Rules for Conduct and Grading Policy

Introductory Chemistry Courses

Memo to Students

by Kevin J. Rice, (

Department of Chemistry, University of Kansas, Lawrence KS

In this lab, you will be working with some potentially dangerous substances. The following list of rules will help streamline the activities of all lab personnel and should produce a more amenable fatality rate than previous semesters.

1.                  Use of gloves for handling caustic agents or hot glassware is prohibited. This has led to too many damaged gloves, and since our budget has been cut for the fifth straight semester, we no longer have the luxury of wasting them.

2.                  Because our lab will be kept at a temperature substantially below Standard Temperature this term, please add water to acid. This will aid in the defrosting of the room before the end of the lab period.

3.                  It takes energy to operate the fume hoods, so in accordance with departmental energy conservation policies, their use has been discontinued. Just hold your breath.

4.                  All experiments will be done in groups of two. This is to ensure that at least one partner survives to report on experimental results, if any.

5.                  Synthesis of dangerous and/or carcinogenic compounds will be permitted only on Monday through Saturday; the Handicapped Cleaning Services come through on Saturday and Sunday and tend to eat everything in sight. After all, you know the maxim, "Hire the handicapped, they're fun to watch." Be aware, only Pure deadly substances should be left in sight on Saturday when you leave.

6.                  A first aid station is located in the bottom drawer of the instructor's desk. Naturally, assassination or other disabling of the instructor will render this locked compartment inaccessible.

7.                  When using power supplies (e.g., conducting electrolysis) the use of more than 100KWh of electricity exceeds departmental limits. However, since we only have a limited amount of time available for labs, an excessively meek current will not be in the best interests of peak efficiency.

8.                  Should any student willfully disobey these rules, and any established in the future, he or she will be penalized by tasting and or sniffing solutions after class. The concentrations of these solutions will be commensurate with the severity of the violation.

9.                  Do not tease the laboratory animals, if present. Their lives are miserable enough as it is, and since the Psych students get them later, we don't want to give them any complexes.

10.              Graduated cylinders are devices for measuring volume, and thermometers are for registering temperature ONLY. Vaseline is available for check out, but please, people, if you must play, remember your instructor. They can get lonely too.

11.              Grading policy. Grades in lab are purely at the discretion of the instructor and will be awarded on a subjective basis. Cowardice in the laboratory (e.g. using goggles, tongs, stirring rods where fingers would do, etc.) will seriously effect point standings. ON the other hand, originality in the lab will be a definite plus. Points for originality will be given on the following tentative scale:

        50 -- The first student to successfully produce the smell of almonds (NaCN);

        40 -- Successfully carrying out an experiment which defies ALL the laws of chemistry (sorry, no particle physics allowed);

        30 -- Successfully carrying out an experiment which defies at least ONE of the laws of physics/ chemistry/ economics/ergonomics/ evolution (sorry, your being born doesn't count);

        20 -- Creative, original, and inventive combination of chemicals with at least one partner surviving;

        10 -- Discovery of new and original ways to contaminate stock bottles without discovery of the impurity for at least 24 hours. If sufficiently unexpected results appear in the next lab section, additional bonus points may be awarded;

        5 -- Preparation of compounds that cause death in both humans and animals that emulates an ordinary disease, i.e., a drug that will appear as chicken pox or acne but eventually cause death. remember, although we cannot be held responsible for the lives/safety of your fellow lab workers, we encourage actual experimentation on these compounds OUTSIDE the classroom.

13. Like most natural phenomena, success in the lab is by survival of the fittest. Wimps, grow up.

14. Good luck...!


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