Text Box: West Kerry academic to unravel laboratory mysteries
By Donal O'Reilly



The Kerryman, Thursday  4th July 2002  (News section, page 5)





A KERRY based academic is to head an innovative programme which seeks to unravel the complexities of the laboratory through a marriage of science and technology.

Dr Matthias Jauch, who was born in Berlin but who now lives in West Kerry, is a systems officer in the chemistry department of University College Cork, and was responsible for the selection, purchase and installation of the datalogging equipment which is likely to considerably reduce the workloads of some 500 science students.

Put simply, the new initiative, being used in Ireland for the first time, will allow every student to clearly see what is happening through each stage of the experiment that he or she is carrying out, just by looking at their computer screen.

“Instead of the old method of using a stopwatch, a pencil and a piece of paper and then drawing a graph to allow the results to be evaluated, the student will now simply put their sensor in their solution, carry out their experiment as normal and then watch everything that occurs come up on their computer screen as it actually happens. "The software analyses everything.

"The whole thing is very user and student friendly," Dr Jauch explained.

Now, students will be able to make any necessary alterations during the experiment itself and observe the results immediately, rather than waiting until the end of their work, something which could often result in a delay of up to two hours.

The hope is that the programme will bring science alive for students, Dr Jauch added.

"It is a very exciting initiative, something which should save a lot of time and enable us to do a lot more teaching during our classes," he commented.

The new system, all the equipment for which was supplied by the Intel Computer Corporation, was introduced into UCC's chemistry curriculum last October and has already proved extremely successful with second and third year and postgraduate students.

Now, with the datalogging laboratory having been officially opened by Professor Gerard Wrixon, the President of UCC, last week, it is expected that all of the college's science stu­dents will be using it by the start of the next aca­demic year.