Organic Chemistry

1: Organic Molecules and Chemical Bonding



  • Organic Molecules


  • Chemical Bonds


  • Organic Chemistry


  • Bon voyage


Preview Organic chemistry describes the structures, properties, preparation, and reactions of a vast array of molecules that we call organic compounds.  There are many different types of organic compounds, but all have carbon as their principal constituent atom.  These carbon atoms form a carbon skeleton or carbon backbone that has other bonded atoms such as H, N, O, S, and the halogens (F, Cl, Br, and I).


We frequently hear the term “organic” in everyday language where it describes or refers to substances that are “natural”.  This is probably a result of the notion of early scientists that all organic compounds came from living systems and possessed a “vital force”.  However, chemists learned over 170 years ago that this is not the case.  Organic compounds are major components of living systems, but chemists can make many of them in the laboratory from substances that have no direct connection with living systems.  Chemically speaking, a pure sample of an organic compound such as Vitamin C prepared in a laboratory is chemically identical to a pure sample of Vitamin C isolated from a natural source such as an orange or other citrus fruit.


Your journey through organic chemistry will be challenging because of the large amount of information that you will need to learn and understand.  However, we will explore this subject in a systematic manner so that it is not a vast collection of isolated facts.  What you learn in one chapter will serve as building blocks for the material in the chapter that follows it.  In this sense, you may find that organic chemistry is different from general chemistry.  That course consists of a variety of discrete topics usually divided into separate segments in textbooks.  In contrast, your organic chemistry instructors will present a course in which each new topic uses information from previous topics to raise your understanding of organic chemistry to successively higher levels.


This chapter provides a foundation for your studies of organic chemistry.  It begins with an introduction to the important classes of organic molecules followed by a description of

(4,5,9,11,12/98)(1,9,10/99) Neuman Chapter 1


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