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Is instrumental analysis the worst chemistry class?

  1. Oct 3, 2005 #1
    Yes. Who can honestly in their right mind every say they enjoyed taking IA? No wonder there is always a demand for analytical chemists in industry- its so boring probably no one ever wants to do it. ::sigh:: i just have to vent because I hate this class so much. :mad:
     
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  3. Oct 3, 2005 #2

    GCT

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    I'm taking the class at the moment, which text are you using? Skoog's text is completely inadequate, seriously, I could have done a better job of writing a book; and you would be better off reading an encyclopedia version of IA. There are virtually no diagrams, no in detailed explanations and delving into topics, just mentioning subjects here and there...the text is virtually wortheless unless you're gifted with a high verbal IQ.

    The subject matter is not too bad though, and it'll be important for your future to understand just how these machines work.

    Have you had your first test yet?
     
  4. Oct 3, 2005 #3

    Gokul43201

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    Would either of you guys minding posting a brief outline of the course syllabus ? I'm curious about what gets covered.
     
  5. Oct 3, 2005 #4

    GCT

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    actually, the syllabus doesn't explicitly outline the topics, rather the chapter numbers; and I don't have the time at the moment to correspond with the text.

    So far , some of the subject matters we've covered: modes of data analysis in detail such as pertaining to signal to noise ratios...Fourier Transform, moving average, savitsky golay methods. We've covered the whole realm of atomic emmission spectrometry as well as atomic absorption spectrometry, the theoretical details in application of each concept to the instrumentation; importance and various modes of introductino of sources (atomization, nebulization, electrothermal vaporization, continuum sources, hollow cathode lamps etc.......), sample containers, wavelength selectors (monochromators-including everything about them such as resolution, importance of slit width, bandpass with relation to effective bandpass for e.g.), detectors (photomultipliers, charge coupled detectors).....

    and plenty more (flourescence, phosphorescence, lasers-population inversion, 4-3 state). The class doesn't involve simple memorization but you need to differentiate and apply the different concepts, but the text is so inadequate, in my opinion to satisfactorily engage and mess around with the ideas. It's kind of a fun class though because one can become very familiar with all of the instrumentation and neat devices.
     
  6. Oct 3, 2005 #5
    LOL yes I am using Skoog as Well

    Course Outline:

    1. Intro, statistics, signals and noise.
    2. Atomic spectroscopy-Intro, Atomic absorption, atomic emission, fluorescence
    3. Molecular Spectroscopy-UV, fluorescence, luminescence, IR, NMR, MS
    4. Chromatography-chromatographic theory, GC, HPLC, supercritical fluid chromatography


    I basically am parallel w/ GCT. Just had a midterm on 1. and 2. Optics, HCL, ED, CCDs, CIDs, AAS, AES, chemical interference, difference between the methods, other light sources, background correction methods, monochromators, transducers, all that good stuff. We basically did chap 1, 6-10 in Skoog. :yuck: :yuck: :yuck: I do not like IA at all. Yeah I stopped reading skoog because I have no idea what the hell he is talking about most of the time. I think the book is more geared towards grad students because a lot of times he seems to assume that you already know a lot of the terms he uses.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2005
  7. Oct 3, 2005 #6

    GCT

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    By chance, is there a copy of your recent test on the internet...I'm trying to obtain as many of these tests as possible. Here are some I've found so far

    http://groups.msn.com/GeneralCHemistryHomework/coursesinchemistry.msnw

    all the way at the bottom

    unfortunately my professor seemingly has higher expectations than some of the professors who have created these sites, he expects us to be very familiar with the theory and some of the questions require a lot of thinking....btw I haven't had my first midterm yet, it'll probably be sometime next week.
     
  8. Oct 3, 2005 #7
    I actually do have a copy, but I cant upload it cause its too large (pdf file). I can't send the link either cause you need a password to get to it.
     
  9. Oct 4, 2005 #8
    hmm which part is the hardest. Some of the topics overlap other classes, so they are pretty okay like HPLC, and all the specs
     
  10. Oct 4, 2005 #9

    Moonbear

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    LOL! When I was in college, that was THE worst taught course I took...the book was terrible and the professor was worse, not to mention the non-existent lab TA who left us to fend for ourselves. I was sorely disappointed, because, honestly, learning how that equipment really works and being able to use it is beneficial, especially the HPLC. I'm just getting the impression from this thread that it's more universal than I thought that the instructors for that course are not particularly effective teachers.
     
  11. Oct 4, 2005 #10
    The lab technique test, which we had was definitely harder. Crazy professors. And we skipped a couple of specs cause our prof wasnt familiar with them lol.
     
  12. Oct 4, 2005 #11

    Gokul43201

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    I'm not surprised that this is usually a poorly taught course. I wonder if it would make more sense to have the course taught by someone belonging to the Dept's Instrumentation Support group (if you have one).

    There are some physics depts where similar courses are often taught (though this is at the grad level) by a group of profs (3 or 4) - each talking about 1 or 2 techniques that s/he is most familiar with.
     
  13. Oct 4, 2005 #12
    THe part i don't understand is why we used HPLC and GCMS in our very first lab the first week of class. Why would we use those techniques if we don't learn about them until the very end of the semester? To top it off the HPLC we have is so old, it takes like 15 minutes to run a single sample! God how I would kill for a LC/MS or MS/MS machine like I get to use at work. The NMR we have also sucks, the most scans I think it can do is 8.
     
  14. Oct 4, 2005 #13

    Moonbear

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    That was a problem we had as well...there was no continuity between the lecture and the lab. There were 6 instruments we learned on, and each group started on a different one, so some of us were starting the lab on the very last instrument taught about in lecture, and some with the first instrument taught about in lecture...it was incredibly inequitable as a learning environment that some students had the advantage of the lab and lecture being on the same instrument and others the disadvantage of starting with something they knew nothing about based on lecture material.
     
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