I know, I know. You’re here to learn biohacking, not chemistry. I’ve got news for you. You can’t have one without the other. Fortunately for you, I’ve curated a bunch of free resources to help you learn chemistry online. Learning chemistry will help you understand what’s going on when you’re meddling with genes, pathways, and signalling, or even just how PCR works. Good luck!
Learn University Level Chemistry Online
Props go to Reddit user 5maldehyde for what is essentially a treasure trove of online chemistry instruction. Want to learn general chemistry? Check. Biochemistry? Check.
5maldehyde has found entire university courses recorded by the institutions for the purpose of allowing anyone and everyone to learn the material online (Massive Online Open Courses or Moocs). You may not get a degree, but you’ll get college-level instruction at zero cost.
These are courses done by places like Stanford, UC Irvine, Oxford, and MIT, so we are talking high quality. Below are all the fields 5maldehyde has curated and the number of courses in each field (check out the original post with links to the courses here).
- General Chemistry (4 courses)
- Organic Chemistry (10 courses)
- Biochemistry (8 courses)
- Analytical Chemistry (5 courses)
- Physical Chemistry (9 courses)
- Quantum Chemistry (9 courses)
- Inorganic Chemistry (3 courses)
- Computational Chemistry (2 courses)
- Medicinal/Pharmaceutical Chemistry (1 course)
- Lab Techniques (1 course)
- Chemical Engineering (25 courses)
- Biotechnology (8 courses)
- Metallurgy (16 courses)
MIT’s OpenCourseWare (Free):
OWC is MIT’s effort to get their classes and educational excellence onto the internet, which means it’s a great place to learn chemistry online. You won’t get a degree here, but you will get to essentially audit their classes. The good is that it’s for free. The bad is that there are only some classes that will seem like actual classes (i.e. they have the lectures recorded and materials all together for you). Check it out here.
Khan Academy (Free):
If you don’t know about the Khan Academy, you should. Basically this highly educated man learned the joys of teaching as he helped his nephews learn basic math (around algebra level). He quite his day job and has since turned his passion for teaching into a free-of-charge educational empire. Here are two courses that will help you gain a solid background in chemistry:
Basic Chemistry (1st year of college level)
Organic Chemistry (college level)
Coursera (Free and Paid Courses to Learn Chemistry Online):
According to Wikipedia: “Coursera is a for-profit educational technology company founded by computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller from Stanford University that offers massive open online courses.” From my own experience, Coursera courses usually have free courses with an option to pay for the opportunity to earn a certificate in a class. Please note: a certificate is not a degree, nor is it credit towards a degree. Having that aside, here are a few classes that Coursera has to help you learn chemistry online. Oh, actually, last note: Coursera classes run in blocks. That means that you have to start with the class, turn in any quizes and assignments on time, etc, to actually participate. If the last block just ended or the next hasn’t started, you are out of luck and must wait.
Coursera Chemistry Courses (at the time of this publication):
- Preparation for General Chemistry (Rutgers University)
- Introduction to Chemistry: Reactions and Rations (Duke University)
- General Chemistry (from Peking University)
- Chemicals and Health (from John Hopkins University)
- Chemistry: Concept Development and Application Part I (with John Steven Hutchinson)
- Chemistry: Concept Development and Application Part II (with John Steven Hutchinson)
- Analytical Chemistry/Instrument Analysis (with Vicki Colvin)
- Comprehensive Organic Chemistry (from Peking University)
- Advanced Chemistry (from University of Kentucky)