You’ve seen it in restaurants and now it has become a part of a healthy diet. However, do you know the real story behind artificial sweeteners?
The discovery of Sacharrine is that of chance and betrayal. It was accidentally discovered by a Russian chemist Constantine Fahlberg who after a day of work at his lab at Johns Hopkins University tasted something sweet on his fingers. Long story short, that day calorie free ‘sugar’ was discovered and Fahlberg secretly patented the product in his name, making him a very rich man. He cut out Ira Remsen, a young chemist who had actually laid the essential ground work for this discovery.
There are two lessons to be learned from this story. One, you must be smart and ruthless to make it big. Two, fortune favors those who are better informed.
Here is all you need to know about Organic Chemistry.
Organic chemistry revolves around study of carbon compounds that are the basic building blocks of living organisms. Knowledge in this subject is particularly applicable to industries such as public health, medicine and manufacturing. Organic chemists create new compounds, and processes used in a varied set of applications, including the creation of new drugs or the development of synthetic seeds.
To become an organic chemist, the first thing you need to consider is the educational requirements. Many universities around the United States offer organic chemistry programs.
Organic Chemistry Degrees
A degree in organic chemistry prepares you for genetic research, pharmaceutical design, scientific research and engineering fields. Many students, who are interested in pure medicine, are often also required to take at least one basic level organic chemistry course.
Various levels of education are available in this field, depending on your existing educational qualifications. If, for instance, you are fresh out of high school, you might want to consider enrolling in a 2-year associate degree or a 4-year bachelor’s degree. These programs will provide you with a fundamental understanding of concepts related to this branch of chemistry. You may be required to study atoms, elements and molecular structures.
To become an organic chemist, however, a minimum of a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree is required in chemistry, with a focus on organic chemistry. You can also pursue a degree in a related subject such as biology, biochemistry or microbiology, given that you complete the minimum required coursework in organic chemistry.
However, if you are looking to further your understanding of advance concepts in organic chemistry, you can always go for graduate programs; either a masters in organic chemistry or a PhD in organic chemistry.
Organic Chemistry Graduate Programs
This would include an organic chemistry program that covers topics in more detail than at bachelor level. In depth analysis and practical experiences often form a significant part of these graduate programs.
Masters in Organic Chemistry
Masters programs in organic chemistry aim to provide an in-depth understanding of industrial applications of organic chemistry concepts. A master’s degree in this area is designed for both chemistry graduates and those with degrees in combined sciences, which include a chemistry component.
The course topics usually covered in masters in organic chemistry include:
Asymmetric target oriented synthesis
Oxidation and reduction
Along with the courses, mandatory dissertation is also necessary. Here are a couple of dissertation topic examples to give you an idea:
Gold catalyzed syntheses of complex heterocyclic systems
Enzymes in synthesis
Extending the utility of palladium in cross-coupling reactions
Besides theoretical aspects involved, there is also a significant practical aspect in this program. This part runs throughout the academic year. Advance laboratory exercises and experiments are designed to provide a realistic training in experimental chemistry and related topics. These might end with a research assignment, to assess the progress of students at individual level.
Educational requirements to get into an organic chemistry masters degree program include a bachelor’s degree in chemistry or a relevant subject. In addition, most universities have a minimum GPA requirement as well. And if you are a student for whom English is not the first language, you will also have to attempt TOEFL.
PhD in Organic Chemistry
If you want to go for advanced studies where you get ample opportunity to conduct in depth research on topics relevant to organic chemistry, a PhD might be just what you are looking for. A major goal of a PhD program in this field is to encourage and train research scientists in their careers as leaders in academics, industry and government occupations. Students are given ample practical experience along with extensive theoretical knowledge in various broad organic chemistry course topics, such as:
Materials and Nanoscience
In addition to the course requirements, a PhD degree in organic chemistry also requires students to pass several written and oral examinations, along with a doctoral dissertation, which determines the student’s ability to perform original, independent research and contribute unique knowledge to the field of organic chemistry.
To be enrolled in a PhD program, there are certain requirements that you will need to fulfill. These include a good scholastic record, letters of recommendation and GRE test scores. A subject test in chemistry is advisable for local candidates and a requirement for international applicants. In addition to that, applicants from countries where English is not a native language must also submit satisfactory TOEFL scores.
Organic Chemistry Course Online
If you are looking for an option that is more convenient and flexible in terms of cost and timetables, an online organic chemistry course might just be the answer. An organic chemistry course online is designed to meet the prerequisite requirements for students who are applying for admissions to health care programs. Some universities enhance this experience by creating virtual laboratories that emphasize the importance of practical applications.
Basic level organic chemistry online courses are offered that deal with different subject areas such as biochemistry, molecular biology, pharmacology and cell biology.
With an online course in organic chemistry, you can continue your professional life and still study at the same time. It offers you the opportunity to study at your own pace, at a time and place that suits you best. However, with a subject as complex as organic chemistry, campus visits will be necessary to gain practical experience in the field.
Career Outlook for Organic Chemists
Organic chemists can work in various research and development positions in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies around the world. Emerging innovative sciences such as nanotechnology and biochemistry offer a number of opportunities in industries such as medicine, energy sources, communications and safety materials.
Research universities might also offer teaching and research fellowships to doctoral students while different government agencies employ organic chemists for energy, environmental exploration and defense sectors.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Chemists and Material Scientists earned a median annual salary of around $73,060 in 2012. The demand for these professionals is expected to increase by 6% over the next few years.