UniServe Science News Volume 10 July 1998


Organic Chemistry Animated Reaction Mechanisms (ChARMs) Volume 1

Geoffrey Crisp and Simon Pyke
Department of Chemistry, The University of Adelaide

The ChARMs CD-ROM contains a set of animations depicting reaction mechanisms of a range of fundamental organic reactions, together with a set of PowerPoint lectures. It is designed for use by both students and academics.

The CD-ROM was reviewed on a Macintosh LC-630 (32 Mb RAM), a Macintosh 7300/200 (64 Mb RAM), and a Digital Venturis FX (Pentium 133 MHz, Windows 3.1, 32 Mb RAM). The package requires little (the appropriate version of QuickTime) or no installation and the accompanying "Read Me" file contained all the information required. The ChARMs program ran smoothly and quickly on the platforms above.

The layout of ChARMs is very clear and consistent throughout, and navigation through the package is intuitive. The program can be quit and recommenced at any stage. The animations are well constructed and a great aid to understanding of this conceptually difficult area of organic chemistry. The program is stand alone and cannot be modified. However, the number of mechanistic classes that are covered is sufficiently wide that this is unlikely to be a difficulty - most undergraduates would find the content more than adequate.

The only criticism of this package lies in the fact that neither the objectives nor the pre-requisites are made clear. This potentially makes it difficult for a student, as some of the material presented would be difficult without an adequate background in the fundamentals of mechanistic organic chemistry. In any event, some preparation by the student would be highly desirable prior to use of this resource.

The PowerPoint lectures included on the CD-ROM provide an excellent resource for an academic teaching such a course, but they do not appear to be tightly integrated with the ChARMs package.

Overall this is a good package and should be seriously considered for purchase both by instructors and students.

Organic Chemistry Animated Reaction Mechanisms (ChARMs) Volume 1 is available from:
Jacaranda Wiley
PO Box 1226
Milton, Qld 4064
Tel: (07) 3859 9755

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UniServe Science News Volume 10 July 1998

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