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Unformatted text preview: efending his Ph.D. dissertation, in which
a member of his dissertation committee asks, “explain Beer’s Law.” Being unfamiliar
with the law, he responded “Darker beer is better.” He was credited with giving a correct
2. Come up with as many every-day examples as you can of Beer’s law. Dakota State University page 211 of 232 Chemistry Laboratory Notebooks General Chemistry I and II Lab Manual Chemistry Laboratory Notebooks
Introduction: For an experimental scientist, there is no tool more important than the
laboratory notebook. In the real world, the laboratory notebook is a legal document; they
are often subpoenaed and used in court cases. A poorly kept notebook ultimately could
result in millions of dollars lost to a company.
For this course, you will be required to keep and maintain a laboratory notebook,
and graded on how well you keep it. Although there can be variances in style, there are
several headings that should be common to all laboratory notebooks. Following is a
guide of what I expect in the notebooks for this class and some helpful hints on keeping a
good one. Unless otherwise noted, all headings are required in the order presented.
Experiment title and date: Start each experiment by putting the title of the experiment
at the top of the page and the date.
Purpose: One or two sentences on exactly what we hope to achieve in the experiment.
Often it is too easy to perform the steps in an experiment while losing sight of what it is
we are trying to accomplish. The purpose is the “big picture”, the brass ring to keep your
eye on. Keep it very brief; for example, “To gain experience with a variety of chemical
Introduction (optional): The purpose of the introduction is to show the relevance of the
experiment. Two or three paragraphs should be devoted here, which can include, for
example, how the experiment relates to class, or how it has implications on some other
aspect of life that you might be interested in. Ultimately, a few years down the road, this
should remind you of why we were doing the experiment in the first place. Keep this
brief if you choose to include it.
Data and Observations: Write down all raw data and observations. Data should be in
tables whenever possible; use the data sheet in the lab manual as a guide but do not write
the date in the lab manual as this is not your lab notebook, and you want all of your raw
data in your notebook. Observations should be plentiful. Well kept observations could
be important in tracking down problems if the experiment does not come out with the
results you are expecting. You will be graded on the number and quality of observations
Calculations: Write down ALL calculations involved in the experiment, including
separate ones if you were asked to repeat an experiment several times. If there were no
calculations for a given experiment, simply write “none” for this section.
Results: SUMMARIZE your findings. This should correspond with your purpose and
be very brief. If we are asked...
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