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Benchtop NMR Insights from Ms. Suzanne Carpenter, Armstrong Atlantic State University
Interview conducted by Dean Antic, Senior NMR Applications Scientist at Thermo Fisher Scientific
Back in March 2011, I was in NYC with a picoSpin colleague for the 2011 Edison Awards. The morning after the award ceremony, I was scheduled to announce the winner a of 3-month long campaign giveaway for a Thermo Scientific™ picoSpin™ 45 NMR spectrometer. Using a random number generator, I selected the single winner out of hundreds of contest registrations. The winner was Armstrong Atlantic State University (Savannah, GA). I called the winner fully expecting to get voicemail, but my call was answered by Ms. Suzanne Carpenter, Associate Professor of Chemistry. I was surprised and excited to inform Ms. Carpenter that she was the proud owner of a FREE picoSpin 45 NMR spectrometer and I will never forget her enthusiasm and excitement. It was such a fun and memorable experience for me, and I couldn’t have been happier that our campaign winner was ‘overjoyed’ and ‘excited’ to be a proud, new owner of a picoSpin 45 NMR spectrometer! I had the privilege of reconnecting with Ms. Carpenter a few weeks ago, and asked her a few follow-up questions relating to her picoSpin NMR spectrometer and how it is currently being incorporated at Armstrong Atlantic State University Chemistry Department.
Question: When did you first learn about benchtop NMR?
Ms. Carpenter: In 2011, a physical chemistry colleague forwarded me an email about a drawing to win a benchtop NMR. I had never heard of such a thing, but I entered my name and won one!
Question: Prior to purchasing your benchtop NMR, were you doing any type of NMR spectroscopy? Was it being integrated into your chemistry teaching curriculum?
Ms. Carpenter: We have been using NMR in the sophomore organic laboratory sequence for about 30 years. We had a 60MHz Hitachi for most of that time but have added two 300 MHz JEOL spectrometers in the last 10-15 years. The NMRs are used in the sophomore organic laboratory sequence and by undergraduate research students.
Question: How is benchtop NMR currently being utilized/integrated into your chemistry curriculum?
Ms. Carpenter: We have used the benchtop NMR in the sophomore organic laboratory sequence to analyze distillation fractions.
Question: What are your initial impressions of benchtop NMR capabilities and impact on chemistry education?
Ms. Carpenter: The benchtop spectrometer is very easy to use and physically unintimidating to the students. Because it is affordable and has no ongoing maintenance costs, it is an important option for schools where those factors prohibit the acquisition of a spectrometer. The availability of the benchtop NMR means that every institution can now provide hands-on experiences with NMR to their students.
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Interview date: May 29, 2014