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Life Sciences
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Chemistry in Life: Air Pollution, Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) (Term Paper Sample)


Information on General Content of the Paper
The Chemistry in Life paper is supposed to be a paper about some LIFE topic. Along with other things which have to do with LIFE, I want you to see the chemistry that is IN the life topic. Basically, I'm hoping that in Chem 1110 and now 1120 you have started to see the chemistry around you, everywhere. This paper is an application of that idea.
Because chemistry is the study of anything that has mass and takes up space, it should be relatively easy to find Chemistry in any life topic that you choose to write about. If, after reading everything here, you have an idea of a topic but don't know how to include chemistry, email me or post here!  I'm sure that I and your classmates can give you some ideas. =)
The paper can literally be on any topic that has to do with life. Not biology, or 'life' as we generally talk about it, but your life. Think of a topic that you are PASSIONATE about. Something that, given the opportunity, you could spend an evening talking about with a friend or neighbor. That's a good topic! Hobbies that you love work well as topics. Anything that you've wanted to learn more about can be a great topic. Topics can include literally anything, including art, fashion, health, cooking, travel, medicine, money, sex trafficking, bookbinding, etc. etc. etc. 
When you write on it, you may include anything to do with that topic that interests you. You can talk about history, religion, social mores, politics, stigmas, etc. 
In terms of formatting, you can make it a travelogue, you can give a personal narrative story, you may make it a 'day in the life', you may write it as a persuasion piece, etc. you really have massive freedom on this assignment!
Aside from writing a paper that makes sense and hits the nit-picky rules (detailed below), you can write about anything you want, so long as you talk about how chemistry interacts with this topic *somewhere* in there. I'm asking for just 2-3 pages of chemistry stuff (if you clump it all together), or 20% of chemistry stuff if you intersperse it throughout the text.
The chemistry you include should ideally be understandable by a typical high-school student, and shouldemphasize process as well as structure (IE don't just give me a list of 'structures' of illicit drugs; show or tell me how *this* drug interacts with it's binding site, or how *that* drug moves throughout the body to get to its target depending on whether it's inhaled, injected, or eaten)
Let me give you a few examples of prior papers that will help you see and understand what I am talking about:
I had a former fashion major write a paper about polyester fabric. She may have addressed the history of the fabric, who invented it, patented it, etc. She may have addressed the culture of the 60s and 70s and how that culture shaped the evolution of polyester outfits (and how polyester shaped the evolution of the culture at the time). She may have included photos of polyester clothing that she made. She may have discussed federal laws about the use of polyester in infant and children clothing and bedding and the fire hazards associated with it. You might not have realized there's a lot to talk about when it comes to something as simple as polyester!
Somewhere in there, she talked about the chemistry of forming polyester. She may have talked about pre- and post-processing modifications that could change the properties of the polyester fabric. She may have included structures of polyester and cotton and compared and contrasted the two. She may have also addressed the properties of cotton/poly blends. There's a lot of chemistry in there that *could be* addressed: chances are there is more than you would have space for.
I had a gentleman who shaved using a straight razor he inherited from his grandfather. This is what he chose to write his Chemistry in Life paper on. In the 'life' portion, he described the process by which a person prepares, uses, and maintains a straight razor. He described different antique and modern straight razors which are on the market, and values of each. He included a few pictures of straight razors, including his heirloom razor. 
In the chemistry section, he talked about the different grades of steel and carbon doping which make for a quality blade. He may have addressed the industrial process by which high carbon steel is made. He may have also talked about oxidation of the blade and what chemicals and what proper care could be used to prevent it. He might have included reactions showing the processes.
One woman wrote a travelogue of her recent family trip to New York. She wrote a lot about everything in the trip: what they did, where they went, who they visited, why they took it, etc. 
Throughout the paper, she would talk a little bit about the chemistry behind or inside the things they did or saw. She talked about the copper composition of the Statue of Liberty, and the coloring of the oxidizing and steps that have been taken to prevent it, reverse it, or paint it. She talked about famous hot dogs and the ingredients in there, including the fats, lipids, nitrates, etc. She may have included a discussion of the combustion in the Jet engine, or the air or water qualities and pollutants that are found there. 
It may not seem intuitive, but I have even had works of fiction and a screenplay written for this assignment!  A zombie apocalypse survival guide was particularly memorable.
Other random ideas, so you see what I mean: a musician can write a paper about music, and spend a bit of time talking about nanocrystalline structures in violin varnish.  A student with an interest in social activism might write a paper about sex trafficking in India, and spend a bit of time talking about illicit drugs structures and physiological effects which are used to maintain loyalty of slaves.
I hope you can see from these examples that the sky is not even the beginning of the 'limit' you have on this paper. (You can write about astronomy!) This isn't supposed to be a painful paper to write. It need not even be on a topic that you typically think of as a 'chemistry' topic ("non-chemistry" topics can make really fascinating reading.) It just needs to be something that you're interested in and willing to write about.
I really look forward to reading these papers every semester. You had better believe I will read every word! I learn a lot from you and I hope you'll learn a lot as you write the paper.
Nitpicky formatting, content, referencing, and style RULES.
Your Chemistry in Life paper is due by November 18, and is submitted via the 'Assignments' tab on the left side of this website. It can be attached as a .pdf or a word document, and if you have an e-portfolio, it can be posted there and you can attach the link in your submission. (I highly recommend putting this assignment on your e-portfolio, if you have one.  It's the kind of assignment that I should think you'd *want to* show off!)
This post details the formatting, content, and scope of the assignment. I know you guys are anxious about this so I hope this post can alleviate some of your concerns! 
Your Chemistry in Life paper should have the following formatting guidelines:
 - 7 pages (NOT including references) - single spaced.  More is OK, less is not.
- 12 pt font (Times New Roman)
- 1 inch margins
If it looks like you are fudging this, I will copy and paste your paper into word and set the formatting properly to make sure you met these requirements!  Failure to follow these rules is the most common reason that students lose points on this project. 
Additionally, you should also have the following content guidelines: 
  - EITHER 2 pages out of the 7, OR 20% of the total text over time needs to be about Chemistry in context of the topic you choose. More is OK, less is not.  Those 7 pages do NOT include your bibliography, if you choose to include one.
- No more than 20% of the material should be images, pictures, or figures. (That does mean that UP TO 20%of the material can be images, pictures, or figures!)
- No more than 10% of the material should be direct quotes. It is OK to rephrase concepts in your own words, though.
Additionally, you should also have the following reference guidelines: 
 - Anything you quote directly needs to be given in quotes AND have the reference shown explicitly. Failing to do so is A FORM OF PLAGIARISM AND FRAUD and will earn you a 0 and possible expulsion from the class.  Anything above a 15% total Turnitin score may be subject to points penalties.
- Anything you borrow heavily from but rephrase into your own words should be referenced as well.  It needs to be clear to me what part of the text is referenced and which parts are your own.
- Wikipedia itself cannot be referenced, however articles which you found on wikipedia can be referenced.
- "Common knowledge" does not need to be referenced (IE you don't need to provide a reference that a triglyceride is made of glycerol and three fatty acids). 
- Specialized and often disputed knowledge does need to be referenced (IE if you want to tell me that MMR immunizations do cause autism I need to see what your references are).    
- Your references page should be self-consistent and consistent with your text. I do not care what reference format you use so long as I can use it to find the original source and you use the same format across the board.  If you have a reference listed in text, it needs to be listed on your references page.  Failure to follow this rule automatically flags the paper for a plagiarism review.
Finally, you should also have the following style guidelines:
- I will not grade on style. You may choose to write in any of the following styles: narrative, persuasive, expository, informational, colloquial, etc.    
- I will not grade harshly on spelling or punctuation.  I don't worry about this category UNLESS it gets in the way of my being able to read and understand the material. In other words, I will be tolerant to a point - but don't push it.


Air Pollution
Student's Name
Air Pollution
Air pollution is one of the topics that I am fascinated with to a great extent. I am interested particularly in learning about the air pollution affects on the environment and how it contributes to climate change. Climate change is a major challenge facing the world today. If the current pace of change continues, this earth will be unbearable in the next 100 years because of the rise in temperatures. According to the report by Carey (2013), scientists say the current climate change is one of the largest to have happened in the last 65 million years. If the current pace of climate change continues without intervention, the planet will experience a 5-6 degree Celsius rise in temperatures. This would be unbearable for future generations. Given that such pace can be controlled, there is something the current generation can do in order to save future generation. One of the ways to do so is through reduction of air pollution. It is for this reason that I chose to focus on air pollution. This covers air pollution in history, causes, major pollutants, effects, and probable solution. Emphasis will be put on the chemical compounds that make up the air pollutants.
Air Pollution in History
A major factor that marked the increase of air pollution in history is industrial revolution. Before the industrial revolution, air pollution was not an important issue since its effects were minimal. Incidences of air pollution and its prevention before the industrial revolution date back to the 13th century, when England's King Edward I warned Londoners about burning coal in an effort to reduce pollution of the air (, n.d.). However, his threat did not have any effect on the burning of coal.
Coal was burned in large scale in the period that characterized the Industrial Revolution, and the resulting soot and smog had severe health effects on the urban populations. A case example is the Great Smog of 1952 that killed more than 4,000 people in London (, n.d.). Prior to that, deadly smog made 7000 sick and killed 20 people in Pennsylvania. These are examples of air pollution in the past.
Today, the motor vehicles are the leading cause of air pollution in the US. Ever since the introduction of motor vehicles, their number has been increasing and it is the air that suffers. Efforts have been made by environmental bodies as well as the government to reduce air pollution. The passing of the Clean Air Act by the US congress in 1963 marked an important step towards the reduction of air pollution. Despite such efforts, the effects of air pollution continue to be felt by members of the population. In 2007, almost half of the members of the American population lived in counties that had unhealthy article or ozone pollution levels. Although the efforts have not been effective in reducing air pollution, they prevented its escalation to unprecedented levels.
Causes of Air Pollution
Air pollution is caused by a combination of factors. A major factor that contributes significantly to air pollution is burning of fossil fuels. When fossil fuels such as petroleum and coal are burned, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide, which are major air pollutants, are released. The burning of fossil fuels usually happens in manufacturing facilities, power plants, and waste incinerators. Also, the gases that are emitted from cars, airplanes, trucks, and trains cause significant pollution to the air. It is important to note, however, that we rely on these machines for transportation. However, the continued use contributes to air pollution and consequently to climate change.
Modern agricultural activities can also contribute to polluting...

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