If you are a chemistry major, or happen to take general chemistry 2, as I know many of the nursing and biology majors have to do, then you will have to take part in this. It’s kind of a semester long project done in parts and presented at the end of the semester. I now only wish when I was walking by those poster boards in Naraghi Hall that I paid a little more attention to them since I’m sure those were presentations of the Grand Experimental Challenge.
So, what is it you ask? It’s an experiment where every student in a general chemistry 2 lecture has to come up with their own experiment. Ask a question and make up an experiment to test/answer your question. Once the professors have looked over everyone’s proposed question they narrow it down and then the process goes on to designing the lab. It is going into better detail of what materials are required and what needs to happen in the lab.
The accepted/winners of that portion get to see their experiments come to life. In each chemistry lab class there are groups created and each group gets to actually test one of the experiments someone came up with. When all of the data is collected from the lab, it is put onto a poster board and presented.
Friday was the due date for our proposal. As I said I wish I had paid a little more attention to the poster boards in Naraghi at the end of the semester last year to maybe get an idea of what kind of experiments to expect. I’m not sure if those posters were for the Grand Experimental Challenge but I could only hope. My professors said to create an experiment based on interests. I was a little stumped and was waiting for a boost of idea but that never came.
I had a few small ideas, but to me they seemed like because I was in college they weren’t as in depth as they should have been. All I had was one semester of chemistry to give me any idea, and all of the labs we had done last semester were turned in at the end of the year which means I couldn’t have looked at them for some help.
My final proposal of an experiment was this:
What elements are in a latent fingerprint and what effects of ninhydrin make the fingerprint visible? How much of ninhydrin is required to make a fingerprint visible?
If you aren’t familiar ninhydrin is used mostly in crime scenes to make latent (unseen) fingerprints visible on something like paper. It isn’t much, but it was something that interested me, didn’t seem too complicated to test, but also wasn’t to simple that it solved itself easily.