Episode 8: Serious Business


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It’s time for the public speaking part of the course, and this has half the class tied up in knots.

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EMILY: He basically just said five minute presentation on the topic. And then the day we were doing it, he was like, this is very important. This is serious stuff. And we're like, oh. Oops.


GUEST SPEAKER: Science isn't just about doing experiments. The students have to learn to talk about them too. Why? Because one day, any one of them might win this.

JOHN DOLHUN: You will be giving oral presentations in this course. And they start next Friday. Seven of you will be going next Friday. And seven of you will be going the following week. So you'll be preparing a five minute oral delivery on some aspect that we'll assign to you.

GUEST SPEAKER: Let's see how the first group does.

JOHN DOLHUN: Now today we're going to go through seven of your presentations. This is serious business. You get scored for this.

EMILY: My topic was solvent choices and techniques for single crystal determination.


FRED: It's like a mathematical puzzle. Any questions?

JOHN DOLHUN: Could you show us your spectrum and your interpretation of the peaks?

JASON: Dr. Dolhun was very disappointed in a lot of people's presentations. People would conclude, and then they would ask if there are any questions. And Dr. Dolhun would be the first one on there. He's like, yeah. And he spits out the question he gave them in the beginning.

JOHN DOLHUN: Your topic was solvent choices. Your topic was vacuum distillation problems. So can you draw a grid on the board? It came out as crystals. How much of those solutions did you use? So could you tell us some of the problems? You have all those. Show us which solvents you actually went through.




DAN: Um.



IKE: I'm sorry. I thought I was supposed to do the NMR.

GUEST SPEAKER: What happened?

EMILY: Professor Dolhun didn't tell us beforehand to focus more on our results from our experiments. So he was disappointed.

FRED: I wasn't too sure what the instructions were. So now that I know that he wanted us to analyze our own data, I definitely would have done that a lot more. It was mostly improvised. I didn't prepare that much because I was out with friends last night.

PAUL: I did everything right. It just wasn't a great presentation.

ANTHONY: I'm glad I didn't go today, because it was nice to see what he wanted. I guess there was some confusion. But now I know exactly what he wants. So I can give it to him next week.

PHIL: It was clear who put time into the talk and clear who didn't.

EMILY: Next week the people going will do a lot better.

GUEST SPEAKER: Emily's right. They do. And Dr. Dolhun is impressed. The students really turned it around.

JOHN DOLHUN: So these were actually very, very good. Very well done. I'm very, very happy.

JASON: I didn't do so well. Oh my gosh, did I talk too fast? I need to take a public speaking class next.

JULIE: I did say that, yeah.