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Course X May Drop 10.001 In Favor of New Intro Class

By Danos Christodoulou

The Department of Chemical Engineering is considering changes in degree requirements that might result in the termination of Introduction to Computer Methods (10.001).

“Our department felt 10.001 was not a good start because even if it taught the numerical tools you needed, it didn’t let you know what chemical engineering was about,” said Assistant Professor William H. Green, Jr.

The 10.001 undergraduate requirement is expected to be substituted with a new class, Introduction to Chemical Engineering (10.10). Green is teaching the class, which is being offered for the first time this semester.

“The Committee on Curriculum is actively considering our department's proposal to revise our required courses,” said Professor Karen K. Gleason, Course X executive officer. “One part of this proposal is to make 10.10 a required class.”

Gleason said that if the committee accepts the department’s proposal, 10.001 will be offered one final time in the fall of 2002, while 10.10 will be offered both in the fall and spring semesters.

Green said the main difference between 10.001 and 10.10 is that “in 10.10 we have mass, energy balances, [and] some chemical engineering for the projects that are not in 10.001,” which teaches C programming.

Students support switch to 10.10

Deziree L. Ramirez ’02 said that she found 10.001 beneficial, but that she considered 10.10 more useful to undergraduates. “I thought that 10.001 was very valuable,” Ramirez said, since it teaches math and programming skills. However, she added, 10.10 “allows you to understand what chemical engineering is about before it is too late for students to decide that they don’t like it.”

A first-year chemical engineering student currently enrolled in 10.10 said that she has enjoyed the class so far.

“I’ve been told by upperclassmen that this course was created to make the introduction to Course X more palatable to freshmen,” said Candace Jantzen-Marson ’05. “The professor is really welcoming, and he seems very approachable.”

Bio requirement added for grads

Course X graduate requirements are also changing this year, with the addition of a biology requirement. Green said that the requirement was added since graduate students in Course X often come from schools without an undergraduate biology requirement. “Biology is a big part [of chemical engineering],” Green said. “About one third of the field is related to biological things.”

However, at least one student disagreed with Green’s assessment. April Ross G, a third-year graduate student in Course X, said that she considered a biology requirement unnecessary for graduate students. “It depends on what you research,” Ross said. “Biology is not in every part of chemical engineering.”

Green said the requirement can be fulfilled with a number of classes, including Introductory Biology (available as 7.012, 7.013, and 7.014).

In addition, Course X PhD candidates will be required to take Numerical Methods Applied to Chemical Engineering (10.34) starting next year. Ross said she thought the new math requirement was “a good idea.”