A N A L Y T I C A L  C H E M I S T R Y  2 5 6
R O L E - P L A Y I N G  L A B
1998-1999 Academic Year
©Prof. John P. Walters
St. Olaf CollegeNorthfield, MN 55057

Introduction to Role-Playing and Laboratory Computing
Defining the Kinds of Role-Playing Responsibilities
Round-Robin Certification of Laboratory Glassware
Production Quality Control Lead Analysis
Statistical/Chemical Evaluation of Lead Data
Semi-Automated Weak Acid Titration
Graphical Analysis of Weak Acid Titration
Designing a Mock Robot Experiment

Executing the Mock Robot Experiment

The Incredible Edible Easter Egg Grass Advertising Dilemma
The Downsizing Dilemma
The Broken Pill Coating Machine Assembly Line Shutdown Dilemma
The Instrument Purchase Payment Release Dilemma


Manager: Starting and Stopping the Mock Robot - Thinking
Chemist: Preparing the Indicator Solutions to Feed Hardware
Software: Giving Electrical and Verbal Commands to Hardware
Hardware: Responding to Commands to Operate Spectrophotometer


The mock robot is operating in this part of the experiment. All staff making up the mock robot are restrained (except Manager) to certain bench positions, certain kinds of motor skills, and certain kinds of verbal communications. Only Manager may (in the conventional sense of the word) "think". The primary task of the mock robot is to record the isosbestic point of the acid/base indicator Brom-Cresol-Green. A complete success is indicated by turning the mock robot on only once, never turning it off, and ending up with a professionally pleasing graph of the isosbestic point. A complete failure is having to turn the mock robot on and off so many times that the isosbestic point is not recorded.


The second part of the experiment is a presentation of the isosbestic point display, an evaluation of its quality, and a full discussion of the challenges and expected problems of incorporating a real robot in a clinical analytical ("hospital") laboratory. Especially important will be comments about why (if at all) the mock robot had to be turned off and restarted (which is not good) and how Manager expects this to reverberate into a real lab robot situation. As usual, the way in which staff communicated in the first part of the experiment to make this second part work is at issue.