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organic chemistry lab courses in Pakistan

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Old 01-05-2004, 02:20 AM
Allan Adler
Posts: n/a
Default organic chemistry lab courses in Pakistan

Thanks to Mohammed Farooq for his comments in reply to my questions and
for pointing out certain misunderstandings on my part.

I'll take a look.

Regarding my suggestion about making one's own goggles by recycling
plastic bottles, MF writes:

A recycling facility is a general solution to a much more general problem.
That's good if you have it, but it isn't what I had in mind. Lindsay books
lists three books that tell you how to build your own machines. These books
are aimed at people who are drawing on low budgets. Here are the 3 books:
(1) V.R.Gingery, "Secrets of building a plastic injection molding machine".
This sells for about $16. According to the catalogue, "you'll be molding
with plastic recycled from milk jugs, soda pop bottles, plastic oil cans
and more". That doesn't meen you get them from a recycling facility, it
means you do your own recycling.
(2) Vince Gingery, "Secrets of building a plastic vacuum forming machine".
This sells for $16. According to the catalogue, "This machine is built
almost entirely of angle iron and flat bar. ... The machine has a
12'' x 15'' forming area, and I have formed ABS plastic up to 3/16"
thick with it. ... The machine operators on a 20 amp 120 volt circuit
using a 1500 watt, 120 volt heating element. Vacuum is supplied either
by an air venturi pump or an electric vacuum pump."
(3) Douglas E. Walsh, "Do it yourself vacuum forming". This sells for about
$13. According to the catalogue: "This easy-to-read book shows you how
to get set up to do simple forming for around $15 or less. You can also
build a two-stage high vacuum system for $50-60 that can form up to
1/4" thick plastics".

These books are aimed at hobbyists using their own home shops. They don't
necessarily have a lot of skill either. The machines one is building are not
big budget items.

I don't know whether one can build adequate safety goggles with these machines
and materials, since I don't know details of the standards the goggles have
to meet and since I have no experience with these machines. But maybe someone
who is more familiar with plastics technology can comment on that.

So, as it applies to the problem of no safety goggles for students in
Pakistani lab courses, I think a chemistry department could, using one
of these designs, easily build an inexpensive machine of their own to make
their own safety goggles cheaply.

Regarding the problem of allocating money for safety items such as goggles
and fume hoods, MF writes:

This does seeem like a very clear statement about the government's priorities,
but I am still a little uncertain about what it means regarding goggles. Let
me ask some very simple questions:
(a) If someone were willing to send safety goggles to the chemistry department
for use in student labs, would the department refuse to use them?
(b) If someone were to award the department a monetary grant which could only
be used to purchase safety goggles for student use in student labs,
would the department refuse the grant?
(c) Under the hypotheses of (b), would the department consider it too much
trouble to actually order the goggles?
(d) How much do safety goggles cost in Pakistan, particularly when ordered in
quantity, and how many would be needed per annum to meet the needs of
Pakistani students?

In reply to the following questions:

MF writes:

OK, let me see if I understand:
(i) In principle, lab fees can be increased to cover new costs.
(ii) Students are opposed to the higher fees.
(iii) In fact, however, students don't have a say in the matter.

Let me probe more deeply into (iii): is the university under any obligation
to provide an accounting of exactly how the lab fee is spent? If such an
accounting were available, students could study the accounting and decide
whether there is room for improvement (e.g. essentially no extra cost for
goggles, some things in the accounting could be cheaper, etc.). Did the
students demand an annual accounting or did they simply oppose the increased
fees? Alternatively, are there any citizen or governmental organizations who
have the right to demand and publish (e.g. online) an accounting?

I don't want to put MF to a lot of trouble when I have so little time to
read stuff not already on my reading list. However, if it would not be
too inconvenient to mention one or two (I note that he has already mentioned
some pdf files on educational reform in chemistry in Pakistan), I might
be able to take a look at them.

Also, I'm trying to approach these issues from a global (i.e. the planet
Earth) standpoint, rather than from the point of view of any one country.
Certainly, different countries have different specific problems, but that
doesn't mean there can't be international standards and goals for education
and international programs to help individual countries achieve those goals
in spite of their problems. I'd like to know more about the status and level
of such efforts.

No doubt, bare literacy for most of the world's population would already be
a great accomplishment, so the level of most educational efforts might not be
that high. Also, it is reasonable to ask that there be special efforts in
areas relevant to people's needs (e.g. efforts to educate women in business
and economics as a way to help families or general health education as a way
of controlling certain diseases). But the effort to provide more advanced
education receives a lot less attention and I really know nothing about it.

I think there is some interest in it. Probably more people are reading it
than are contributing to it. In addition to MF and myself, Bruce Hamilton and
Josh Halpern have contributed to this thread. Furthermore, I believe it
will have the desirable effect of making people better prepared for future

As a result of these discusssions, I've started reading the ISTEP books again,
as well as my various lab books. I always planned to go back to them, but
have been very distracted by other projects, which still have higher priority.
One of the issues I would like to focus on as I read these lab books is
to what extent the experiments can be carried out using ISTEP level equipment
and what remedies are available when they can't. This is consistent with my
long term goals in acquiring them in the first place, but now I have an
excuse to give them slightly higher priority.

Allan Adler
[Only registered users see links. ]

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* Disclaimer: I am a guest and *not* a member of the MIT Artificial *
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Old 01-08-2004, 03:35 PM
Mohammed Farooq
Posts: n/a
Default organic chemistry lab courses in Pakistan

Allan Adler <[Only registered users see links. ].mit.edu> wrote in message news:<[Only registered users see links. ].mit.edu>...

I would like to read Allan Adler's comments on the proposed curriculum
if he has got some spare time.
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Old 01-09-2004, 05:22 AM
Mohammed Farooq
Posts: n/a
Default organic chemistry lab courses in Pakistan

Allan Adler <[Only registered users see links. ].mit.edu> wrote in message news:<[Only registered users see links. ].mit.edu>...
I would rather say, the students would refuse to wear them! They even
consider the lab-coat a burden perhaps mainly because of the
transportion problem (the department can not provide locker to atleast
500 hundred students. The buses in which they come to the Univeristy
are highly crowded, there a at least 70-60 peeople in a minibus, there
is no room standing in the buses. Very few can afford to bring their
own means of transportation. All the public Universities in Pakistan
do not allow the students to bring their cars,motorcylces or even
bicylces in their premises for security reasons. This action was taken
in mid 1980's when some students were killed in a political clash.

I don't think so. Someone told me that once the department tried to
provide bulb pipets to senior student but in the end very few bothered
to return the at the end of the semester. Hence the facility was

Perhaps goggles would not be the first priority of any department.
More important is the lack of books,modern instruments and trained
faculty. Foreign qualified teacher are soon going to retire in tow or
three years.


They simply opposed the fee hike.

Perhaps,there is a website "Chemical education in Pakistan" .It is
brief artilce which would give Allan Alder the required background of
what I am trying to convey.
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