Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What I Learned

Throughout our stay in the lab, many new ideas, concepts, and technology was introduced to us.  We had the great opportunity to learn more about organic compounds, and how they play a role in our health and in the environment.  We also learned about the different analytical tools used to understand different properties of chemicals, such as the Mass Spectrometer and the Gas Chromatogram we used in the lab.  Most of all, I enjoyed listening to and learning about the projects others in both our lab and in Dr. Plata’s lab were working on.  All of the projects were really advanced, and required Chinanu and I to go back to the office and research terms and technologies that we have not heard of before, opening our eyes to aerogels, SEM ( Scanning Electron Microscope), and Quadrupole Time of Flight to name a few.  

I think I gained the most knowledge about organic compounds this summer, which is very valuable to me because I am looking to go into a chemistry related field in college and after.  In school, we were required to learn organic chemistry, but the information did not truly resonate with me, making it difficult to remember basic concepts such as nomenclature.  I came into the lab knowing a lot about chemistry, but not a lot about organic chemistry.  I feel like I am leaving the summer having a greater understanding of not only the different compounds and how they are classified, but also how they affect our bodies.  I once thought the effect of ozone in the troposphere had a negative impact on human lungs because it forced oxygen out of the troposphere.  This is not the case however, as Dr. Gentner explained to me, but rather ozone is an irritant when in contact with our lungs.  This is just one example of one of the things he taught Chinanu and I personally about organic chemistry.  

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