Welcome to the University of
Mississippi Polymer Science Online Laboratory
Welcome to the Macrolab: an online laboratory course in polymer chemistry. This course will be completely different from any laboratory you have had in the past for many reasons. Besides the obvious difference of the lab manual being online instead of in a textbook, the way the material is approached will be new to you as well. In the past, you have likely performed "cookbook" labs in which you were told how much of each chemical to put in to a flask and how long to cook it. You probably did not learn a lot in those labs, or at least do not remember most of what you were "taught." In this course, however, we will attempt to use an inquiry based approach to help you learn to use the information provided in your other courses.

You are probably asking yourself what inquiry based means. In general terms, it means that you will be asking yourself questions about how to do each experiment. We will not give you step-by-step, hand-holding instructions on how each reaction should be run. When you are doing research in the real world, no one tells you how to run your reactions. You read the literature and other background information and see how it was done before, and then think of how you could do it the same, or different. Just like a real scientist, in this course you will be required to use information which you learned in other classes, or reseach from the literature, to determine the appropriate procedure for each experiment. We will give some step-by-step instructions on how to use equipment and perform some of the procedures which are new to you. However, these instructions will be generalized, and you will have to adapt them to your specific problem. In other words, we will teach you how to do science.

Now, you are probably a little nervous that this course will be very hard. I won't lie to you, its not going to be easy! A lot will be expected of you, and you will probably have more work in this course than any other, but you should be able to see the connections between each experiment, and why they are so important. If this does not appeal to you, you are more than welcome to change your major without fear of ridicule. Not everyone is cut out for hard science. However, for those of you who remain in the course, you will be rewarded with a greater knowledge of how to do good science (in other words you'll get a good job and lots of money in the future).

Here are a few things you must read before doing any experiments

Enter the Macrolab

Copyright ©1998 | Department of Polymer Science | University of Southern Mississippi