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The Chemistry department has revised Chemistry 20 for next year to make it less demanding.
The Fall semester will be entirely a lecture course, while the second will combine lectures with labs. This year the course has lab both semesters for about eight hours a week.
"Chem 20 has a justifiable reputation for being a very heavy course," William von Eggers Doering '38, Mallinckrodt Professor of Chemistry and lecturer in the course, said Thursday. He added that it was difficult to arrange a meaningful lab when students know so little organic chemistry.
Doering said that the new lab system will not handicap pre-med students. "There is no evidence that the revised Chem 20 will not satisfy admission requirements for all medical schools," he said.
Doering said that medical schools do not specify a full year of lab in organic chemistry courses. The Harvard Medical School admissions office, for example, asks only for "adequate time" in the laboratory. "One semester of lab taken with the intellectual background of the Fall semester can be made nearly equivalent to the present course," Doering said.
A new Spring term course will be offered next year as an alternative to the second half of Chem 20. Chemistry 21b will be open to students who receive a grade of B or better in the Fall term of Chem 20. It will have the same labs as the second semester of Chem 20, but will place more emphasis on theory. It is recommended for concentrators in Chemistry and related sciences, although it is not designed primarily for concentrators.
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