P367: Techniques, synthesis, and analysis in a one-semester organic chemistry laboratory course of a liberal arts college
Organic chemistry is an integral part of all pre-health curricula. Students planning careers in health related professions must master the subject and learn the unique thought process involved in the theory and practice of organic chemistry. A new one-semester laboratory course is being developed to replace the traditional two-semester labs that were taken with the lecture. This two-credit course will address both the latest medical school requirements and the new format of the MCAT exam as well as the university’s budgetary constraints. Techniques, previously addressed in the first semester, are now introduced along with synthesis and characterization. Spectroscopy, in particular NMR and IR, are discussed first in the laboratory as a means of product characterization. Molecular modeling often accompanies a synthesis to explain product formation in terms of stability and structure calculations or as stand alone exercises. Chromatography experiments, including thin layer and gas-liquid chromatography, are used to separate the components of mixtures or to monitor the progress of a reaction. The concept of stereochemistry is illustrated in a polarimetry activity, and the issue of sustainability is demonstrated in a green chemistry experiment. The organic chemistry laboratory is part of a renovated facility and is appreciated and enjoyed by both students and faculty.