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Christa Colyer
Professor and Chair
colyercl@wfu.edu
Department of Chemistry
Wake Forest University
Childbed Fever: A Nineteenth-Century Mystery

This case describes the pioneering work of Ignaz Semmelweis and his efforts to remedy the problem of childbed fever in mid-19th century Europe.  Its purpose is to teach students about the scientific method by "dissecting" the various steps involved in this important, historical medical breakthrough. The case is an interrupted case, that is, students receive only one piece of information at a time, followed by discussion, before moving on to the next piece of information to solve the mystery.


The Van Deemter Equation: A Three-Act Play

Developed for an upper-level undergraduate instrumental analysis course, this case actively engages students in an understanding of the abstract, often difficult to grasp, concepts of the van Deemter equation, important in the field of chemical separations. Students play the roles of stationary and mobile phases and solute molecules, and are asked to consider a series of questions that explore the reasons for their actions.