You are here

Software we use


Tom O'Haver
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Univ. of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Note: This article was scanned using OCR from the Spring 1992 CCCE Newsletter. Please contact us if you identify any OCR errors.
In the last few years we reviewed reviewed quite a lot of microcomputer software that is either aimed specifically at chemistry instruction or might be adapted to that purpose. Not-everything we have bought has actually been used by our instructors, however. Here is a brief pictorial survey of some software that has turned out to be useful in our teaching program over the last two or three years. Lack of inclusion in this survey does not mean that a program is not good or useful, but only that it has not yet been "discovered" by OW' instructors. (Macintosh versions of the the programs are illustrated here, but IBM-PC versions of most of these programs are also available).
Figure 1: Word Processor with MathType
Most people probably spend more time doing document preparation than any other single computer application. For a chemist this means not only word processing, but also structure drawing and equation formatting. Although $ere are a few specialized word processors for chemists, we have elected to use popular general-purpose word processors (e.g. WordPerfect, Microsoft Word) in conjunction with a separate chemical drawing program for structure drawing, such as the popular ChemDraw (Cambridge Scientific Computing, Box 2123, Cambridge, MA 02238. 617-491-6862) and an equation editor for math expressions. The topmost window in this screen shot is MathType (Design Science, Inc., 6475-B E. Pacific Coast Hwy,.Ste. 392, Long Beach, CA 90803), a very easy to use pop-up math equation editor available for Windows and Macintosh. In a window environment, copy and paste operations are used to integrate these parts into the document. Although we neither require nor provide instruction in these applications, they have now become easy enough that most students pick them up by watching other students or by going through the publishers' tutorials. By the time they are juniors, almost all students routinely use computers to prepare their lab reports and writing assignments.