W. Stephen McNeil Stephen McNeil
Department of Chemistry
UBC Okanagan
3247 University Way, Fipke 352
Kelowna, BC, Canada
V1V 1V7
Office: Fipke 352
Phone: 250.807.8751

Dr. W. Stephen McNeil is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at UBC Okanagan, in Kelowna, British Columbia. Information regarding Dr. McNeil's research interests and publications may be found on his faculty research page.

Dr. McNeil often teaches courses such as CHEM 121/123 (Atomic & Molecular and Physical & Organic chemistries), CHEM 220 (Atomic Structure and Molecular Bonding) and CHEM 335 (Bioinorganic Chemistry), and he occasionally forays into main group and organometallic chemistries. If you're planning on taking one of those courses, then you might be here looking for a web page relating to them. In Term 1 of the 2023/24 academic year, he is teaching CHEM 121 and CHEM 220, and in Term 2, he is teaching CHEM 335. All course documents and information for these courses are available through Canvas.

Course Pages and Resources [top]

Chemistry 111/121 and 113/123
• Chemistry simulations at The King's Centre for Visualization in Science, including
   • atomic weight calculator
   • mass spectrometer
• Chemistry simulations at PhET at the University of Colorado Boulder, including
   • Gas Properties
   • Photoelectric Effect
   • Molecules and Light
   • Beer's Law
   • Molecular Polarity
   • States of Matter
   • Reversible Reactions
• Animation illustrating the electromagnetic wave nature of light
• Mark Winter's Orbitron Gallery of atomic orbitals, at Sheffield
• Richard Spinney's Hydrogen Atomic Orbitals, at Ohio State
• Robert Hanson's hydrogenic orbital wavefunction viewer, at St. Olaf's College
Molecular geometries as predicted by VSEPR
• Animations of thin layer chromatography and liquid-liquid extraction at California State Polytechnic University
representations of organic molecules
conformations of organic molecules
enantiomers and R/S nomenclature
• Alison Flynn's outstanding organic nomenclature tutorial and quiz site at uOttawa, Nomenclature101 (also available en français).
• Richard Spinney's database of animated IR, 1H NMR, 13C NMR, and MS spectra, at Ohio State

Chemistry 220
orientation of d-orbitals in various crystal fields, at the University of the West Indies
• A gallery of point groups
• An excellent site examining symmetry elements and operations, at Otterbein University, including a symmetry tutorial

Chemistry 335
• the Protein Data Bank
• representations of various levels of protein structure
• two views of a metalloprotein protein structure
• structures of various proteins and enzymes:
   • transferrin
   • ferritin, the protein used for iron storage
   • electron transfer proteins
   • mitochondrial electron transport chain
   • photosynthetic electron transport chain
   • dioxygen transport
   • oxygenase enzymes
   • nitrogenase enzymes
   • various zinc proteins

Chemistry 339
Structures of:
various boranes
various binary element hydrides
• some main group ring and cage compounds
• some organolithium compounds
• various ionic, associated covalent, and network solids
• various allotropes of carbon

Chemistry 422S
• structures of bovine rhodopsin, showing conformational change of the retinal chromophore
• structures of green and red fluorescent proteins
• structures of temperature- and pressure-sensitive ion channel proteins

Links [top]

Need some help with chemistry? Visit the Chemistry Course Union in Sci 233B, attend a Supplemental Learning session, or go to the Student Learning Hub in LIB 237 for drop-in tutoring.

If you're a chemistry or biochemistry student, you need a program to draw proper chemical structures. These programs also include some rudimentary name-to-structure and structure-to-name conversion.
ChemDrawJS is a free-to-use Javascript version of ChemDraw. It's pretty great.
• ChemAxon Marvin is a free Java-based program that runs on PC, Mac, or Linux, and as a browser-based version..
• Both ACDLab's Chemsketch and Dassault Systèms' BIOVIA Draw are PC programs that are free for academic and personal use.

Lots of online tools will help you with naming organic compounds.
ChemSpider will quickly let you find the structure and name of compounds based on a molecular formula. (The 3D tools omit H atoms, though, so don't trust them.)
• Openmolecules name2structure tool quicky generates a molecular structure from a compound name.

Need a periodic table? Of course you do. Your choice:
• A practical table with element names and molar masses, in either black and white or colour.
• Other attractive colour tables, at PubChem and ptable.com.
Google's periodic table shows you pretty animated and interactive 3D images of Bohr models of atoms, which means that they bear basically zero resemblence to any properties of real atomic systems.
• Or, if none of those strikes your fancy, try one of these.

Looking for reference data for that lab write-up? Try these sites:
Webelements and PTable have more data on the elements than you could ever hope to use.
• The CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
• The PubChem offers basic physical properties and bioloigcal / pharmacological activity information on small molecules.
• The NIST Chemistry WebBook, including thermochemical and spectroscopic data
• The NIST Computational Chemistry Comparison and Benchmark Database has experimental physical data on over 1500 compounds, such as bond lengths and angles, vibrational frequencies, formation enthalpies, and dipole moments.
Dictionary of Organic Compounds and Properties of Organic Compounds
• The Spectral Database for Organic Compounds (SDBS)
• Nakamoto's Infrared and Raman Spectra of Inorganic and Coordination Compounds:
    • Part A is theory and main group compounds
    • Part B is coordination compounds, organometallics, and bioinorganic.
• Links to online safety data sheets at Chemical Safety Software.
Sigma-Aldrich can tell you the expected melting point, boiling point, flash point, and often the IR and NMR spectra of all your reagents and hoped-for products in your organic lab, and, if you screwed up the prep, they'll sell them to you. They also have the safety data sheets on everything they sell.
• Do you have mysterious extra peaks in your NMR spectrum? You need this Organometallics paper and this J. Org. Chem. paper to figure out what they are. There, aren't those the most useful references ever?
• And of course, you need to know how to format your citations in American Chemical Society style.

Think those latex gloves protect your hands from the solvents you're handling? Yeah, not so much.

There are many databases of Jmol molecules to look at, including those at:
ChemTube3D, featuring models of hundreds of inorganic compounds. However, anaylze these structures critically before using them. Many models are based on qualitative idealized structures rather than experimental data (e.g. the bond angle in NF3 is not 109.5°), and many are simply wrong (e.g. [I5]+ isn't a W, Cl2O6 does not have equivalent Cl atoms, TeO4 doesn't exist, [NO2] and N2O4 do not have unequal N-O bond lengths, [Ni(CN)4]2– is not tetrahedral, etc.).

The Royal Society is dedicated to furthering informed communication between media and the scientific community, and is an excellent source of reliable scientific discussion about matters of current importance. Want to know what scientists really think about genetically-modified foods, global warming, or human cloning, and why?

You need to know How Stuff Works.

Biography [top]

Dr. McNeil comes to UBC's Okanagan campus by way of the other University of British Columbia campus, the University of Washington, and Douglas College, whereby he has acquired an inordinate fondness for organometallic reaction mechanisms, well-crafted Americanos, and active-learning teaching methods. He is a member of the Chemical Institute of Canada Chemistry Education Division, the American Chemical Society, the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and Project Steve.

His ongoing interests include hiking the Okanagan's many scenic trails, the development and assessment of innovative active-learning and student-engagement strategies, the challenges associated with the learning of advanced chemical bonding models, science communication and chemistry outreach, and esoteric and expensive board games. He is the winner of the 2009 UBC Okanagan Award for Teaching Excellence and Innovation, the 2018 Canadian Society for Chemistry Faculty Advisor Award, the 2018 UBC Okanagan Killam Teaching Prize, the 2019 Chemical Institute of Canada Award for Chemistry Education, and the 2023 BC Teaching and Learning Council West Coast Teaching Excellence Award. So. What's next?


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This page is maintained and copyright by W. Stephen McNeil at UBC Okanagan.
All educational works available on this page are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 License.