Monday, July 6, 2009

After a hard day of class

Today our class learned some really hard material to grasp. In the morning, we first began class by obtaining the aspirin we made last Thursday and ran a few tests to check its impurity. My group's aspirin was truly a complete success. Our first test, a melting point test, was conducted using a a machine that hastily raised the temperature of our product. The average melting point of aspirin is between 134-136 degrees Celsius, and our aspirin melted at 134 degrees. The next text conducted was a phenol test, where we would check to see if there were any impurities within our sample. Once the aspirin was mixed with the solution, it was change color; black would signify any impurities the sample would have -- and our sample failed to have any. The third test was required more technological one, as we placed the samples inside a computer and compared the graph with commercial aspirin; the similarity was 87%.

After, the students and I learned a complex lesson in Organic Chemistry -- the NMR. The NMR is a machine that determines the resistance of the electrons within the atoms of the molecule, and would thus display them in spikes on a graph. While the concept of this machine was hard to grasp, interpreting the graphs was even harder. 

The discussion was centered on interpreting these graphs. It was hard, and I was only able to understand the bare minimum of the concept, which to me was remarkable; I thought I wouldn't understand a single thing. Later, the my mentor explained to the group and I that this lab experiment was not intended for the students to fully comprehend, but more of an exposure so that the students will have a little understanding and upper hand of the material that us prospective college students will experience.

After class, Cristina, Jessica, Jackie, and I took Yohanna out for her last full day in New York City. It was really great to relax after such a stressful day in class. My past few days in New York have consisted of this schedule -- I would start with class then end it off with a nice day out in the city -- and I'm coming to love this type of life. This is almost everything I've seen myself in the future doing, and is greatly strengthening my love for living the city-life as a college student.


Charles Tillman Ramsey said...

Thanks Gabe for this wonderful post. I can feel your love of New York City and Columbia in your writing. I know that you will also have a great time at the University of Pennsylvania this Saturday.

It appears that the city life appeals to you. I hope that you will visit with our Northern California Admissions Officer David Buckwald before you return to California. You will want to remain in contact with him, he has been to our district and did an informational night at Harding Elementary last fall.

I can see that you are on a roll with the Intensive Seminars in Modern Chemistry. It sounds exciting and I am glad that you are grasping the concepts. Chemistry is not easy, but if you can continue to show improvement the world is your osyter. I am also glad that you had a final evening with Yohanna. Remember, we want you to also include Sofia, I did not see her on the guest list. I am just supposing that she had to meet with her tutor that she declined to go. Remember, we are a cohort and everyone within the ILC is a family.

Glad that all is going well and I am appreciative of your fine work. Continued success.

Take care.

Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
School Board Member
West Contra Costa
Unified School District

Don Gosney said...


Chemistry can be so much fun, can’t it? What ever happened to the good old days when we messed with our chemistry sets in the garage and just mixed a few chemicals together to see what they might do?

When they do all of these lab tests on the TV shows it seems as though they have the best and newest equipment, lots of room to work and everything seems to work right every time. Just where are those labs located?

We often learn more from our failures, Gabe, then we do from our successes so some of the travails you’re writing about may serve you well in the future.

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