How Useful Are Lab Courses in Chemistry?

How Useful Are Lab Courses in Chemistry?

Author: Jonathan Faiz

Traditional practical laboratory courses can be tough, and require a lot of self-motivation—maybe you still remember qualitative and quantitative ion analysis or similar lab exercises. These days, students’ schedules are packed and shorter lab courses are more likely to involve successful experiments with detailed instructions. But what do traditional lab courses on ion analysis actually teach us?

In his Editorial in Angewandte Chemie, Roland A. Fischer, Technical University of Munich, Germany, explains the many advantages of such courses. They are a valuable introduction to logical scientific thinking and drawing conclusions from the obtained results. Such courses encourage tenacity (which is essential for research) and independently identifying problems and solutions. The satisfaction gained upon solving a problem is highly rewarding.

More modern lab courses might focus on manual skills or operating instruments and take the focus away from the real chemical problems behind the experiments. Qualitative ion analysis courses give students experience that can be applied across the field of chemistry, and allow them to really “feel the pulse” at the core of our science.


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