Session S8 (Sunday, 2pm, Thomas 121)

P46: What do you mean you can “see” a molecule? Introducing IR and NMR in the allied health chemistry curriculum

Daniel Barr (Utica College, USA)

One of the major challenges in teaching chemistry to students in the health professions is the difficulty of convincing them of the reality of molecules and the fact that chemists can probe the properties of molecules to learn about the arrangement of atoms.  At Utica College, we have a strong history of using spectroscopic techniques early and often in chemistry courses for freshman so that students can learn to understand the spectroscopic techniques that undergird our assertions about molecular structure and bonding.  In the Allied Health Chemistry curriculum (a specialized second-semester general chemistry course for pre-health students), students are introduced to such chemical concepts as delocalized electrons in molecular orbitals as well as functional group analyses and simple reaction mechanisms.  These students often struggle to make meaningful connections between lecture material (which often focuses on the structure and behavior of invisible molecules) and lab (which focuses on the manipulation of tangible compounds).  Introducing basic concepts of IR and NMR spectroscopy helps to provide students with a bridge for connecting what they learn about molecular structure with the experiments that they perform in lab.  The successes and challenges of introducing applications of spectroscopy in the Allied Health Chemistry course will be presented.


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