Organic Chemistry Lab II: CHEM 242
The CHEM 241 laboratory course is an introduction to the techniques used in organic laboratories, including distillation, crystallization, extraction, and chromatography. In CHEM 242, these techniques are combined with modern spectroscopy and applied to synthesis of unknown identification.
I figured I spend so much time talking in this Portfolio talking about Pre-Med, I should actually show some of the work I've done for my Pre-Med courses. CHEM 242 was the dreaded Organic Chemistry lab. A departure from the partnered and relatively straightforward General Chemistry lab, this quarter of lab would task us with deducing the identity of three unknown compounds using everything we'd learned so far. It was freaking scary, but once I got into it, it was actually a lot of fun. I really enjoyed my two quarters in organic chemistry lab, because it seemed like it actually applied to what I was learning in class. The General Chemistry labs had always seemed a little random, like experiments that were just for kicks as a way to actually teach us lab protocol. Also, it was nice that the emphasis was on the lab itself, and not the pages upon pages of paperwork we'd had to do the year before.
However, below you'll find my three lab reports for the Unknown compounds which - I'm proud to say - are pages upon pages of paperwork. My TA was a really cool guy who had us write our lab reports as if we were submitting them to a scientific journal, something none of the other TA's in the class had the students do. I really appreciate the experience he gave me of practicing that kind of technical and comprehensive writing. In addition, I think these lab reports really demonstrate the amount of effort I put into these labs, and the passion I have in general for science. The kind of detective work I had to do, reviewing tests and charts in order to determine the identity of these unknown compounds, isn't completely unlike the process behind making a diagnosis in a patient. I'd also like to add that these lab reports are a far better indicator of my performance in this class, in terms of effort and knowledge of the content, than my final grade would suggest (I won't go into a diatribe regarding the UW Chem Department's notorious curving policy or the fact that our grades were determined in a lab course by two exams rather than our lab reports).