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Virtual lab wins prestigious prize awarded by Science
Date:4/29/2010

r all of us at Science," says Editor-in-Chief Bruce Alberts. "We hope to help those innovators who have developed outstanding online resources reach a wider audience. Each winning Web site will be featured in an article in Science that is aimed at guiding science educators from around the world to valuable free online resources."

Yaron grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and says he was driven to find a career that would be "fun and interesting" by a high-school stint of working for a carnival, where he felt he didn't fit in and the hours were long and dull. Oddly, he could have been one of the students who missed the allure of science if he hadn't watched a PBS television series about Albert Einstein that made physics seem "really cool and exciting." Then wanting to major in physics, he ended up at Wilkes University, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where the offerings in chemistry were stronger.

Hired in computational chemistry by Carnegie Mellon, Yaron is doing the modeling for an intriguing and timely technology: the development of paint that can convert solar energy into electricity. He also teaches one course per semester, as well as constantly updating the ChemCollective, which was first released under another name in 1999.

The idea behind the software and Web site was to add to the textbook problems that are inevitably assigned to beginning chemistry students as homeworkand therefore to engage them in problem-solving that would more closely resemble the real-world activities of chemists. Yaron looked at the usual way in which introductory chemistry was taught and concluded that little of it would allow a student to understand an article about chemistry in the New York Times science pages or Scientific American, or even the descriptions of chemistry work that had won Nobel Prizes. He thought introductory chemistry education should be restructured, so students would experience "how chemists explain things, ho
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Contact: Natasha Pinol
npinol@aaas.org
202-326-7088
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Source:Eurekalert

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