Module Catalogues, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University   
Module Code: BIO105
Module Title: Chemical Principles of Life
Module Level: Level 1
Module Credits: 2.50
Academic Year: 2020/21
Semester: SEM1
Originating Department: Biological Sciences
Pre-requisites: N/A
This module aims to introduce to students the physical and chemical features of natural laws and the Earth's environment that allow life to exist and that have influenced its development. It will promote an understanding of the physico-chemical environment in which organisms exist, which will be relevant to the later development of biological principles on all scales from molecular biology to ecology. The module requires GCSE-level Chemistry
Learning outcomes 
A. Understand concepts of the energetic principles underlying life processes.

B. Comprehend how chemical structures and forces can build the complexity of organisms.

C. Explain how organisms can acquire and process energy from the environment.

Method of teaching and learning 
Course content will be delivered primarily via standard lectures, that may be accompanied by suitable lecture handouts (also available on the Web). Students will also be guided to sections of specific textbooks and if reading of specific reviews or sources literature is required then copies of these will be made available in the library for use by the students
At intervals during the module, revision lectures/exercises (up to 3 per module) will allow the students to self assess their understanding of the course.
Section 1: Life depends on energy

Lecture 1 Introductory lecture: The environment is hostile and the raw materials don't look promising. Life is highly improbable - but it happens. Introduction to the course and to the principles that can help explain how life is possible.

Lecture 2 Concepts and importance of energy. Forms of energy. Laws of thermodynamics.Creating order from disorder: entropy and life. Chemical and biochemical reactions/equilibria. How to make unfavourable processes work.

Section 2 The environment and the raw materials of life; Life needs to build complex

Lecture 3 Elements and atoms. Atomic structures: nuclei, electrons and orbitals. Isotopes, ions, valence. How atoms form molecules: bonding and molecular structure.

Lecture 4 Water is the medium of life. Why is water special Special properties of water. Hydrogen-bonding. Water as the solvent of life. Dissociation of water molecules: pH, acids and bases.

Lecture 5 Other raw materials: atmospheric gases and minerals Oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide: properties and need for fixation. Metals: valence states, oxidation and reduction, co-ordination. Examples of biological significance.

Section 3 Life is carbon-based: introduction to carbon (organic)chemistry.

Lecture 6 Why is carbon special Carbon-carbon and carbon-hydrogen bonding. Hydrocarbons. Multiple bonds (-bonds); multiple double bonds, conjugation and delocalization. Rings and aromatic structures.

Lecture 7 O, N and S are also important: properties depend on functional groups . C-O, C-N and C-S binding. Functional groups, e.g. OH, C=O, COOH, NH 2. Classes of compounds, e.g. alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, acids. Oxidation and reduction.

Delivery Hours  
Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab/Prcaticals Fieldwork / Placement Other(Private study) Total
Hours/Semester 28     2      54  82 


Sequence Method % of Final Mark
1 Final Exam 85.00
2 Midterm Exam 15.00

Module Catalogue generated from SITS CUT-OFF: 6/7/2020 4:14:20 AM