Computers in Science (CHEM 325) is designed to introduce students to the use of computers as tools for data analysis, problem solving and data presentation. This is a hands-on course. In most classes the student will be seated at a computer either following the direction of the instructor or working on a problem with help available from the instructor as needed. Students who successfully complete the course will be able to use a computer to do unassisted and productive data analysis, data presentation and problem solving.



The course manual is required and is available in the bookstore.




There are no course prerequisites but students should be familiar with how to use Windows and with basic file manipulations.



MWF 9:10-10:00




MWF 10:10-11:00, MW 3:10-4:00, T 4:10-5:00, F 1:10 2:00 or by appointment

Office : Byrd Center 315 304-876-5430





Students are expected to attend all classes. Makeup assignments will not be available without a valid written excuse.




Cheating in all its forms, including plagiarism and cheating on visual work, is considered an academic matter and will result in automatic dismissal from the course and will be recorded on the official transcript.


Computer Lab

The class will generally meet in the computer lab (White 204 or 209). In most classes, the student is at a computer either being guided through the use of software or working on an assignment with the instructor available for help. If a class is to meet elsewhere (for a lecture, demo, etc.) the special location will be announced in the previous class.




The final grade will be based on the following scale

A 90 % to 100 %

B 80 % to 89+ %

C 70 % to 79+ %

D 60 % to 69+ %




There will be 10 to 12 assignments and several in-class quizzes.


Assignments 65%

In-Class Quizzes 35%

FINAL Wednesday December 7, 2011 9:00 11:00 AM


Topics Covered

Data analysis with spreadsheets.

Working with numeric and text data

Creating and working with formulas in spreadsheets

Copying and moving data and formulas

Documenting a spreadsheet

Using built-in functions

Designing a spreadsheet to do repetitive calculations

Designing a spreadsheet that can be reused.


Calculations with spreadsheets

Entering complicated expressions

Using mathematical and statistical functions in spreadsheets.

Solving linear and non linear equations with spreadsheets solver tools.


Preparing scientific plots with spreadsheets.

Types of plots used in science.

Making a good XY chart, converting data to useful plots, formatting plots

Adding a least squares line and error bars to a plot.

Calibration curves

Creating a histogram

Making a histogram plot

Creating combination plots

Calculating and adding error bars


Linear Regression

Using linear regression to fit lines to data.

Making and using calibration curves

Determining uncertainties in quantities determined from linear regression

Modifying data to produce a linear plot

Using linear regression to determine physical quantities from slopes and intercepts

Using weighted least squares analysis


Using a spreadsheet for statistical analysis

Using statistical functions for data analysis:

standard deviation, confidence limits

correlation, t-tests, F tests, ANOVA




Creating user-defined functions

Creating and using macros

Basic concepts in computer programming - variables, decision making structures, looping structures, procedures


Word-processing for scientific reports

Generating, organizing and formatting tables.

Creating complex mathematical and chemical equations.

Preparing reports that include text, tables, plots, symbols and equations.



Preparing effective presentations for scientific reports

Transferring tables, graphs and pictures between documents