WuToWu #27: Midterm Madness, Holidays, and Arrow Pushing

Hi Jessica,

Welcome to the All Chemistry All the Time edition of WuToWu, since that’s basically what I’ve been doing for the past week. I had my first midterm yesterday at 8:30 AM. I understand that by 8:30 you are normally in your second class (if you count swimming as a class), but I’m usually eating breakfast at that time. The professor said that we should be getting our exams back by tomorrow, so if I seem sad in the next post…it’s probably not because I failed my midterm. Two weeks is way too long to be sad about a grade.

In between all the practice chemistry problems, there were three(!) holidays, Valentine’s Day, our Mom’s birthday, and President’s Day. Unfortunately, I spent Valentine’s Day working because the subsequent Sunday I had a five hour a cappella rehearsal, but the BSO trip was truly a great experience. It was my first time hearing Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite performed live, and it was incredible. I was also glad I got to talk about it with some of my friends who play woodwinds and the piano, because they had interesting perspectives to share.

One of my friends was a bit depressed about not having a date for Valentine’s Day (apparently the for first time since high school started), so we went to Felipe’s for burritos, and that seemed to cheer him up. Oh, we had also gotten PMT beforehand. Eat your feelings! Actually, don’t do that. It’s probably not healthy for you.

On Sunday, I decided to walk to church through a blizzard, which was simultaneously terrifying and awesome. Cambridge had turned into Hoth. The sidewalks weren’t plowed, so I waded through knee-deep snow until I realized I could just walk in the streets. No one was driving in those conditions. They were obviously smarter than I was, because I had come down with a cold by Sunday night and spent President’s day recovering and doing more chemistry practice problems.

Enough about me, let’s talk about you! You and your English electives… I would recommend Film Comp and that creative writing class if you’re looking for something easy, fun, and interesting. (I forget what the creative writing class is called, but last time I checked it was taught by Mr. Sharp). If you want something a bit more serious, I’ve heard that Shakespeare and Chaucer is an interesting class that 1) is not as hard as it sounds and 2) looks good on your transcript. Finally, if you want more Filppu, take Comedy Lit!

Finally, here’s your biweekly chemistry lesson! Here’s a picture:


Isn’t it pretty? Skeletal diagrams make it easy to focus on the pertinent parts of the molecule. In the diagram in which all the hydrogen atoms are displayed, the picture gets very cluttered, and it’s hard to tell what’s going on. But the skeletal diagram can also be confusing if you don’t know how to read it. Here’s how it works:

1) At every vertex of the skeletal structure, there is a carbon atom. (That includes the little antennae on the hexagon. There are carbon atoms at the tips of the antennae)

2) double bonds are represented by an additional line

3) non-carbon molecules (except for hydrogen) are displayed normally

4) if a carbon has less than four lines connected to it, assume that it is bonded to the number of hydrogen atoms needed to complete it’s octet.

The hydrogen bonded to the oxygen is displayed because it’s not bonded to a carbon. Another reason is that -OH is a functional group (more specifically, it’s an alcohol).

These skeletal structures help clarify which parts of the molecule are reactive. The hydrogen atoms bonded to the ring of carbons probably aren’t going to react, but the double bonds and the alcohol group definitely have to potential to react with another molecule.

Part of the fun of organic chemistry is getting to draw all kinds of funny skeletal diagrams which are made up of these functional groups:

Source: pinterest.com

Source: pinterest.com

Before I leave you, here’s a picture from Weeks bridge:

2015-02-17 14.41.04Ricotta.

P.S. You thought I forgot didn’t you? Well I didn’t. Your challenge, for posting late, is to compose a Shakespearean sonnet about bubble wrap, and post it on your blog. Take as long as you need.


One thought on “WuToWu #27: Midterm Madness, Holidays, and Arrow Pushing

  1. We need a diagram of arrow pushing for readers who took organic chemistry a long time ago. Even the record snow doesn’t make Peabody Terrace look better.

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