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The University of Southampton

BIOL1028 Chemistry of Life Semester 1 only

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Understand the concepts underpinning thermodynamics and be able use these concepts including a) enthalpy, entropy and free energy b) Determine how ions behave in solution (ideal solutions, ionic strength) c) Understand thermodynamics of ligand binding and how it can be used.
  • Explain what an acid and base is and understand their use in buffered solutions
  • Explain key concepts behind atomic and molecular structure including functional groups as well as isomers and chirality
  • Radioactivity. Describe alpha, beta and gamma decay, and use this to predict decay series. Understand the concepts of a radioactive half-life and how it is calculated. Be familiar with the use of these isotopes in biology and the types of protection required for their use.


The topics will be taught in two parallel strands with one hour lectures in each strand each week. Strand 1 could be broadly identified as organic chemistry while strand 2 deals with physical Chemistry. Semester 1: 1) Understand the principles underlying atomic and molecular structure (Strand 1) 2) Identification of functional groups and understand their reactivity (Strand 1) 3) Understand the properties of acids and bases and their use in buffers (Strand 1) 4) Basic concepts underpinning the thermodynamics of biological systems (Strand 2) 5) Ligand binding to macromolecules (Strand 2) 6) Radioactivity (Strand 2)

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will be delivered through a combination of lectures supported with on-line tests to reinforce learning. Mathematical concepts will be supported through the introduction of an on-line resource.

Total study time30



MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 80%
Computer-based questionnaires  () 20%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


There are no additional costs associated wioth this module

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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