HOW FAR WE CAN UNDERSTAND THE SELF-ASSEMBLY OF MOLECULES

C.A. Rius-Alonso, Y. González-Quezada

Facultad de Química, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México (MEXICO)
At the University-level, students start to wonder about everything, and they try to find a logical explanation to all the phenomena.

One of the most intriguing topics is; living organism, how they interact with each other, at the individual level, which are the rule that molecules follow at the cellular level, how protein transfers information in order to keep live organism going on. In fact, we are in a world with many questions and few answers.

Even that society has tried to solve these topics in different ways; however, no answers are available yet. At the Faculty of Chemistry at UNAM, we try to teach students in the last semester of their courses, a new way of thinking to solve problems.

Because we deal with molecules and teach the behavior of them at the atomic level, in our courses we try to teach students to find solutions to complex problems as a self-assembly of molecules, a first place for finding the order and the foundations of biological structures.

We start the course teaching the most important features of the molecules, and also how they can interact with themselves and other molecules. Next using Molecular Modeling programs we teach them how to interpret the results, and find the different variables involved in the process.

It is very satisfied that after the end of the course students can find a lot of solutions by themselves, and most of the questions, they had at the beginning of the course, are solved.