Magnetic Resonance Lectures CB502
Bangkok October 7 and 31, 2016
As part of the first semester program at the Chulabhorn Gradute Institute, course CGCB502, Spectroscopic Methods for Organic Compounds and Bio-molecules runs from September 21 to November 21, 2016. This course gives a great overview of the current and state of the art spectroscopic methods to investigate organic and bio molecules. Topics include UV-Vis, IR, Mass spectroscopy and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). Due to its remarkable power as an analytical tool, NMR is given more than half of the course's lecture time. Three lecturers conduct the NMR part of CB502.
Dr. Nopporn Thasana, Chulabhorn Research Institute, is an organic chemist with extensive experience in the structure elucidation of organic molecules.
Dr. Kiattawee Choowongkomon is a bio chemist at the department of biochemistry at Kasetsart University, one of the leading academic institutions in Bangkok. Dr. Kiattawee Choowongkomon has extensive experience in applying NMR to bio-molecules
Mr. Peter Sprenger is the owner of the new startup company Kruthwong & Sprenger Co. Ltd. (K&S) in Bangkok. Peter Sprenger has been in the field of NMR technology for more than 20 years. K&S promotes NMR in research and teaching in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

The Chulabhorn Graduate Institute (CGI) has invited K&S to conduct 2 lectures, the first on October 7 and the second on October 31, 2016. The major application of NMR is to find structures of organic compounds. CB502 teaches the students the process to use the results of NMR experiments and combine them to produce the molecular structure of the compound under investigation. At most universities the NMR experiment itself and the technology around it are neglected or only mentioned at the side. This year the CGI has adjusted and committed two lectures to NMR principles and technology. Generally, physics is a challenging subject for chemistry students. Therefore the lectures on Oct 7th where dedicated to review and introduce the physical and mathematical framework. In particular, we used online tools to connect the math with the real world. For example when introducing vectors in complex exponential notation, the students were asked to find locations on the globe using google maps. Another example is the Taylor expansion of the cosine function using the google graph (e.g. click here). The students were using their mobile phones and notebooks to draw and change parameters of their own expansions. Finally we all appreciated what Richard Feynman once called "the most beautiful identity". It was nice to see the 'aaawww's and blinking eyes in some (although not all) of the students.
Once the math and physics were appreciated the class moved on to experience real NMR experiment in the lecture on October 31. Comparing the NMR raw signal to the 220V/50Hz power outlet puzzled some students and gave  reasons for good science discussions. One of the less interested student was asked to run a NMR experiment on a popular drug called 'Advil'. She stepped up to the spectrometer, adjusted the 5mm sample tube, containing the drug, inserted it carefully into the spectrometer and ran her first NMR experiment. Even she was now excited about NMR and a spark was visible in her left eye. When looking at the hyper-fine coupling of the methyl group in 'Advil' and comparing it to the physics we have covered a few minutes earlier, the students got a real feel of NMR and its possibilities.
After the class Mark Aldren Feliciano, a graduate student from the Philippines, helped to move the NMR system from the lecture room to the lab. In the lift he mentioned the great experience to feel the NMR in the lecture room. "I wish in my country we have instruments like this....." he noted. 

Fig 1. CB502
NMR Principles and Technology
Measuring Molecules in class

CB502, NMR principles and Technology was a great and successful experiment to introduce real NMR in the class room. Combining the tools on the web with local IT tools and a benchtop NMR changes the learning experience dramatically. The lecture notes were produced on the fly and distributed to the students later. They could fully enjoy the beauty of Science and Technology. When later looking at the notes, hopefully reviewing the math, they remember how we all derived concepts during the lecture.
"It is great to have real NMR in the class room and explore the peculiar features of this technology, Thanks for doing this and see you next year..." Dr. Nopporn Thasana, the CGI cordinator noted.