Friday, May 3, 2013

Who wants to be a heterocyclic millionaire?

In case you didn't know, Phil has been teaching a Heterocyclic Chemistry class here at Scripps since 2005. This course consists of approximately two dozen 1.5-hour lectures. Other than the students, there are many Scripps postdocs and industrial chemists auditing this class (25-30 people from local companies are sitting in each time). Phil discusses traditional topics such as pyridines, pyrroles, furans and indoles as well as more specialized topics such as benzodiazepines and alkaloid biosynthesis. The industrial chemists are also encouraged to bring in their personal chemistry problems and write it up on the chalkboard before class for "free consulting" from Phil (avoiding IP-sensitive functional groups and side chains, of course!). This course wraps up with a fun class quiz under the title of "Heterocyclic Millionaire" where Phil brings out his best Regis impersonations.

(Read on to see the midterm yourself!)

This year, we have been trying something new: we have released a new heterocycles book (here's the first review of the book by Derek Lowe at In The Pipeline) and have adopted it as our course textbook; we have also posted all sorts of class information on iTunes U. Obviously, the class syllabus and handouts are all on iTunes U but more importantly, there are dozens of hours of class recordings available to you for free. We have over 150 people subscribed to this course online and we hope those numbers grow—make sure you use the iTunes U app on your iPhone or iPad to see announcements and follow-up posts for this class! 

So come learn about heterocyclic chemistry along with our students (and postdocs and local industry chemists)!

All this must sound invitingly awesome and contagiously enthusiastic. But! For people taking the class for credit... the exam is a KILLER. It's long, it's hard, it's painful. Look at these poor souls taking the midterm exam this morning: 

Seriously guys, can you get closer to your paper?

In fact, if you're up for a challenge, take the midterm yourself, the exam is attached here in PDF form! ...and yes, there is a final exam as well. 

Regardless of whether you're an undergraduate student or a seasoned medicinal chemist, we guarantee you'll learn something.

Happy Heterocyclic Chemistry!


  1. I learned that there's a grad student from Michigan at Scripps

  2. how many hours is allowed for completing the exam? I found the beginning of the test to be reassuringly doable - but it toughens from the question 4...

  3. 4 hours--maybe plus 5 minutes...