Friday feature: ChemLab Boot Camp

In case you missed it last fall, you should check out our unique series, ChemLab Boot Camp. Each year, groups of MIT freshmen are introduced to MIT’s laboratory environment through a four-week January course called 5.301 Chemistry Lab Techniques. In January 2012, a film crew followed 14 students as they struggled to complete experiments required in the class. The stakes were high—students who passed the class were guaranteed a job in an MIT research lab.

The 2-5 minute episodes, shot in a style that mixes the geek fun of open educational resources with the immediacy of reality TV, brings viewers closer to the experience of being an MIT student than ever before. Follow the students as they struggle to master the intricacies of working with solvents and compete to grow the largest crystals. The videos are part of a broader effort funded by The Dow Chemical Company to foster interest in science and engineering careers.

“Despite the critical need for more and more people trained in chemistry and chemical engineering, the fields have not been as attractive as they should be,” said MIT Professor John Essigmann in commenting on the inspiration for the series. “Dow and MIT have mobilized our collective resources to try to show high school and college students what it is like to be a chemist. We hope to show the human side of our field and to inspire young people to want to become the next generation of chemists.”

Check out Episode 1:

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