CHEM 920, FALL 2003
Wed. 2:30-3:30 pm, 548 Hamilton Hall
web page:
Robert Powers
514A HaH
510-513 HaH
[email protected]
Office Hours: 10:30-12:00 pm MWF or by Special Appointment
Purpose of Course: The purpose of CHEM 920 is to 1) acquaint students with the
literature of Analytical Chemistry and new research topics in this field, 2) to help
students develop skills required for the critical evaluation of scientific literature, and 3) to
help students develop written and oral communication skills.
General Format: All students taking this course are required to give a presentation on
some topic of current interest in Analytical Chemistry. First year students must give a 25
min. presentation on 1-2 related research papers, while more senior students must make a
45-50 min. presentation on 3 or more related papers. Senior students may also give a
presentation on their area of research.
Topic Selection: The papers and topics selected for the presentations should be of general
significance to the field of Analytical Chemistry. The relative importance and level of
difficulty of the topic will be factored into the grade for this class. Approval must be
received from the instructor for the selected topic at least three weeks before the
presentation is to be given. Failure to do so will result in a 10 pt (5%) decrease in the
course grade.
Abstracts: A one page abstract of the presentation topic should be prepared by each
student. This should be single-spaced and include 1) the title of the presentation, 2) the
name of the speaker, 3) the date, time and location of the presentation, 4) a 1-2 paragraph
summary of the topic, and 5) a list of references that were used to prepare the
presentation (using full bibliographic citations – authors, article title, journal name, issue
number and page numbers, etc.) The summary given in the abstract should be written in
the student’s own words (not a copy from any article). This should provide some
background on the topic for the presentation and a summary of the important
points/conclusions that will be discussed at the talk. The abstract should be given to the
instructor one week before the presentation. At this time, the student must also give
copies of the abstract to the Chemistry Department office for posting and inclusion in the
weekly newsletter, as well as send copies by email to [email protected] and
[email protected] Failure to submit and circulate the abstract by the one week
deadline will also result in a 10 pt (5%) decrease in the course grade.
Presentation: The presentation should require 30-40 hours of preparation and should be
aimed at the level of a first or second-year graduate student. The use of overhead
transparencies or a PowerPoint presentation is required. These materials should be
prepared at least one week before the seminar and shown at that time to the instructor for
an initial evaluation. Again, failure to do so will result in a 10 pt (5%) decrease in grade.
All students should practice their seminars several times before their final presentation.
Each presentation will be evaluated by both the attending students and faculty in terms of
1) organization and clarity of the presentation, 2) the student’s understanding of the
material and ability to answer questions, and 3) the ability of the student to present the
material and capture the interest of the audience.
Class Participation: All students are required to take part in the seminars by other
students. This includes not only attendance at the seminars but also filling out evaluation
forms and participating in the discussion period that follows each talk. Failure to attend
and fill out a form for a seminar will result in a 5 pt reduction in grade for each missed
Grading: The following number of points will be given for each graded item in this
20 pts (Due three weeks before presentation)
25 pts (Due one week before presentation)
100 pts (Dates to be assigned)
55 pts (Attendance at all seminars is required)
200 pts
The tentative cutoffs for the final grades in this class will be as follows: A+ = 95%; A =
90%; A- = 85%; B+ = 80%; B = 75%; B- = 70%; C+ = 65%; C = 60%; C- = 55%. As an
800 level course, a final grade of “C” or greater is needed for this class to count towards a
graduate degree.
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