Introduction to Biochemistry and Chemistry

Module code: NS1012

Module co-ordinator: Dr Dylan Williams

In this module you will explore the structure of microscopic objects from cells to molecules to atoms and begin to appreciate the connection between the structure of matter on the microscale and their macroscopic properties. For example you will consider how the properties of solids, liquids and gases can be rationalised by considering the behaviour of their constituent particles.

At the smallest scale the behaviour of particles is governed by quantum mechanics which controls the properties of atoms and their ability to bond together to form molecules. Using a problem statement based on a coded alien message you will work with glyphs which represent organic processes. You must decide what each glyph symbolises so they can be ordered to derive the process of creating lifeforms.

Topics covered

  • Atomic structure
  • Shapes of molecules
  • Hybridisation
  • Molecular orbital theory
  • Proteins, fats and carbohydrates
  • Cell structure
  • Isomerism
  • Intermolecular forces
  • Phases of matter
  • The foundations of solid state chemistry
  • Band theory and electrical conductivity
  • The gas laws
  • Kinetic theory and speeds of gases
  • Chemical equilibrium
  • Acids and bases
  • Introduction to quantum mechanics
  • Particle in a box


  • 5 one-hour workshops + 4 two-hour workshops
  • 8 lectures (1-2 hours)
  • 4 two-hour tutorials


  • Exam (35%)
  • Continual assessment (65%) - including 4 sets of core learning exercises, a group wiki and an interview