Chemistry in Context

Chemistry is an integral part of our lives and the world we live in. It has been instrumental in shaping our world and the driving force behind the improvement in our standard of living. Progress in chemistry has changed the way we live, the foods we eat, the medicines we take, and the technology we use. And yet people wonder- whether chemistry is relevant, what has it ever done for us, besides polluting the world.


The goal of the course Chemistry in Context’ is to introduce learners to the world of chemistry, how our lives are governed by chemicals all around us. It underlines the relationship between chemistry and our world, how chemistry affects every aspect of our lives-from sports to fashion, art, and beauty. It makes us aware of chemicals that we encounter every day, helps us to distinguish between good chemicals and bad chemicals and shows us how chemistry will help in solving problems of the future such as the availability of safe drinking water and sustainable energy. The course highlights the contribution of chemistry in increasing human life span and improving the quality of life, through the discovery of newer chemicals and better materials.

Pre-Requirements: None!

This is an introductory course for students with a limited background in chemistry. It will be of great help to students as well as non-students irrespective of their academic background.

Course Design: Self-Paced Course

The course is designed with the ‘four-quadrant’ approach, the components of which are e- tutorial (videos), e-content, discussion forum, and assessments.


The course is divided into ten modules of 45 minutes each, inclusive of the assignment at the end of the module.

  • We are what we eat: Food additives- an introduction, E numbers, and International Numbering System, Food Colours, Flavours and Flavour Enhancers, Regulations governing food additives.

  • Food Additives: Preservatives and Antioxidants, Sugar substitutes, Trans Fats, Olestra.

  • History of Medicines: Contributions to the field of medicine from ancient to modern times and across the world.

  • Pharmaceuticals: Pharmaceuticals- an overview, Routes of drug administration, Antidiabetics, Antipyretic and Analgesics, Antihistamines.

  • Chemistry of Beauty: Cleopatra’s Beauty Secrets

  • Chemistry of Cosmetics: What are cosmetics? Important personal care products such as creams, shampoos, hair colors, and chemicals of concern in some cosmetics.

  • Plastics and Polymers: Introduction to plastics and polymers, some of the earliest polymers, plastics in daily use: HDPE, LDPE, PVC, PET, PP.

  • Plastics and the Environment: Environmental Hazards of plastics, Recycling, Biodegradable plastics, Edible polymers, Functional Polymers.

  • Chemistry of Sports Goods: How research in chemistry has given materials that have changed the sport and improved peak performances in sports.

  • Sports and Chemicals: Energy drinks Vs Sports Drinks, Health supplements, Performance enhancing drugs.

Mode of evaluation

Every course will be followed by an assignment/ evaluation which will test the basic understanding of the content covered in the modules. These evaluations will be in the form of short answers or multiple-choice questions, as well as participating in the interactive padlet.

In order to obtain a certificate from the Department of Chemistry, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai a proctored exam will be conducted every six months in the month of June and January. The cost of attempting the exam and getting the certification will be Rs. 1000/- including GST. Current students of St. Xavier"s College will be given a discount for the same. The final certificate will be given only to those who have submitted all follow-up assignments and pass the proctored exam.

Course Development Team

Content Creator – Ms. Saima Khan

Course Verifier - Dr. Geeta Kotian

Course Co-ordinator - Mr. Marazban Kotwal

Technical Support, Web- Design And Layouts – Mr. Kyle Meyers and Mr. Marazban Kotwal

Video Course delivery – Mr. Marazban Kotwal, Ms. Saima Khan, Mr. Kyle Meyers,

and Ms. Neha Kapadia

Video Edits and Graphics - Ms. Saima Khan and Ms. Neha Kapadia

YouTube Creatives - Ms. Neha Kapadia and Mr. Kyle Meyers

Click the following links to watch the videos, read the material and test your knowledge:

Interactive Padlet