cod. 1004453

Academic year 2023/24
2° year of course - First semester
- Franca ZANARDI
Academic discipline
Chimica organica (CHIM/06)
Discipline chimiche
Type of training activity
40 hours
of face-to-face activities
5 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit


Learning objectives

At the end of the course, the student is expected to acquire knowledge and competence on basic organic chemistry. In particular, the student achieves the following targets:
1. knowledge of the basic functional groups and application of this knowledge for the classification of simple organic molecules;
2. knowledge, understanding and application of the structural representation of simple organic molecules and their visualization in the three-dimensional space also with the help of molecular models;
3. knowledge and understanding of the basic physical-chemistry principles (chemical equilibria, structural theory, thermodynamics and kinetics of organic reactions, acids and bases, nucleophiles and electrophiles);
4. knowledge, understanding and prediction of the relationship between the structure of simple organic molecules (containing the functional groups detailed in the contents section) and their physical properties, in particular their solubility in aqueous or non-aqueous solvents;
5. knowledge, understanding and prediction of the relationship between the structure of simple organic molecules (containing the functional groups detailed in the contents section) and their reactivity (chemical behavior), and application of this ability by solving suitable exercises;
6. knowledge and understanding the methods of synthesis (preparation) and interconversion of simple organic molecules (containing the functional groups detailed in the contents section) and application of these methods for the solution of suitable exercises dealing with the synthesis and transformation of unknown organic molecules;
7. knowledge of the international rules for the nomenclature of simple organic molecules (containing the functional groups detailed in the contents section) and their application in the nomenclature of unknown molecules, also by solving suitable exercises;
8. ability to convey the contents of the course to a specialized audience using appropriate scientific language (both written and oral) (communication skills);
9. understanding the role of organic chemistry basics in the study of drugs and living organisms; ability to link the contents of the course to those of neighboring chemical disciplines (making judgements; learning skills).


To fully appreciate the content of the class, it is necessary to acquire knowledge of general and inorganic chemistry in a previous class. To access the final exam, it is necessary to pass the “General and Inorganic Chemistry” exam.

Course unit content

The introduction of the course is devoted to a general presentation of organic chemistry as a scientific discipline, with a brief overview of its historical background and a highlight of the significance and impact of organic chemistry on contemporary science, culture, and life. Basic principles are then given, emphasizing the key connections between the structure of organic compounds and their physical-chemical properties, recalling some general concepts from the General Chemistry class, including thermodynamics principles, the kinetics and the structural theories. The key concepts of covalent and ionic bonds, molecular geometry, resonance, reaction diagrams, acids and bases in organic chemistry, and isomerism are given (conformational and configurational isomers) and an emphasis is placed to stereoisomerism.
The second part of the course comprises the systematic study of basic organic compounds including the structure, nomenclature, natural occurrence, physical properties, reactivity, and main synthetic methods of alkanes, cycloalkanes, alkenes, and alkynes. In addition, the general structure and nomenclature of alkyl halides, amines, alcohols, polyols, thiols, ethers, epoxides is given.
During the class, a series of exercises are proposed and solved at the blackboard or graphic table, with the purpose to applying the principles and concepts into a “real-world” context. These exercises are open for free discussion between teacher and students and they are considered an essential part of the class.

Full programme

Genesis and development of the science of organic chemistry. Main functional groups of simple organic compounds. The carbon atom as a focal element in organic chemistry: electronic configuration, hybrid orbitals, oxidation number within a molecule, valence, electronegativity. Classification of the main classes of organic compounds based on the functional groups and the oxidation number of the carbon atom within them. Radical carbon atom, carbocation, carbanion.
Configurational and conformational isomers. Conformational analysis of linear alkanes and cycloalkanes, in particular mono- and polysubstituted cyclohexanes. Graphical representation of organic molecules (zig-zag, pseudocyclic, Fischer projection, Newman projection along carbon-carbon bond axis). Constitutional isomers and stereoisomers. Chirality of organic molecules, enantiomers, diastereoisomers, compounds possessing two or more stereocenters, R and S descriptors, meso compounds, geometric isomerism. Introduction to the separation of racemates. Significance of chirality in biology and drugs.

Recalling the concepts of chemical equilibrium, equilibrium constants and relationship with the variation of free energy in a given reaction. Reaction kinetics, activation energy, energy profile of a reaction. Thermodynamic and kinetic control of an organic reaction. Catalysis: general concepts.
Reaction mechanisms, use of curly arrows for their representation. Resonance structures. Representation of radical or ionic reaction mechanisms. Nucleophiles and electrophiles: definition, classification, examples, factors influencing their behavior.

Acid and basic organic compounds. Definition according to Bronsted-Lowry and Lewis. Acid-base equilibria, pKa, equilibria position, dependence of the position of the equilibria upon pH. Factors influencing their behavior. Main solvent classification in organic chemistry. Relationship between the molecular structure of a simple organic compound and its solubility in aqueous/non-aqueous, protic/aprotic, polar/apolar solvents.

Radical halogenation of alkanes and regioselectivity issues (introduction). Brief introduction to organometallic compounds; Grignard reagents.
Electrophilic addition reaction to the carbon-carbon double and triple bond: mechanisms, regioselectivity, stereoselectivity.

Aliphatic domain. Structure, nomenclature, natural occurrence, physical properties, reactivity, and synthesis of: alkanes, cycloalkanes, alkenes, alkynes. Structure and basic nomenclature of alkyl halides, amines, alcohols, vicinal diols, thiols, aliphatic ethers, and epoxides.


Choose ONE of the following textbooks (MANDATORY) (the same for both modules):

1. J. Gorzynski Smith, "Fondamenti di Chimica Organica", Quarta Edizione, McGraw-Hill Education, 2023
2. W. H. Brown, T. Poon, “Introduzione alla Chimica Organica”, VII Edizione, EdiSES, Napoli, 2023
3. D. Klein, "Fondamenti di Chimica Organica", Pearson Ed., 2016

Choose ONE of the following exercise books (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) (the same for both modules):
1. M. V. D’Auria, O. Taglialatela Scafati, A. Zampella, “Guida Ragionata allo Svolgimento di Esercizi di Chimica Organica”, Quinta Edizione, Loghia Ed., Napoli, 2020.
2. D.R. Benson, B. Iverson, S. Iverson, -Guida alla soluzione dei problemi da "Introduzione alla Chimica Organica della II edizione di W.H. Brown", EdiSES, Napoli.
3. T.W.G. Solomons, C.B. Fryhle, R.G. Johnson, “La chimica organica attraverso gli esercizi”, Seconda Edizione, Zanichelli, Bologna, 2010.
4. G. Broggini, C. Loro, G. Palmisano, "Chimica Organica-800 esercizi con soluzione", Zanichelli, 2022.

Further readings for consultation (at the Campus library):
-W.H. Brown, B. L. Iverson, E. V. Anslyn, C.S. Foote, “Chimica Organica”, VI Edizione, EdiSES, Napoli, 2019
-P.Y. Bruice, “Chimica Organica”, Terza Edizione, EdiSES, Napoli, 2017
-Autori vari, “Chimica Organica” (a cura di B. Botta), Seconda Edizione, Edi.Ermes, Milano, 2016
-J. CLAYDEN, N. GREEVES, S. WARREN, “Chimica Organica”, PICCIN Ed., Edizione Italiana sulla seconda in lingua inglese, 2023.
-J. Clayden, N. Greeves, S. Warren, P. Wothers, “Organic Chemistry”, Oxford Edition, 2001
-R. Norman, J.M. Coxon, “Principi di Sintesi Organica”, 2a EdizioneItaliana, Piccin Editore, Padova, 1997
-L. Kürti, B. Czakó, “Strategic Applications of Named Reactions in Organic Synthesis”, Elsevier Academic Press, 2005.

Further material loaded on Elly includes:
-slides of the lessons;
-exercises (with separate solutions) for each subject matter;
-several copies of the text of written exams (with separate solutions) of the past academic years

Teaching methods

The class is carried out through frontal oral lessons at the blackboard (total 40 hours corresponding to 5 CFU) including exercises. The exercises are carried out by either the teacher or the students and are considered an essential part of the class to be able to:
-applying the theory to solve practical problems dealing with the contents of the course;
-verifying the status of knowledge before going on to the subsequent subject;
-acquire a method for the execution of execises.
The student is expected to read and study the contents of the lessons by him/herself by using notes and textbook, and applying this knowledge in the execution of exercises, including both the exercises made in classroom, and exercises in the textbook and study guides.
The teacher is available for further explanations about theory and exercises at the end of the lesson, during the break, or in office, upon agreement with the teacher via e-mail.
The teacher makes use of additional teaching material (slides), which is loaded on the Elly platform; this material is considered of help to the students but DOES NOT REPLACE the textbook (which is mandatory) and the exercise study guide.
Several copies of the text of written examinations of the past academic years are loaded and updated in the Elly platform, to provide further tools
in preparation of the examination.

Assessment methods and criteria

To verify the level of knowledge and learning of the student, a written examin is mandatory (1 hour), consisting of 7 or 8 open-answer questions having different weight and corresponding to a score detailed in the text. The result is marked in thirtieth, with a minimum pass of 18; it contributes for the 45% of the final quotation of the whole examination. To access the final oral exam and subsequent recording, it is also necessary to pass the written exam of the second module (Organic Chemistry). It is possible to carry out the written exam of both modules (Organic Chemistry Basics and Organic Chemistry) in the same date, since they are given at different times. To access the written exam, the student must register on-line (via Essetre) in the dates according to the official exam schedule of the Department of Food and Drug. In addition, the teacher will propose a written exam “in itinere” (November), whose positive result will dispense the students to take the exam later. The successful written test has a validity of about 6 months, and the student must take the remaining tests (written exam of Organic Chemistry and oral test) within this period. The written exam is held in PRESENCE.
Whichever the modality of the examination (in presence or remote), no books, notes, nor web-related material are permitted during the examination; possible compensatory material will be allowed to students with DSA or BES, which will be agreed upon with the teacher at least one week before the examination.
The written exam is judged positive (superior or equal to 18/30) when the student demonstrates knowledge and learning of the nomenclature of basic organic molecules, acid-base reactions, writing the structure of simple organic molecules including different conformations and configurations.
The laude (30/30 cum laude) is assigned as a maximum quotation when all questions are correctly answered and when specialized language is
used. The result of the written exam is given within one week from the date of the same exam and anyway before the date of the oral exam of the same session via Essetre portal. The student is expected to view his/her work (either successful or failed), which is consigned the day of the oral session. If the student cannot be present that day, he/she has to inform the teacher by e-mail; the teacher will show the work to the student on another date, to be fixed with the student.

Other information

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