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Reactions Mechanisms and the Elementary Step

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Making the Play

Making the Play

Credit: Bluedog423
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carolina-Duke_basketball_2006_1.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The point guard takes the ball and slowly dribbles across the center line, giving his team time to set up their play. As the power forward sprints toward the basket, the guard passes the ball to the center. There’s a quick bounce pass to the forward who jumps and jams the ball into the basket. Score!

Why It Matters

  • North Carolina is the quintessential basketball country and a key rivalry every years plays out between the neighboring universities of Duke (in Durham) and the University of North Carolina (down the road a ways in Chapel Hill). These two teams always provide an exciting match-up when they play each other.
  • Basketball moves fast and there are always intricate plays. A simple shot from outside the three-point circle obviously involves one player (unimolecular), although the other team members are providing protection for the shooter. Bimolecular plays would involve a simple pass and shot from one team member to another. Unlike chemistry, the vast majority of basketball plays are termolecular since they involve more members of the team – usually all five players are involved in one way or another.
  • Intermediate players are key to basketball success. In a given play, they may not shoot the ball, but they may move it to position another player for a shot. Sometimes the moving is slow, dribbling in an area. At other times, the ball moves rapidly from one player to another as the team positions itself for a shot.
  • Credit: DeusXFlorida
    Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8363028@N08/4283632652/
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    It is very easy for a defense to stop one player, which is why passing between players is critical for a successful offense [Figure2]

     

  • Watch a video about basketball at the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TI8FH7foJgM

Show What You Know

Use the links below to learn more about reaction kinetics. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Why would a decomposition reaction be considered unimolecular?
  2. What does a reaction mechanism describe?
  3. What is the reaction order for the decomposition of NO2?
  4. What is the “paint”?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Bluedog423; Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carolina-Duke_basketball_2006_1.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: DeusXFlorida; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8363028@N08/4283632652/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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