Spot the odd one out

In order to predict how chemicals might interact with each other, chemists must get a good understanding of the 3D shapes of molecules.  A great way to do this is to study their symmetry.

If you can imagine rotating a molecule (or any 3D object) without changing the way it looks, you have identified some symmetry in the molecule.  The same is true if you replace rotations with reflections, or some combination of the two.

In the questions below you will find molecules mixed in with more familiar shapes.  In each case, all but one of the objects have exactly the same symmetry.  Can you spot the odd one out?

Question 1

Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 19.38.56

Question 2

 Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 19.39.02

Question 3

Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 19.39.09

Question 4

Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 19.39.16

Want to know more?

If you would like to find out how chemists describe and classify the symmetry of molecules, this website has more information, including many nice animations and also further symmetry challenges!

Liz Rayment – Chemistry teacher and Deputy Head of Sixth Form at Cheney School, Oxford

 

Send your answers to inspire@sjc.ox.ac.uk to be in with a chance to win a goodie bag!

Teachers we want to hear from you too if you want to get involved and set some questions of your own – email inspire@sjc.ox.ac.uk.

Solutions will be posted online shortly.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s