Monthly Archives: November 2008

Today’s “Failures” = Tomorrow’s Successes

Textbook reactions do not always give textbook results. Since we received several new chromatography and spectroscopy instruments as part of our move-in package to our new building we have been doing a more thorough analysis of student products made in organic chemistry labs. In addition to doing the traditional melting point, TLC, IR, UV-vis, and […]


All of us would agree that exposing students to routine organic chemistry analytic instruments is an important part of Organic Chemistry laboratory. However, instrument use by the students gets more problematic as student population grows. 1a) Ideally, students would run their own analysis (with appropriate supervision) as part of the experiment just like they do […]


This past week we performed an experiment that investigated the kinetics of an SN1 reaction. I have been teaching with this experiment for years for the following reasons: 1) It fits in very well with the SN1/SN2 lecture material which is a key part of first semester organic chemistry, 2) it emphasizes some skills that […]

Experiential Experiments

  This week we are doing an extension of the “isolation of caffeine from tea” experiment. The student s bring in their own caffeinated beverage and plan a experimental procedure to extract caffeine from this beverage. Last year we did this experiment as an extension of the “caffeine from tea” lab so that the two […]