Many of you will not be exposed to journal articles until much later in your undergraduate
education. However, the peer-reviewed literature (as a published journal is known) represents the
foundations of the scientific communication.
Reading and writing scientific literature are key skills you as scientists and engineers need to
Thus, engaging you in reading this literature at an introductory stage of your education is the
primary goal of this assignment (project).
Working on this assignment, you will see that the diverse topics you learn about in the course are
central to the science occurring in research laboratories; they discover how much of science is
interconnected in today’s collaborative, multi- and interdisciplinary research; and you will
witness how fundamental and applied chemical research works to improve our global society.
The Overall Assignment
First of all you choose ONE topic from the following list that is of interest of you (or if you have
another topic that is of interest, please let me know as soon as possible): Please use google scholar for sources
Mercury in the arctic;
Ultra-cold atoms as superconductors;
Maintaining a salt water swimming pool;
Hydrogen from green resources;
The sulfuric acid industry;
Use/production of nitrogen in different applications;
Use/production of oxygen in different applications;
Production and use of ammonia using conventional or new methodologies;
Manufacturing solid state electronics;
The issue of global warming from a chemistry perspective;
Ozone depletion and how it occurred. What did the chemical companies do to alleviate
The objective of this assignment is to introduce you to research and scholarly publications in the
field of chemistry.
All credible research that wants to be published needs to be subjected to what is called the peer-
review process – a panel of your peers (other scientists in the same general field as you who
would be familiar with the underlying principles of your subject area, the techniques you used in
your analysis, and/or knowledgeable of the broader implications of your work) critique your
work both for content and presentation.
The content portion requires that the work be substantial, defensible, new, and serves to progress
The presentation portion requires that you have been able to convey your ideas and findings in a
logical manner that others in your field (often specialists like yourself) and hopefully interested
scientists in other disciplines (non-specialists) can comprehend.
There are literally thousands of publications directly or indirectly related to chemistry. The University subscribes to but a few hundred of these – so choose your topic early as you
may have to wait a week or two if you want to use an article in a journal we do not subscribe to.
That being said, we do subscribe to some very good journals in chemistry and in related
disciplines that would be appropriate.
What makes a good article?
Try to find
that relate broadly to a topic covered in CHY 131, and/or described in on
the topics listed above, and that is not too complicated so as to be technically impossible to
decipher, it should be current (recent within last 5 years), and most importantly, of interest to
Your article must represent some experimental research – the easiest way to recognize a peer-
reviewed experimental article is it will have Abstract, Introduction, Methods/Experimental,
Results, and Discussion sections (followed by a list of publications). I have attached a typical
example to this paper.
You can look in pure and applied chemistry journals, or journals in other related disciplines such
as biochemistry and biology, earth science and geography, engineering, physics, and medicine.
Popular science magazines are not appropriate.
The review should be written to show that you have tried to tackle the scientific content and have
been able to comprehend at least to some extent the basic premise of the articles.
Your goal is to summarize in 10 pages (11 or 12 pt font, 1.5 spaced, 1” margins) the basic
findings of the papers, the techniques used in the analysis if appropriate, and the conclusions or
directions in continuing the research. You should also add something describing how the
different papers you chose are related or not related to each other. Do the contradict each other,
or do they complement each other. Summarize your thoughts and findings form the papers.
Like all good writing, it should conform to general guidelines with a brief introduction for
background, a few paragraphs summarizing the article details, a conclusion of the overall
findings, and a full citation of the article using ACS reference style.
In addition, you should provide a final paragraph or two of a more personal note – were the
articles informative, did you find out something interesting, was it incredibly difficult to read and
understand, was there something specific about them that caught your attention initially or was
finding a good article(s) quite difficult.
If you require assistance in formatting your document according to the above requirements, or in
choosing a journal, topic, or article, please email me immediately.