Jean P. McIntyre
Keyes 313A
phone: 3312
e-mail: jpmcinty

Office hours:
Tuesday, 10-11
Thursday, 2-3 and by appointment
Dasan M. Thamattoor
Keyes 302

Office hours:
as announced weekly
and by appointment



This year you will be spending four hours a week of your valuable time in the organic chemistry lab. It is our hope that these hours will be educational, productive, and fun. We are committed to providing you with a safe lab experience and ensuring that environmentally sound practices are always followed. Much of this semester is concerned primarily with learning several fundamental techniques in experimental organic chemistry. These include crystallizations, melting point determinations, extractions and separations, distillation, and chromatography. You will be also introduced to molecular modeling using the state-of-the-art facilities at the Paul J. Schupf Scientific Computing Center in Keyes 404. Furthermore, you will be trained in instrumental methods such as gas chromatography, polarimetry, and IR and NMR spectroscopy.

The philosophy of the lab is pretty simple. You are here to learn not only how to do things, but the underlying concepts as well. We want you to know both what you are doing and why you are doing it. You will miss a great deal if your goal is to only follow the protocol without thinking, observing, and questioning. Indeed, we require that you come prepared to lab with your own protocol that is based on the handout. Laboratory material may be incorporated into class exams.

As we are more concerned with your understanding of the experiments, our grading of your performance may be somewhat unusual. Your grade will not entirely depend upon, for example, getting a bumper yield or accurate melting points. You must, however, be able to recognize when an experiment has not progressed ³perfectly,² and be able to explain your actual results. In keeping with this policy, it is very seldom that you will start an experiment over if something goes wrong. Instead, you will figure out ways to recoup your losses and continue. The phrase ³benchtop recovery² may well become part of your vocabulary, although hopefully not on a regular basis.

In addition to the help we can provide, there are many resources in the Olin Science Library, and you are encouraged to take advantage of them. In fact, room 142 in the library is a study room that contains a variety of laboratory manuals and textbooks that are there for your use. It is especially important for you to become familiar with the Merck Index and the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics that can be found in the reference section of the library; we also have copies of these reference books in the lab. Catalogs published by chemical companies such as Acros and Aldrich are also useful sources of information.


We try not to have too many burdensome rules and regulations in the lab, but a few are necessary for your safety and for the smooth operation of the lab.

  • You must wear goggles at all times in the lab. Approved goggles are available at the bookstore.
  • Of course, no eating or drinking is allowed in lab.
  • Please leave your sweaters, coats, etc. outside the lab. Sandals without socks (or open-toed shoes) are not permitted.
  • We will make sure that you are aware of any special precautions that should be taken with chemicals used in a particular experiment, but you should treat all chemicals as if they were hazardous.
  • Special containers are provided for the disposal of waste; you should never dispose of anything down the lab sinks unless your instructor indicates that it is safe to do so.
  • If you spill anything or break glassware, seek the lab instructor's advice for cleaning up.
  • Your laboratory space and equipment are shared by others, so cleaning up after the experiment is as much a part of the lab as the experiment itself. You would not want to find dirty glassware when you start an experiment, and neither does anyone else.
Please Note:
  • Laboratory experiments will be available on the web the Monday before the experiment is to begin. Most labs have a prelab assignment, so it is important that you download the experiment as soon as it is posted to give yourself ample time to complete the prelab (some require that you find information not provided in the handout itself). The most efficient method would be to write the prelab assignment in your laboratory notebook and turn in the carbon copy for grading. Prelab assignments will be due in class on the Friday before the new experiment is to begin. They will be graded and be available to you outside of the laboratory, Keyes 305, the following Monday morning.
  • As mentioned earlier, you are expected to bring to lab your own written protocol for the experiment using the information given in the handout. Copying the handout is neither expected nor recommended, but you must be able to perform the experiment simply by following your own protocol. Thus, it is imperative that you read the handout and understand the procedures for each experiment before coming to lab. This protocol should be completed in your laboratory notebook and the carbon copy turned in at the beginning of your lab session.
  • Unless indicated otherwise on the laboratory schedule, lab reports are due at the beginning of your particular lab section one week following the completion of the experiment. These reports must be typed. You may not use the data or assistance of other students in writing your lab reports (or prelab assignments) without the instructorıs approval.
  • At the end of each lab session you will need to hand in the carbon copy pages from your notebook on which has been recorded the actual experimental details for the lab. This primary record of your experiment in progress will be attached to your laboratory report for each experiment and included in the grading scheme for that report. Notebook expectations are outlined later in this handout.

Many of you in this course will go on to graduate school or positions where you will be keeping and using a laboratory notebook. It is therefore important that you develop appropriate habits concerning this practice.

In the world of science and medicine, laboratory notebooks are public, legal documents that can be subpoenaed by the courts. Patent disputes involving huge monetary awards have been settled in this way. Cases of allegations of research fraud have been decided based on entries found (or not found) in laboratory notebooks.

Routinely, however, notebooks serve the more important function of facilitating research. Your laboratory notebook is the primary record of all work done in the laboratory. Everything relevant to the experiments you perform should be entered into your notebook as you proceed. It is not appropriate to fill in your notebook after the fact; this would make your entries recollections, not a primary record. Your procedures should be complete enough so that someone with a comparable level of proficiency in chemistry could repeat your experiment using your notebook only.

    The following guidelines should help you to know what is expected: The notebook must be bound and have tear-out carbon copy pages.
  • The dates you perform the experiments should accompany your entries.
  • Pages should be numbered; a table of contents should precede your first experiment, and each experiment should be titled.
  • All entries must be permanent, i.e. use ink, not pencil.
  • Keep all entries legible, even errors. Cross out mistakes so that the original entries are still easy to read.
  • Acknowledge partners and anyone else who has supplied data to you. Cite references where appropriate.
  • All data (including units), graphs, calculations and conclusions should be in your notebook. It may be possible on occasion to photocopy sections of your notebook as part of your lab report.
Keeping a proper notebook becomes easier with practice, but if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask your instructor.