CHE 610, Chemistry of the Transition Metals

Spring 2007

Course Description and Syllabus



Meeting Times:          MWF 8:00 – 8:50 a.m.

Classroom:                  CP-111

Instructor:                   John P. Selegue, CP-11

Office Hours:             MWF 9:00–10:00 a.m. and by appointment (257-3484,


Course Description: A detailed treatment of the chemistry of the transition elements, lanthanides and actinides, including the structure of coordination complexes, bonding, reaction mechanisms and preparations. Prerequisite: CHE 510.


Syllabus:             Download pdf


Required Texts:

1. Physical Methods for Chemists, Second Edition, R. S. Drago; Surfside Scientific Publishers (1992).

2. d-Block Chemistry (Oxford Chemistry Primers 27), M. J. Winter; Oxford University Press (1994).

3. Mechanisms of reactions at transition metal sites (Oxford Chemistry Primers 10), R. A. Henderson; Oxford University Press (1994).


Optional Texts:

1. Chemistry of the Elements, Second Edition; N. N. Greenwood, A. Earnshaw; Butterworth-Heinemann (1997).

2. Structural Methods in Inorganic Chemistry, Second Edition, E. A. V. Ebsworth, D. W. H. Rankin, S. Cradock; CRC Press (1991). [Out of print]


Course Coverage:  The course will first introduce the major features of the transition metals, basically following Winter with additional material from Greenwood and other readings. Physical methods used to characterize transition-metal compounds, mainly based on Drago with readings from Ebsworth, will follow. Discussions of reaction mechanisms, mainly from Henderson, and selected applications for the primary literature will conclude the course. Additional readings will be placed on reserve in the Chemistry-Physics Library or provided as electronic files. 



Two exams will be given approximately at the midterm and during finals week (Wednesday, May 2, 8:00 a.m.).  The final exam will not be comprehensive. 

Any student with a legitimate conflict with an exam time must inform me in writing, according to University regulations in the University of Kentucky Bulletin, the Student Rights and Responsibilities manual or at


Research paper:

The research paper will be on a topic from the current chemical literature, at least six word-processed pages of text in addition to figures and references.  Each student will give a ca. 20-minute oral presentation based on the paper during the last week of class.  More details will be provided in a separate handout.


Problem sets:

Problem sets will be assigned about every three to four weeks. Keys will be provided as soon as possible after sets are turned in.



            Two examinations       35% each

            Research paper           20%

            Problem sets               10%


Grades will be assigned according to this tentative scheme. These ranges may be lowered according to student performance, but will not be raised.

85%-100% A

75-85% B

60-75% C

50-59% D

<50% E


If you disagree with the grading on an exam or problem set, please submit it to me with a brief explanation of what you would like to be re-graded within one week of the return of the exam or problem set.


Make-up exams, special needs:

A student that misses an exam because of a legitimate excused absence as described above will be offered an alternate time to take the exam. Make-up exams must be completed within one week of the original exam date. If an exam is missed without an excused absence, a score of 0 will be recorded for that exam. If you need special accommodations for exams, please present written documentation within the first 2 weeks of the course.


Academic offenses, including plagiarism:

New rules about plagiarism and other academic offenses went into effect in Fall 2006. Links to these rules are found at the UK Ombud’s site,

All academic dishonesty, including plagiarism on the research paper, cheating on exams, representing another’s work as your own and modifying exams for regrading, will be dealt with severely in CHE 610.


Significant Dates:

January 10 – Classes begin

January 15 – Martin Luther King Day (no classes)

January 31 – Last day to drop without W on transcript or change grading option

February 7 – Last day to drop and receive any refund

March 9 – Last day to withdraw or reduce class load

March 12–17 – Spring break (no classes)

April 27 – Last class

May 2 – Final exam


Severe Weather Information:

University procedures in the event of severe weather are available at Announcements of the cancellation of classes or a delayed opening will normally be made by 6:00 a.m. through the local news media. Up-to-date information will be available from the UK Infoline at 257-5684, UK TV (cable channel 16), or the UK Web site at The University remains open under all but the most extreme conditions. If the University is open, classes and exams will be held as scheduled.


Recommended Study Aids:

There is a huge selection of inorganic chemistry learning aids on the www.  Try searching topics with to find sites that you like.


Notes, readings, assignments and downloads:


CHE 610 course syllabus


Literature of Transition-Metal Chemistry


Instructions for CHE 610 research paper


Nomenclature of inorganic chemistry


IUPAC recommedations on formulas (draft)


  1. Salzer, A., Nomenclature of organometallic compounds of the transition metals. Pure Appl. Chem. 1999, 71, 1557–1585. Article linked above.
  2. Block, B. P.; Powell, W. H.; Fernelius, W. C., Inorganic chemical nomenclature: principles and practice. American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 1990. Most generally useful resource. Shelved in the reference section of the Chemistry-Physics library.
  3. Leigh, G. J.; Favre, H. A.; Metanomski, W. V., Principles of chemical nomenclature: a guide to IUPAC recommendations. Blackwell Science: Malden, MA, 1998. Comprehensive overview of IUPAC nomenclature, including a good inorganic section.
  4. Thurlow, K. J., Chemical nomenclature. Kluwer Academic: Dordrecht; London, 1998. Inorganic section is very sketchy.
  5. International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. Commission on the Nomenclature of Organic Chemistry, A guide to IUPAC nomenclature of organic compounds: recommendations 1993. Blackwell Scientific Publications: Oxford; Boston, 1993. Organic nomenclature – useful for naming ligands.


Roald Hoffman's Nobel lecture on the isolobal analogy


Brief Web tutorial on isolobal analogy


Hitchhiker's Guide to Magnetism by Bruce M. Moskowitz


Problem Set 1 key (pdf)


Problem Set 2 key revised 3/23/2007(pdf)


Problem Set 3 key (pdf)