Useful educational links on atomic orbitals

Chemistry is not exactly one of the subjects I really like, not that I hate it (unlike biology, which I loath), but still there are some concepts in chemistry that can fly above your head like a supersonic Concorde of you blink even for a second in class.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happened, although NOT because of my fault. First there was the investiture ceremony, and then the recent quizzes (find posts on them in the sidebar) had me missing up classes for about two weeks in school. And although the topics WERE covered in out ARC classes, the teacher, an old chap, really makes me feel sleepy with his boring and long lectures. Consequently, anything related to atomic structure didn’t find an address on my brain.

Don’t you just love good ol’ Internet to help you out? A few taps on Yahoo! Search, and voila, I had what I needed. So I decided to post these cool resources on my blog, for the benefit of fellow students whom I’m sure are equally confused by the whole thing. The good thing about these sites is that the images of orbitals given here are far better, and actually helps you to visualise the scenario.

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, it’s all about orbitals, spaces inside an atom in which electrons reside. Electron configuration calculations are based on this, and an understanding of this concept is highly important if you want to make any headway in high school chemistry.

The Grand Orbital Table: Old-fashioned site. Lists the characteristics of highly complex orbitals. The site also has an orbital image generation program (called Orbital Viewer), in case you want to dabble with the thing yourself. All based on Schrodinger wave equations, I believe. Nice program.

The Orbitron: THIS is the site I’m most excited about. Frankly, a session on this site did wonders to my understanding of the concept, which no amount of blabbing by Ye Olde Man at ARC did. It has everything you need to visualise the topic – wave functions, radial density plots, electron density, dot structures, and equations of orbitals. To top that off, there’s helpful commentary along with each topic too. Of course, it will only make sense if you know a bit about orbitals; but no paper medium will EVER be able to give as accurate a depiction of these as this site. Kudos to Mark Winter, University of Sheffield, the creator of this resource.

I’m off to complete my ARC assignments now.

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