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Molecular Biology

Chemistry and Physics of the molecules that constitute living things

Inorganic Compounds

Water, many simple acids and bases, and simple salts

Organic compounds

Carbon-containing compounds that are generally large and complex


substances that cannot be broken down into simpler substances by ordinary means

Atomic number

The fixed number of prtons that help identify an element

AMU Dalton

Equal to the mass of a single proton or neutron

Atomic mass

Number that indicates approximately how much matter an atom contains


Name for an element with a different number of neutrons and atomic mass


emit radiation when they decay


Radiation causes the appearance of dark silver grains in photographic film


Contains 2 electrons max. Region of 3-d space

Electron shell

Made up of electrons at similar energy levels, AKA same principal energy level

Valence Electrons

Most energetic and outward electrons

Simplest Formula

AKA empirical. Gives smallest whole-number ratios for the atoms present in compound

Molecular Formula

Gives actual number of each type of atom per molecule

Structural Formula

Shows numbers and arrangement of molecules

Molecular Mass

Sum of the atomic masses ofthe component atoms of a single molecule


Amount of an element/compound whoese mass in grams is equivalent to its atomic mass

Avogadro's Number

6.022 * 10 23

Dynamic Equilibrium

Rates of forward and backward reactions are equal

Bond energy

Energy necessary to break a chemical bond

Covalent Bond

involves sharing of electrons between atoms

Orbital hybridization

Covalent bonds reform the molecule into a new shape


Measure of an atom's attraction for shared electrons in chemical bonds


Positively charged ion


Negatively charge ion


Liquid capable of dissolving many substances


dissolved substance


In solution, each cation and anion of the compound is surrounded by oppositely charged ends of water molecules

Hydrogen Bond

Hydrogen becomes part of a molecule and becomes polar and attracts negative to positive

Van der waals interactions

Adjacent molecules may interact in regions of slight opposite charge

Redox Reaction

An electron transfer that involves the transfer of the energy, oxidation-reduction


Chemical process when atom, ion or molecule loses electrons


Chemical process in which an atom, ion or molecule gains electrons


Name for the ability of water to stick to itself, causes surface tension


Name for the ability of water to stick to other surfaces

Capillary action

Tendency of water to move in narrow tubes


Water loving


Water fearing

Heat of vaporization

Amount of heat energy required to change 1 g of a substance from liquid to vapor


amount of heat energy required to raise the temp of 1 g of water 1 degree C

Evaporative cooling

When molecules escape and take their heat energy with them, cooling the sample

Specific Heat

Amount of energy required to raise the temperature of a substance

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