Don’t lie, you know you love that little mid-class catnap. And we all get pissed when section rolls around and we are forced to (gasp!) pay attention. Now imagine if you were in a class where such glorious oblivion was essentially impossible, as it is for Jenny Y. Wang ’10, the only student in Erving Research Professor of Chemistry William Klemperer’s Freshman Seminar “Seeing by Spectroscopy.”
For those of us who never got past the elementary acronym ROYGBIV, Professor Klemperer says, “I think the easiest way to explain it is that spectroscopy is the...detailed examination of the frequencies of radiation.” Easy? Come again?
Perhaps it was simply the word “Spectroscopy” that scared so many students away when scrolling through the list of spring seminars, which includes everything from the visually appealing “How to Look at Paintings,” to the physically stimulating “Language, Sex, and Culture.”
In the 4 years that he has been teaching the course, Professor Klemperer says student enrollment has peaked at about 6, but this is the first time it has only had one student. However, according to Acting Director of Freshman Seminars Sandra Naddaff, this is not a first for the program in general.
Although, in talking about enrollment, Professor Klemperer admits that, “Something went wrong this year.” He also says that “It makes it different, but it’s fun for me.”
In an e-mail, Jenny writes, “On the one hand, it’s really nice to be able to interrupt the professor and ask questions at any time...On the other hand, it’s hard to have to focus at every moment of a two hour class, especially when you’re used to being one of 600 or so in Sanders Theater.”
Hopefully next year there will be more spectroscopically curious freshmen. In the meantime: Jenny, keep up the good work—after all, you are the class average.