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Staffed by a generally able faculty and endowed with laboratory facilities to rival any in the country, the Chemistry Department offers a worthwhile field of study for all those who have a yen for science. But while the field as a whole opens many avenues of future work, the Division is weakest in its elementary preparation. The Department's principal sins lie in its presentation of basic subjects and in its failure to correlate adequately the early material studied.
First and foremost of the courses that need new life is Chemistry A. With a professor unavailable to his students and assistants alike, with laboratory and lectures ill-tuned and out of step, and with an inordinate amount of memorizing and out-moded theory, the course presents a pitiful introduction to the rest of the field. Many concentrators have found themselves insufficiently prepared for advanced work, both in theoretical knowledge and in laboratory techinque. Aside from this main blot on the Division, there is also need for a more thorough bio-chemistry course than the half year now given, and for a better presentation of qualitative analysis than Chemistry 33 now offers.
Since Chemistry has no tutors or divisional exams, an adviser system that functions more smoothly would improve the efficiency of the Department. At present few people realize that, in the absence of tutors, the advisers should be available to students for consultation and help. Topics demanding special explanation and correlation can best be handled in tutorial conferences. The situation clearly calls for a more definite and formal arrangement, since students now hesitate to go to their advisers for fear of imposing on their time.
But given a new introductory course, better biochemistry, and a working system of advisers, the Division could hold up its head with the finest in the college. Even under the present set-up many stimulating professors and superb facilities make it a good field thoroughly worthwhile, and one which leads to graduate work that those interested in science cannot fail to appreciate.
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