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Northwestern University

Chemistry Lab Gets Makeover

The HG10 lab in Tech is now brighter, roomier and more conducive to team learning

Many undergraduate students are familiar with HG10 in Technological Institute, the space where they had their first chemistry laboratory experience at Northwestern.

After undergoing a complete renovation this past summer, the previously outdated and highly compartmentalized lab has been transformed into a more open, bright and interactional environment for students. The new space includes a modern tutoring area, an enhanced undergraduate research area and improved overall safety features, resulting in an efficient laboratory specifically designed for introductory chemistry classes.

“Current lab instruction involves greater interaction among students and groups, so the lab had to be redesigned to provide ample open space while addressing any safety concerns associated with a large number of students in the lab,” said Joel Trammell, the College’s associate dean for facilities and planning.

The HG10 tutoring space was upgraded from a standard conference room to a multi-use space with modular furniture that will easily accommodate small and large study groups. An interactive whiteboard was installed in addition to three walls of whiteboard, creating ample opportunity for interactive learning.

The undergraduate research area has been re-illuminated with improved lighting and equipped with six fume hoods, new desk and bench space, and a deep sink that will allow up to 11 students to engage in research with faculty.

“Through this renovation, we've enhanced and updated one of the Chemistry Department's most heavily used labs,” Weinberg College Dean Sarah Mangelsdorf said during a recent visit.  “Students are very excited about working in groups, and the open space is more conducive for this type of instruction.”

HG10’s renovation means chemistry students can enjoy a learning environment that is not just contemporary but exceptionally safe. The proper segregation of spaces in the lab allows for better lab oversight and the smooth movement of traffic. Widened passageways in the lab, strategically placed lockers for personal belongings, and additional glass door exits ensure that students and faculty can enter and exit the space quickly and efficiently.

“Safety is a high priority in all laboratories, so it made sense to relocate hoods and remove obstacles, including a couple of walls, to improve sight lines for everyone in the room, especially the instructor overseeing student activities,” Trammell said.

See slideshow of improvements

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