1. Objective and Expected outcome

The aim of this course is to build appreciation for science, develop scientific temper and help the student understand where and how science is linked to daily life. Our goal is to engage the first year students in the University in a manner that builds on the student’s high school experiences rather than simply reiterating them with more technical details and provide more information to memorize. At the conclusion of this course student would have experienced how science has brought a change in our daily life, provides comfort, and helps assessing past, present and future scenario of energy requirements. The course would also help in analyzing and interpreting data, and impart problem-solving skills. Students should also be able to appreciate interdisciplinary connections between various fields and associate with emerging new directions of science. A common integrative foundation for all students will foster tomorrow’s citizens to engage scientific issues from multiple perspectives and make better-informed decisions of societal relevance.

Every Semester, teaching will be spread over 16 weeks including two weeks for review.

2. Themes and sub-themes

I. Origin and Evolution of Life: 2 Periods

Origin of Universe, Solar system formation and the Origin of the Earth, Prebiotic Chemistry, Water for life sustenance, Importance of carbon, The early atmosphere.

II. Water and Energy for life: 4 Periods

Water -an essential liquid: Hard and soft water/ potable and non-potable water, Commonly used water purification techniques (filtration, distillation, RO, RO-UV purifier, conditioning/softening), Issues of water related to society – Conservation and Harvesting.

Energy – Renewable/non-renewable energy- resources and their conservation, Nuclear energy – risks and benefits, Different forms of energy consumption at home and cost efficiency.

III. Nutrients and Household Chemicals: 6 Periods

Nutrients (Food Aspects): Macronutrients (Carbohydrates/Proteins/Fats and oils) as energy source. Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), their importance, sources and nutritional value in food. Fermentation technology in food science.

Household Chemicals (in daily life): Table salt, baking powder, baking soda, antacids, antiseptics and disinfectants (concept of acid and base), Bleaching and stain removal, Rusting (concept of oxidation-reduction), Cleaners, Fire extinguishers.

IV. Physical Parameters and Household Appliances: 7 Periods

Perception of distance, mass, time, temperature and force (nanosize to astronomical distances; atomic mass to celestial mass; femto-seconds to lifetime of Universe; Absolute zero to temperature of Sun; weak to strong forces).

Refrigerators, pumps and resistive heaters; Safety and disposal of electrical/electronic items; Fuses, tolerance and rating of gadgets (in terms of power consumption).

V. Industry and Technology in Daily Life: 9 Periods

Contributions of Polymer Industry – Natural and synthetic polymers (Plastics, Ceramics, Fibre and Fabrics/Textile and clothing, Rubber and Tyres); Varieties of glasses and white-ware.

Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, generic and herbal drugs, drug abuse and its consequences; Agrochemicals and soil supplements (fertilizers), crop protectors (pesticides and herbicides) for improved agriculture productivity; Relevance of organic farming.

Contribution of Electronic Industry: IC’s, LED/LCD; Sensors (burglar, fire and gas leak alarms), pressure sensor – touch screen pads; Solar cell – illuminating rural areas; Audio- visual communications; Laser and its applications in medical surgery, industry and defense; Space exploration – India’s initiative.

3. Project works

Suggestive Projects and Hands on Experiments

  • Analyze various theories for chemical evolution of life on earth; Collect data of various chemicals identified on different planets/satellites (e.g. moon of earth) and comment upon advances in research in this area by studying various space missions.
  • Identify the past and future space missions, which will search for earth like world in other solar systems.
  • Survey hard and soft waters in different regions; compute the relevant data and make a presentation. Identify ways to convert hard water to soft water.
  • Analyze the extent /type of hardness (permanent/temporary) in the collected water samples and express results in terms of salts concentration in ppm.
  • Identify and analyze impurity present in water by standard procedures.
  • Develop a model for water harvesting or reuse of water in a locality/home.
  • Identify plants that extract water from humidity and analyze the process in detail.
  • Workout the energy conversions from one form to another in different household appliances at home, for example, “Fan”- converts electrical energy to mechanical energy, and calculate daily usage of electricity units at home.
  • Analyze how hydroelectric dams/thermal power stations work in our country and carry out a comparative study considering its merits/demerits including impact on environment.
  • How efficiently wind energy can be utilized in rural area of hill area/sea side? Present your ideas.
  • Compare the efficiency of fuel cells available globally/in India, emphasizing on biofuels.
  • Debate on pros and cons of nuclear energy and discuss possible modes of nuclear waste disposal.
  • Explore: Do different varieties of the same fruit have the same level of vitamin C? Is their content different in different breakfast cereals? Are all apples equally sweet? (http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/nutrition_projects.html)
  • Survey the packaged foods for macronutrients and analyze their nutritional value.
  • Identify various modes of food preservation commonly used at home. Survey the markets and analyze the diversity of preservatives used in packaged foods (http://agriculture.indiabizclub.com/info/organic_cultivation/methods_of_food_preservati on,_storage,_safety_and quality)
  • Estimate the consumption of fat, salt, sugar etc vis-à-vis actual requirement in daily food intake.
  • Compare Table salt vs. sea salt in terms of statistical data available on elements present in it. Collect seawater in a pit/pond near your house or any garden and let it evaporate to generate salt and try to form salt in lab?
  • Prepare a project on essential requirement of sodium, analyze data: sodium diet in terms of packaged food viz., Sodium Labeling, Salt-Sodium Conversions/ daily requirement per person at home.
  • Prepare presentation on Iodized salt benefits and correlate with Goiter disease cases prevalent in the Society.
  • To prepare baking soda and vinegar chemical volcano.
  • Home and garden pH indicators: Common Household Items.
  • To check pH of various fruit juices available in the market and do a comparative study by analyzing their effect on health.
  • To analyze free acidity in various cold drinks/fruit juices.
  • Use of oxalic acid wonder compound in removing stains; prepare a collection of its uses in the form of presentation.
  • Prepare data of available chemicals for stain removal and do comparative study with natural stain removals available, carry out some simple experiments on stain removal.
  • Prepare a project on commonly used disinfectants and discuss their relative efficacy against bacteria.
  • To prepare soap by salting out method.
  • Preparation of soap, colour etc without using harmful chemicals.
  • To prepare home made fire extinguisher and do comparative analysis with ones available in the market.
  • Device a method of measuring your weight using pressure you exert on an object you stand.
  • Determine electricity consumption by various appliances like air-conditioner, refrigerator, electric press, microwave, etc. suggesting their judicious use for minimum consumption.
  • Explain the importance and significance of various messages, symbols, signs and other information printed on various electronic/electrical gadgets.
  • Suggest safe and scientific methods of disposing used cells and batteries.
  • Identify natural polymers present around us and do a comparative study.
  • Identify various kinds of plastics/rubber used at your home and classify them.
  • Identify the ceramic products in household usage and classify them in terms of compositions/colour coatings etc.
  • Prepare a project on herbs/drugs/medicines/household spices obtained from plants and critically evaluate them with respect to corresponding synthetic pharmaceuticals.
  • To study the significance of lycopene/natural colorant present in various fruits and vegetables.
  • To study commercial viability of Baking Soda Spray as a natural fungicide (for garden at home).
  • To identify the metal ions present in coins/alloys in common use.
  • To compile the information on composition of various gems/precious stones/jwellery.
  • Carefully observe weather condition for one month and collect data regarding temperature, wind direction, cloud cover in sky at different time of day. Analyze the data and try to draw some inferences.
  • Collect information about the latest satellite launched by India for climate monitoring and communication.
  • Study different uses of laser in daily life: laser pointer, laser printer, laser show.

4. Reading list

The Physical Universe: An introduction to Astronomy, Frank H. Shu. University Science Books (1982)

The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe, Steven Weinberg, Basic Books (1993).

Prebiotic Chemistry on the Primitive Earth, S.L. Miller and H.J Cleaves. In Systems Biology Genomics, Volume I. Edited by I. Rigoutosos, G. Stephanopoulos, Oxford University Press (2006). Pages 3-11, 16-20, 40-43.

Principles of Modern Physics, A.K. Saxena, Narosa publications (2010). Chapter 17, Pages 1-4, pages 35-37.

Fundamentals of Physics, An Introduction by S.K. Chatterjee, Narosa Publications (2013). Appendix I: A1-A8.

Environmental Science by V.K Ahluwalia and Sunita Malhotra, Anne Publishers (2006). Chapter 1: pages 1-25, Chapter 5: pages 121-126.

CHEM : In Your World by Melvin Joesten and John Hogg, Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning, 2011,USA.

Shreve’s Chemical Process Industries, G. A. Austin, 5th edition, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1984. 19-35 (Water conditioning/softening); Pages 155, 193-212, 213-215, 462- 479, 638-640 (For Unit V).

Chemistry in Daily Life, 3rd edition, by Kirpal Singh, Eastern Economy Edition, PHI Publication (2012). Pages 12-25, 33-41, 116-122 (For Unit III); Pages 116-122 (For Unit-II: Water and Energy); Pages 33-41, 42-47, 50, 74-83 (For Unit-V: Industry and Technology in Daily Life).

Chemical Composition of Everyday Products, John Toedt, D. Koza, K. Van Cleef-Toedt, Greenwood Publishing Group (2005).

Food Chemistry by H.K. Chopra and P.S. Panesar, Narosa Publications (2010). Chapter 1: pages 1-4, chapter 2: pages 37-38,51-53, 56-58,70-71. Chapter 3: 73-76. Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 11.

A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness: From Impostor Poodles to Purple Numbers by V. S. Ramachandran, Pi Press (2005).

The Feynman Lectures on Physics: Feynman, Leighton, Sands. Volume I. Narosa Publishing House (India) (2008). Chapters 1, 3, 5.

Understanding Physics: Cassidy, Holton, Rutherford. Springer International Edition (2002).

University Physics: Sears, Zemansky, Young. Narosa Publishing Co., New Delhi (1998).

Inquiry into Physics by V J Ostdiek & D J Bord, Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning. Pages viii- xvi (Why and how to learn physics?).

A Text Book of Applied Chemistry, T. Jacob, Macmillan Company of India Ltd. (Also for general reading for Unit-III and V)

Principles of Electronics by V. K. Mehta and Rohit Mehta, S. Chand & Company Ltd. Delhi (2005). Pages 560-571 (Integrated Circuits).

Web links:

MIT Open Courses (http://ocw.mit.edu) on astrophysics, classical mechanics, electromagnetism.

Digital Mechanism & Gear Library (http://www.dmg-lib.org/dmglib/main/portal.jsp)

Frontiers of Science (http://ccnmtl.columbia.edu/projects/mmt/frontiers/)

How stuffs work (http://www.howstuffworks.com/)

CERN Document Server (http://cds.cern.ch/)

Purdue University Physics Applets (http://www.physics.purdue.edu/academic_programs/courses/applets.shtml)

The physics classroom (http://www.physicsclassroom.com/)

Practical physics resources (http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-physics?topic_id=3)


A. Continuous Assessment (35 marks)

Based on project presentation, group discussion, class participation, preparation of reports and documents, and regularity in the classroom, etc.

B. Final written examination (40 marks)

Questions (both objective and subjective) based on prescribed course content, common knowledge, and project presentations made throughout the semester.

Click Here for All Delhi University Courses Syllabus

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