Biochemistry BSc/MSci

Science Fundamentals-1Y CHEM1003

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Chemistry
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

A course following on from Science Fundamentals 1X covering the fundamentals of chemistry, mathematics, physics and statistics, particularly as they apply to living organisms.


10-11 or 3-4 daily

Excluded Courses

Chemistry 1, Physics 1, Mathematics 1, Mathematics 1C, Mathematics 1G


Science Fundamentals-1X


Two class tests (20%), online tests (20%), two-hour final examination (60%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

To provide a broad understanding, at an introductory level, of the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and chemistry, particularly as they apply to living organisms.
To encourage the acquisition of general scientific skills relating interpretation and discussion of factual information and data.
To encourage a positive and inquisitive attitude to the personal investigation of science.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

In Mathematics the student will be able to:
Know the laws of logarithms.
Apply the exponential function to exponential growth and decay problems.
Apply logarithms and exponential functions to a variety of practical and other problems.
Convert between radian and degree measures.
Know how to use a calculator to find the values of the trigonometric functions and sketch the graphs of the trigonometric functions.
Know the basis and motivation for the development of differentiation.
Know and be able to apply the rules for differentiating combinations of the standard functions.
Know the connection between differentiation and rate of change.
Apply all of the above to a variety of practical and other problems.


Describe different types of scientific data sets (univariate data, including quantitative data (measurements or counts), categorical data, circular data and time-series).
Use graphical displays (stem-and-leaf plot, dot plot, histogram, bar chart, line plot, circular plot) and understand the description of data distributions (location, spread, shape).
Calculate numerical data summaries such as mean, median, mode, standard deviation, quartiles, coefficient of variation, five-number summary and boxplot, proportion, percentage.
Compare data distributions graphically and compare numerical summaries, including means, medians, percentages and coefficients of variation.
Explore relationships: bivariate data, measurement data, categorical data, scatterplots, tables, Pearson's correlation coefficient and its interpretation.
Fit regression lines, compute linear regression equation based on the method of least squares and make predictions and inverse predictions from a fitted model.
Perform transformations to linearity, illustrated by power laws and exponential laws.
Describe the need for statistical inference, samples and populations, generalising statistical findings to the population(s), sample statistics and sampling variability.


In Physics the student will be able to:
Know that static equilibrium occurs when forces are balanced.
Sketch streamlines around an aerofoil and explain lift.
Reproduce Archimedes' principle, and explain buoyancy.
Know the relative size of the gravitational force on the Earth's surface and on the moon's surface.
Describe the relative size of common forces at different length scales.
Describe the basic (Bohr) model of the atom.
List the types of radioactive decay.
Sketch the activity of a radioactive sample as a function of time, and indicate the half-life.
Know the basic definitions of galaxies, stars and planets.
Explain roughly how dating techniques work.
Explain why Kelvin's calculations of Earth's age were wrong
Know the difference between voltages and currents.
Know the relative sizes of voltages and currents which make the nervous system work, and compare them with the size of those which cause damage.

In Chemistry the student will be able to:
Know the special nature of water as a solvent, its polarity, and its ability to solvate molecules and ions.
Know about hydrogen bonding and its great significance in nature.
Use qualitative and simple quantitative aspects of ionic equilibria in aqueous media including concepts of electrolytes, acid and bases, hydrogen ion concentration, pH and its measurement.
Know about weak acid, bases and their salts.
Know the definitions of Ka, Kb, and Kw as well as of pKa, pKb, and pKw.
Calculate the pH of acid, base and salt solutions.
Know how to make acid and base buffer solutions and use the Henderson Hasselbalch equation.
Explain how carbonate and phosphate buffers are involved in biological systems.
Know how the extent of protonation of species in solution varies with pH and apply this knowledge to determine the extent of protonation of amino acids.
Explain in simple molecular terms why the rate of reaction may depend on physical factors such as size, shape, form, and temperature of the reactants.
Know the expressions showing how the rates of chemical reactions might depend on concentrations of reactants and define what is meant by rate constant.
Know how to determine the order of a chemical reaction from experimental measurements.
Know the form of first and second order rate equations and what is meant by a rate-determining step.
Describe concepts such as reaction co-ordinate, transition states, and activation energy.
Use the Arrhenius equation to relate rate constants to temperature.
Know the concepts of catalysis and the various ways it might come about (surface, acid, base enzymes).
Explain the concepts of enzyme catalysis, the Michaelis-Menten mechanism, the Michaelis constant, the maximum velocity and the maximum turnover number.
Know the importance of charge and polarity in determining properties, solubility and intermolecular interactions.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations)of the course's summative assessment.