Undergraduate Projects (again!) This Time: MChem

I wrote back in May about final year projects, meaning BSc final year. http://www.possibilitiesendless.com/2016/05/one-year-out-another-year-in/ It’s a nice aggregation of previous musings on the subject and therefor relevant to the brainfull of thoughts leaping from my fingers. For 2016/17 we have a new type of project: final year MChem projects. I’m yet to see assessment criteria […]

On the process of doing research.

Question: if you are the first person in the known universe to attempt a reaction, why on earth would you assume that the reaction has worked and progress to the next step without characterising your product fully? I appreciate that undergraduate labs are often ‘illustration of concept’ labs that have been designed and further refined […]

Lessons from Week 10

It is week 10 of the semester here and that means that everyone is pretty fraught. Deadlines, marking, the uncovery of under- or un-prepared lectures right before Christmas and for some, the residual effects of REF2014. Despite all that, there are a few reasons to be cheerful, if a little perplexed. 1. Inviting a class […]

REPOST: To buy or not to buy

This was first posted on February 10th 2009. It’s an issue that’s just cropped up again in 3rd year projects! — That is the chemist’s question, this chemist anyway. In much the same way that one pays for food in a restaurant because the chef has added value by cooking and combining raw ingredients, a […]

Project Survival Guide

All of our final year students do an independent research project irrespective of degree. There’s little point in discussing how to select a project in the first place because most institutions ask students to pick a selection of projects and hopefully allocate one of them. Anyway, its an undergraduate project and while extremely important in […]

Safety First…or Not?

This is the end of week 2 of the semester.  The first week was not a proper ‘freshers week’ per se, but a week of induction talks, meeting with personal tutees, new project students (all 5 of them!!) and laboratory safety talks.  I ended up doing the 1st year lab safety talk and the 3rd […]