Intensive Seminars in Modern Chemistry (Online)

Open to students entering grades 11 or 12 or freshman year of college in the fall
I - June 29–July 17, 2020 (Course Filled)
Days & Time:
Monday-Friday, 9:10 a.m.–11:00 a.m. and 1:10–3:00 p.m.
Luis Avila and staff

One year of high school chemistry and two years of algebra. A year of previous study of either physics or biology is recommended but not required.

“I learned how to think and analyze in a scientific setting.” – Jack D. | New York, New York

“I learned the importance of collaborating with my groupmates especially in solving chemistry experiments and gaining information from the lecturers.” – Hreedi D. | Woodside, New York

Course Description

Chemistry, the central science, is the science of chemical bonds. Its focus is change from the cosmological to the subatomic scale, from events that happen on a geological time scale to those that occur instantaneously.

This course is designed for highly motivated students who want to strengthen their understanding of chemistry and current research methods. The daily program follows a seminar format, beginning with a morning online discussion about laboratory experiences, including animations and thematic videos, and culminating with afternoon online research presentations by faculty from Columbia University, sister academic institutions, industry, and National Laboratories.

Through individual and collaborative audio-visual assignments and class discussions, students learn to:

  • Integrate chemistry concepts across multidisciplinary fields
  • Search the chemical literature and properly cite scientific work
  • Perform effectively in a group setting by actively participating in discussions
  • Discover the ethical implications of chemistry in societal and global decision-making
  • Demonstrate problem-solving and critical thinking skills to review scientific claims

Students are expected to participate actively in class discussions and research seminars, complete a collaborative research project, and present their project in class.


Luis Avila

Luis Avila is a vibrational spectroscopist and a Columbia University Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Chemistry. He received the M.Sc. in chemical physics from Babes Bolyai University (Romania) and his Ph.D. in chemistry education from Columbia. His current research interests include vibrational spectroscopy of materials and chemical education. He is a reviewer for the Journal of Chemical Education and the Journal of Science Education and Technology, and he has published papers and monographs on vibrational spectroscopy and authored laboratory manuals on instrumental methods and procedures.

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Specific course detail such as hours and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.