Why is Inorganic Chemistry not an available topic on Socratic?

1 Answer
Aug 1, 2016

Because Organic Chemistry is deep enough to warrant its own section, while Inorganic Chemistry by definition is not Organic Chemistry. It's also not General Chemistry.

Organic Chemistry involves fairly few major topics (reactions, mechanisms, synthesis, and thermodynamic/kinetic stability pretty much covers it), but plenty of reactions, including but not limited to:

  • Hydrohalogenation
  • Hydroboration
  • Epoxidation
  • Hydration
  • Hydrolysis
  • Halogenation
  • Olefin metathesis
  • Redox reactions (not the kind you learn with balancing in base/acid, but with processes involving alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids, and esters)
  • Reactions of carbonyl compounds (ketones, aldehydes, 1,3-diones, acetoesters, and more)
  • Reactions of amines, amides, imines, imides, . . .
  • And others

And furthermore, you have a great emphasis on knowing the reaction mechanisms, syntheses, and applications.

But these are distinct from General Chemistry thought processes and its curriculum. It's definitely more detail-oriented than General Chemistry.

  • You don't talk about reaction mechanisms in General Chemistry nearly as much.
  • You also don't do complex syntheses in General Chemistry.

So, it makes more sense to have those topics in Organic Chemistry. If any questions belonging in Organic Chemistry fall into the Chemistry category on Socratic, it's a coincidence.

Inorganic Chemistry focuses more on the main group elements, transition metals, and reactions NOT involving carbon, usually.

Some possible example topics here are:

  • Redox reactions (balancing in base/acid, with considerations of electrochemical potentials #E_"cell"^@#, and Latimer, Frost, and Pourbaix Diagrams)
  • Hard-Soft Acid-Base Theory (not necessarily acid/base in the literal sense, but charge density is a major factor here)
  • Complexation of transition metals with ligands, such as #"NH"_3#, #"H"_2"O"#, #"CO"#, and #"C"_5"H"_5^(-)# (cyclopentadienyl) in the context of Crystal Field or Ligand Field Theory.
  • Common lattice structures
  • Advanced Periodic Trends

Almost none of which actually involve carbon, or compounds typically considered "organic". You might call Inorganic Chemistry an extension to General Chemistry, but I consider General Chemistry as just for getting your feet wet, not exactly a particular category.