Ever wondered where medicines come from or how they are made in the laboratory?

Students in Connecticut College's advanced organic chemistry course have this knowledge, as they learn in detail how complex organic molecules, including pharmaceuticals, are synthesized.

That is because the new, state-of- the-art instruments used by all our chemistry students, even in their first two years, include some of the best available.

Small labs allow hands-on, personal instruction

Typically, chemistry labs at Connecticut College are held in the new F.W Olin Science Center for the first two years, then students move to Hale Laboratory for the final two years. Both facilities are bright, new, clean, safe and well-equipped. All students carry out their experiments in state-of-the-art fume hoods to ensure their safety.

The first two years include general chemistry, organic and analytical chemistry labs, which are divided up into small sections, with just 12 students working under the direction of one faculty member.

The small lab class size allows each student to have close personal interaction with faculty and hands-on use of our sophisticated equipment. Small class size also allows the integration of activities that promote scientific writing and oral presentation skills being developed in a research-like atmosphere.

The upper level labs, including biochemistry, advanced synthetic organic, physical, inorganic and instrumental chemistry, are also divided up into small groups of 12 students or less. These students have access to the same equipment mentioned - and more - in the newly renovated Hale Laboratory.

Students access sophisticated equipment

In their first two years, students have access to infrared and UV-Visible spectrophotometers, a tandem Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer, a 500 MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectrometer, molecular modeling software on the computers in labs, fluorometers and more. These instruments are typically used by students for structural analysis of their own products synthesized in the lab.

In our advanced organic chemistry course, (noted in the introduction,) students learn in detail how complex organic molecules, including pharmaceuticals are synthesized. Motivated students have the unique opportunity to greatly expand their knowledge of organic chemistry, especially those who wish to pursue graduate studies in organic chemistry or prepare for careers as synthetic organic chemists in the pharmaceutical industry.

Biochemistry students perform a semester-long research-like project in which they isolate, purify and characterize an enzyme, just as they would in a research or graduate program. For this research, they have access to three dimensional molecular modeling capabilities, a high speed centrifuge, high pressure liquid chromatograph, multiple electrophoresis systems, UV-visible spectrophotometers, a lyophilizer to freeze-dry proteins, and a polarimeter.

In the physical chemistry courses (CHM 307 and 309), students use lasers, high resolution spectrometers and other modern analytical and diagnostic instruments to probe the energies and dynamic behavior of atoms and molecules

In advanced classes in inorganic chemistry (CHM 402) and instrumental methods of analysis (CHM 414), students experience hands-on learning with synthetic and instrumental techniques routinely used in cutting-edge research. They get to use additional major equipment: a scanning electron microscope, inert atmosphere glove box and other air-free synthetic apparatus, powder X-ray diffractometer, thermal analysis instrumentation, electrochemical analyzer and chromatography instrumentation.