Ian R. Gould

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Ian R. Gould
President's Professor

(480) 965-7278
Office: PS D-109
Lab: PS D-126

Undergraduate Courses  |  Graduate Photochemistry  |  SPEAK Test   |  Philosophy |  Recommendation Letters

I teach two Undergraduate Courses:

CHM 233 : General Organic Chemistry I in the Fall Semester
CHM 234 : General Organic Chemistry II in the Spring Semester

Each has TWO sections: A Regular/Onground Class and an Online/Hybrid Class

Overrides Websites Regular vs Hybrid General Info Textbook/Model Kit Prep for O-Chem I Prep for O-Chem II
Unfortunately I cannot issue overrides for either of these classes, ALSO, I have no control over assigned seating, ALSO, I cannot reserve a seat for you. You can find the dates when the assigned seats are lifted on the ASU Class Search. However, there its always a lot of drop/add activity, especially at the start of the semester, and I have found that persistent students invariably find an open slot in either the regular on ground or the online/hybrid class. Please do not ask me to give an override, and please keep trying!

If you are trying to get into the regular onground class then you SHOULD register for the online/hybrid class if a slot opens, since you are welcome to attend class if even you are in the online/hybrid class, they are essentially the same, see below.
Neither class uses Blackboard, both use the same websites, which are:

chm233.asu.edu  for First Semester General Organic Chemistry I, CHM 233
chm234.asu.edu  for Second Semester General Organic Chemistry II, CHM 234
(these websites may be in the process of being updated for the up-coming semester)

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 Regular versus Hybrid Classes  
There are very few differences between the regular (onground) and the hybrid classes, the hybrid class is not an easier option.

Both classes use exactly the same lectures and all other materials. Both classes proceed concurrently at exactly the same pace. Both classes use the same midterm and final exams. The exams for the hybrid and the regular classes are at the same times on the same days as the regular class, they are just in different classrooms.

The lectures are recorded live in the regular on-ground class lecture room, usually LS A-191, and then posted later that day on the appropriate class website. Hybrid class students watch the recorded lectures. Regular on-ground students can also watch the lectures if they choose not to attend class.

Hybrid students are welcome to attend the live lectures if they wish to do so. In practice, many of the regular on-ground students watch the lectures online, and the classes quickly become "mixed", with many regular students treating the class as hybrid, some hybrid students attending lecture.

Students in both classes who choose not to attend class are responsible for keeping themselves up with the material. This requires some self-discipline for all students, onground or hybrid.

The scores for students in the hybrid class on average tend to be slightly lower than for the regular class. I don't believe that this is a consequence of the way that the material is presented to the hybrid students, since many students who register for the regular class treat the class as being essentially online. Many hybrid students do exceptionally well, some of the highest scoring students each semester come from the hybrid class. This is just a demanding class whatever form the material is presented.
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 General Information  
All of the exams for these classes are short answer type, there are no multiple choice question (even though some practice problems and some quizzes may be multiple choice). All students, no matter which class they are in, take the same written exam, on the same day at the same time. Students in the regular on-ground class take the test in LS A-191. Hybrid students take the exams in another classroom, which will be different each semester.

All class materials are available on the class websites, both classes use identical materials. The organic chemistry classes that I teach do not include topics such as proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates etc. These topics are not covered because I aim to teach the best organic chemistry course possible, and this will not include a superficial overview of biomolecules. To understand biochemically relevant molecules properly you will need to take a biochemistry course. Organic chemistry is a serious class, whether regular on-ground or hybrid. Many students will make sure that they take Organic Chemistry in a semester in which their class load is not heavy. It is easy to fall behind whether you are in the hybrid or the regular class. I find that there is little difference in the number of students who fall behind in the two classes.
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 Textbook and Model Kit  
This class does NOT use a textbook. If you feel that you would like to have a textbook for reference then a good one is Organic Chemistry, by Paula Bruice, however, just about all organic textbooks are the same. Used older editions of organic chemistry textbooks from Amazon are a fantastic deal, I have see a 5th edition of the Bruice textbook on Amazon for just a few dollars and it is essentially the same as the latest edition.

Many students will ask me if they should get the textbook. Unfortunately I am not able to give a satisfactory answer, since different students have very different needs. Some students are used to studying from a textbook or may want a permanent textbook to study for the MCAT. You have to make your own decision on this I am afraid. However, as mentioned above, my classes are built in such a way that a textbook is not necessary.

Note that the lab is a separate course, a book or manual for the lab course MAY BE required.

A Molecular Model Kit, IS REQUIRED for CHM 233. The best kit is the HGS 1013/1013A Organic Chemistry Set for Students. There is a more sophisticated version of the HGS kit, 1003 Organic Chemistry set C, however, the less expensive 1013 version works well enough for CHM 233. The 1013/1013A kit is available from Amazon, for ca. $20, you can also probably get it at the ASU Bookstore. Also acceptable (but not quite as good) is the Molecular Visions Darling Molecular Model Kit that may be in the ASU bookstore. There is also a Prentice Hall Molecular Model Set For Organic Chemistry, but DO NOT BUY IT. It makes pretty models but is terrible for CHM 233.
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 Preparing for Organic Chemistry I  
Although organic chemistry has a somewhat scary reputation, I do not recommend that you try to get a head start, or try to teach it to yourself before starting the first semester class. After all, this is what you pay me to do, and anyway, I want to make sure that you cover the material in a way that can only be properly done in class.

If you do want to do some work ahead of time, then maybe you should review concepts from general chemistry, that it is normally assumed that you know, although in reality we always take to time in class to review anyway, specifically:
• Atomic electron configurations and orbitals
• Electronegativity trends
• Drawing Lewis structures
• Qualitative (not quantitative) Bronsted acid base theory, the factors that determine acid strength
• Understanding of the meaning of pKa
• Understanding of very basic kinetics and thermodynamics, including reaction activation energies, relationship between free energy, entropy and enthalpy

In addition to this, you could go further to drawing line-angle organic structures

The class website from the previous semester may be available to you until is starts to get dismantled for the new semester, chm233.asu.edu. You are welcome to browse the site, watch some of the old lectures, but it may be a bit overwhelming and confusing until you get into the class. Also, you should NOT download any class notes you will find there since I usually change them a little bit each year.
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 Preparing for Organic Chemistry II  
If you did not take my first semester General Organic Chemistry I CHM 233 class, then you need to think about whether it is a good idea to take my O-Chem 234 class.

It is difficult for me to advise you either way. Most students who did not take my first semester class struggle in my second semester class. My classes emphasize understanding over memorization, and so if you are used to memorizing your way through organic reactions and do not have a strong foundation in Lewis acid/base theory, bonding, resonance and molecular orbitals then you will almost certainly not do well in my second semester class.

However, not all new students do poorly, some do very well and you could be one of those.

To help you to make your decision, take a look at my current first semester class website, lectures. notes etc. especially the exams, and see if you feel prepared to do what my current class is doing, chm233.asu.edu. You can also take a look at the second semester website, although it may be not very well organized if it is being prepared for the new semester: chm234.asu.edu Take a look at that material and then decide if your first semester class has prepared you for my second semester class.

If you did not take first semester organic with me then the good news is that I tend to cover less material than most other instructors. Specifically, my first semester class covers only alkyl halides and alkene reactions, I do not cover alkynes, alcohols or other functional groups. So, if you covered alkynes, alcohols etc in your first semester course you should be "ahead". However, I find that most students who didn't take my first semester class do less well in second semester, even in topics they have already covered, since they usually covered these topics too quickly and superficially. In addition, I spend a lot of time on the fundamental issues in my first semester class, and I expect you to know them since I will not have time to re-teach them second semester. In other words you REALLY need to understand resonance, hybridization, curved arrow pushing mechanisms, bond strengths and PREDICTING Bronsted acidity. If you know that you covered these topics but also know that you were never really comfortable with them, then you definitely need to make sure that you are up to speed on these topics.

I have a web page that is designed to help you review a lot of the material I need you to know, click HERE.

In particular, you will need to know, understand, and to use the following:
• How electron energies determine (almost) everything in General Organic Chemistry
• Fundamental Bronsted and Lewis acid/base theory
• Basic bromination and elimination reactions, INCLUDING radical bromination, which you may not have covered in your first semester class
• Resonance, this is VERY important, and is a common weakness coming into second semester organic chemistry
• Energy diagrams, and how they help us to understand organic mechanisms
• How to solve simple organic chemistry structure problems from mass, IR and NMR spectroscopy
Each of these topics, and many other first semester review topics are covered in the review page that is linked above.
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Graduate Level Photochemistry Course

This is a new course that is currently under construction, however, there is an old website that contains quite a bit of useful material that connects to this course, click HERE.


I used to teach a class to incoiming overseas graduate students to help them to prepare for the English language SPEAK Test. This class is no longer taught, but there is an old website that contains quite a bit of useful material that was related to the course, click HERE.
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Teaching Philosophy

Coming soon........
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Letter of Recommendation

I am often asked to write letters of recommendation, particularly in the pre-health area (medical, dental and pharmacy school). I know that you don't like to ask me to do this, and you know that I don't like to do it. I get asked to write a LOT of letters, so many that I need to organize the process. PLEASE read this page carefully before you ask for a letter.
If you are asking me to write a letter it is because you need a letter from a science instructor, in other words you are asking me to be an ACADEMIC reference (I have not observed you in health-related or social settings). This means that the main focus of my letter has to be academics. It is therefore difficult for me to write a strong letter if you did not do well in my class, because after all this is what I am supposed to write about! Therefore, if you did not receive an A in at least ONE on my classes it is probably not in your best interest to have me write you letter. It just doesn't make sense for you to ask for an ACADEMIC letter from me unless you did well in my class, sorry!

For the same reason I will usually only write a letter for you if you have taken BOTH semesters of organic chemistry with me. Everybody knows that organic is a two-semester course and it looks unusual if you did not take both semesters with me. An exception is if you took CHM 233 with another instructor and then did very well in my CHM 234 class, AND I know you very well, then I will have something good to write about you.

I will usually only write a letter for you if you waive your right to see the letter. There needs to be mutual trust and it also doesn't look good to admissions committees if you don't waive your right to see your letters. Also, please don't ask me for a copy of your letter.

I do not need to get to know you well in office hours to write your letter, but you do need to give me lots of information, see below.

I like to write letters in batches, to save my time. If you are submitting your application in summer 2020 (for example), I will write your letter at the end of the spring semester 2020, after classes have ended and before the summer starts properly. So, you need to get your application material together for me to write your letter at THIS TIME! Letter writing disrupts my routine and my work and so I do NOT like to get letter requests dribbling in over the summer. PLEASE GET YOUR LETTER REQUEST TO ME BEFORE THE END OF MAY AT THE LATEST!


In addition to your academic performance, you need to convince me and the school you are applying to that you will be a successful student in their program (and, presumably, a good and caring health practitioner). To help me with this I require the following from you:
1. A completed copy of my Pre-Health form, see below. Do not delete the questions and use the most recent version from this website. The questions are in bold and italic and colored blue, please use plain text in your answers in BLACK so that I can easily distinguish the end of the question from the start of your answer.
2. A copy of your unofficial transcript.
3. A copy of your personal statement if you have it, even if it is only a rough draft.
4. A photograph/picture so that I can put a face to your name.
5. A resume/CV with your contact information.


THIS IS WHAT YOU DO: First, send me an email asking if I can write your letter. If I say yes, then I do NOT NEED TO MEET WITH YOU IN PERSON. Just collect the materials above (and this part is IMPORTANT) and give me HARD COPIES of everything that I ask for if at all possible (if you are out of state then this will obviously not be possible), ALL STAPLED FIRMLY TOGETHER, if everything is not firmly stapled (NO PAPER CLIPS!) I WILL lose something and you won't get your letter.

You can bring the materials to me at any time, if I am not in my office, just slide them under my door.

I know that many of you need letters for application to programs for which summer application doesn't work, for example, summer research positions. These letters need to be submitted in early spring. However, early spring (January - March) is an extremely busy time of the year for me (probably my busiest time of the year) since I have a very heavy administrative load at this time of the year. For this reason I am very sorry but I just can't write any letters that need to be submitted in the Jan - March time period.
After all of that, please let me know if you get admission into medical/dental/pharmacy etc. school, I like to hear of your successes!.
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