Fakesmile

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 10, 2008
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Spectroscopy, mainly X-ray crystallography, is covered in my upper level biochem class. We had a midterm on it and I failed it. I have to master it until the final exam (in three weeks from now). The prof doesn't make sense and his notes are horrible. He supplements his notes with lots of fast talking. So you're doomed if you don't make good use of lectures. But the problem is I'm not a fast learner and I miss lots of info during lectures.
The whole thing covered about x-ray crys is just crazy: Reciprocal space, real space, and converting between the two using crazy coordinate systems, space group, the relationship between electron density and unit cells in crystal, etc. just don't make sense. The prereqs for this course are just calculus 1 and 2 and lower level biochems and the math used is suitable for people with only calc 1 and 2 background. But it's just really hard, probably the hardest course I've ever taken, more difficult than orgo. Any advice would be appreciated.
 
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anfleisch

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May 14, 2008
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Pre-Medical
I would get a supplemental textbook specific to x-ray crystallography. I work in a structural biochem lab and still don't know all the details. We usually took about it like tennis balls in a box. Most of it is about taking what you know about a molecule and substituting in the electron density to add to it and build up the model. But there are good books on it around.
 

Fakesmile

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 10, 2008
444
0
141
Status
I would get a supplemental textbook specific to x-ray crystallography. I work in a structural biochem lab and still don't know all the details. We usually took about it like tennis balls in a box. Most of it is about taking what you know about a molecule and substituting in the electron density to add to it and build up the model. But there are good books on it around.
The course actually has one called "Crystallography made crystal clear" but even it doesn't make much sense due to the frequent use of high-level math. It's unfair how the course prereq includes only calc 1,2 but the supp text requires much advanced math background.
 

addo

7+ Year Member
Mar 4, 2010
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Ive had a class that covered x-ray crystallography, and it did not go over the math. Really you only have to know the big picture and the main concepts. Its not like youre going to have to reconstruct a diffraction pattern by hand. For the most part even professors dont even know how, or once knew but would not be able to pull it off, unless they specialize in it. Besides, most of the reconstruction and analysis is done by computers. Know why you have to use x-rays, and why and how they have to be recombined and youre good.