and wavelength.
  • Describe the wave particle duality for mater and radiation and calculate wave and particle energies, momenta and wavelengths.
  • Describe the nature of absorption and emmission in general terms.

Module 3: Quantum Mechanics

Lesson 6: Quantum Mechanics, H-atom
Lesson 7: Multi Electron Atoms
Lesson 8: Spectra and Shielding
Lesson 9: Periodic Trends

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to

  • Write the values quantum numbers and describe the orbital and atomic properties associated with each quantum number n, l, ml, ms.
  • Define paramagnatism and identify paramagnetic atoms.
  • Write a set of quantum numbers for an electron in an atom and electronic configurations of atoms.
  • Use quantum numbers to describe the numbers and types of orbitals that can exist and their shapes and orientations.
  • Predict and identify periodic properties of elements and periodic trends based on positioning in the periodic table and understand the quantum mechanical basis for periodic properties.

Module 4: Lewis and VSEPR

Lesson 10: Bonding: Lewis Structures
Lesson 11: Bonding: Resonance Oxidation and Formal Charge
Lesson 12: Bonding: VSEPR

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to

  • Determine valance and core electrons and the octet rule to draw Lewis structures and predict the best Lewis structure for a molecule.
  • Predict and draw three dimensional structures of simple molecules using Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion (VSEPR) theory.
  • Draw and describe isomers of a molecular formula; identifiy stereo isomers and chiral molecules.

Module 5: Molecular Orbitals

Lesson 13: Bonding: Molecular Orbitals
Lesson 14: Bonding: Hybrid Orbitals
Lesson 15: Bonding: Delocalization

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to

  • Predict and draw molecular orbital diagrams for diatomic molecules
  • Predict the hybridization around a molecule and bond angles and structural details associated with hybridization
  • Draw and describe a conjugated or delocalized molecular orbital on a larger molecule. Use the particle in a box approximation to estimate transitions.

Module 6: Gas Laws

Lesson 16: Gases: Ideal
Lesson 17: Gases: Kinetic Theory
Lesson 18: Gases: Phase Diagrams

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to

  • Describe the properties of gases on a macroscopic and microscopic scale.
  • Use the Ideal Gas Law, PV=nRT to determine the state of a system of a single gas or a mixture
  • Describe how the absolute (Kelvin) temperature scale is derived ideal gas behavior; understand when to use absolute temperature and convert between other temperature scales.
  • Calculate kinetic properties of gases based on their mass and temperature.
  • Calculate state functions for real gases and understand the deviations from ideality
  • Describe types and relative strengths of intermolecular forces
  • Use phase diagrams to predict the physical state of a pure substance.

Module 7: Energy

Lesson 19: Thermo: First Law
Lesson 20: ThermoChemistry
Lesson 21: Themo: Heat and Calorimetry

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to

  • Explain the difference between work, heat, temperature and energy and understand the units used in energy calculations.
  • Use the first law of thermodynamics to track heat and work flow and calculate energy changes.
  • Calculate heat transfer, enthalpy changes and internal energy changes using heat capacities.
  • Define Enthalpy, state functions, and distinguish between the change in internal energy and the change in enthalpy for a system
  • Understand the origin of the enthalpy change for a chemical reaction in terms of bond enthalpies of reactants and products.
  • Use standard enthalpies of formation and a balanced chemical equation to calculate the standard enthalpy change for the reaction.
  • Have a conceptual and operational understanding of calorimetric methods.
  • Use Hess's Law to calculate the enthalpy of reaction using enthalpies of known reactions.

Module 8: Direction of Change

Lesson 22: Thermo: Bond Energy
Lesson 23: Thermo: Second Law Entropy
Lesson 24: Thermo: Free Energy

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to

  • Understand the statistical (the distribution of energy across accessible microstates for a system) and thermodynamic (reversible heat transfer at constant temperature) views of entropy and how they are the same on a microscopic scale.
  • Recognize entropy as the driving force for all natural (spontaneous) processes.
  • Compare and predict the relative entropy of various systems.
  • Calculate Gibbs Free Energy and predict equilibrium position or spontaneity in systems.

Module 9: Equilibrium

Lesson 25: Equilibrium: Mass Action
Lesson 26: Equilibrium: Le Chatelier
Lesson 27: Equilibrium: Free Energy

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to

  • Explain equilibrium for physical and chemical processes.
  • Calculate equilibrium constants and use them to determine position and course of chemical reactions.
  • Predict the effects of disturbances to equilibrium.
  • Use the relationship between Free Energy and Equilibrium constants to predict spontaneity and convert between ΔG and K.

Module 10: Acid Base

Lesson 28: Strong Acids and Bases
Lesson 29: Weak Acids and Bases
Lesson 30: Acid Base Titration

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to

  • Write equilibrium constants for acid base reations.
  • Identify acids and bases in terms of proton transfer or electron transfer.
  • Understand how acids react with water and autoionization of water.
  • Calculate the pH or pOH of a solution and classify acidic and basic solutions based on pH.
  • Use value of K to determine acid/base strength.
  • Sketch titration curves for polyprotic acids with multiple pKa values.
  • Predict relative acid strength from the structure and composition of molecules.
  • Sketch titration curves and calculate the pH and various points in a titration.
  • Calculate solubility and precipitation of salts and understand the activity of ions in solution.

Module 11: Buffers

Lesson 31: Acid Base Buffers
Lesson 32: Biological Buffers and Polyprotic Acids
Lesson 33: Heterogeneous Equilibrium

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to

  • Describe the effect of a weak acid/base buffer system.
  • Calculate the pH of buffers and choose a choose buffers for specific pH ranges.

Module 12: ElectroChemistry

Lesson 34: ElectroChem: Cell Potential
Lesson 35: ElectroChem: Free Energy

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to

  • Describe how to construct a galvanic cell and reduce it to half cell reactions.
  • Recognize that a fuel cell operation is based on redox chemistry.
  • Rank half cells by standard potentials and understand how standard rankings arise.
  • Calculate cell potential for non-standard concentrations.
  • Calculate production in an electrolytic cell.

Module 13: Kinetics

Lesson 36: Kinetics: Rate Laws
Lesson 37: Kinetics vs Thermodynamics
Lesson 38: Chemistry vs Biochemistry

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this module, you will be able to

  • Recognize conditions that affect reaction rates.
  • Determine and use rate laws to describe the course of a chemical reaction.
  • Calculate half-life for a chemical reaction.
  • Sketch or identify characteristic plots for various rate orders.