June 1, 2015 (Vol. 35, No. 11)
Strong Points: Good tutorial, many aspects to the app
Weak Points: Graphics are slow to load
Ah yes, it is an age-old question, pondered by philosophers and chemists (OK, maybe just chemists) for centuries: where are the electrons? For chemistry students tackling the topic of atomic orbitals, the ODYSSEY Atomic Orbitals app will likely come in handy. This app allows students to visualize the atomic orbitals for a number of chemical elements, while also providing a text description of the number of electrons, number of orbitals, electron configuration, and magnetism of the atom. The “observe” tab walks app users through an exercise that demonstrates how to use the app and what one can learn from making comparisons among different elements. A glossary within the app defines a number of key terms, and the “comments” tab provides additional information that further describes how to interpret the visual representations.