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I love molecules! They are mysterious and downright exasperating...learning about them is almost like falling in love. But besides being romantic, the simple truth is that everything that touches our lives, every disease, every drug, even life itself, is based upon a chemical interaction of one sort or another. My experiences have taught me that chemistry is a very useful tool for understanding life’s complex processes. As a result, I strive to illustrate how chemistry can be useful (if not downright interesting) no matter what career path you might follow.
As you begin to develop yourself as a scientist, don’t overlook the fact that professors are also perpetual students. Below is a collection of resources and tools that have improved my learning and helped me communicate more effectively.
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Dr. Brian Nowak-Thompson Asst. Prof. Biology & Chemistry
215 West Science Hall
Cornell College
Mt. Vernon, IA 52314
319.895.4135
mail@cornellcollege

      Learning and Writing Tools

This tool helps define and illustrate the relationships among concepts and is useful for organizing complex information. The web site explains how to build a concept map and offers free mapping software.
As a professional, most of your formal communication will occur through written text, thus good writing skills are extremely important. This page links to several resources that describe traits of good science writing, how to cite references, and the elements of a lab report.
We are in an age of excellent science writing for a general audience, and this is a list of books that I have enjoyed reading. If you want some easy leisure reading about the personal struggles and triumphs of scientists, pick one of these titles, you won’t be disappointed.

      Informational Resources

This list of scientific publications and web sites gives you a place to start looking for research topics, current science issues, or things that are just plain interesting. Check them out and you could be the hit of the next party you attend!
A list of the chemical, genetic, and scientific literature databases that I have found most useful for finding bits and pieces of information.

      Molecular Graphics and Modeling

This is very useful and very free software that allows you to draw chemical structures to include in word processing documents. It will represent molecules in 3D, calculate molecular properties, and a bunch of other stuff I haven’t had a chance to play with. It has some add-ons that are also available.
A 3D molecular viewer for examining protein crystal structures. It takes some practice to use this effectively but there is an excellent tutorial written by Gail Rhodes. You create amazing protein graphics with this, and best of all it is free. (also called Swiss-PDB viewer)
UCSF Chimera is a very flexible (and complex) program for visualizing and analysis of protein structures and related data, including density maps, supramolecular assemblies, sequence alignments, docking results, and conformational ensembles. High-quality images and animations can be generated.