Teaching the next generation of lab technicians, scientists, engineers, and others in the multitude of high tech industries takes creativity and an ability to adapt lessons to include information about newly discovered advances. How each new discovery or adaptation of existing equipment can affect or otherwise change current techniques can really revive a tired curriculum.
Chemical analysis equipment is one part of the lab that most likely has no changes in the future. Working with different substances means we need to know what they are and how they react at the chemical and molecular levels. Not understanding these changes leaves us unable to understand how they react under different conditions or with other substances. Our ability to control or otherwise manipulate these chemicals and mixtures relies heavily on knowing how they have reacted.
Chemistry and its many equations only show what should happen, and this is fine on paper However, unexpected reactions often lead to the highly desired moment when a discovery is made, much like the famed Eureka incident, but much more pertinent to the needs of society today.
Medical breakthroughs often depend on chemical analysis, also. However, medicine and pharmacology are only two areas that depend on knowing how chemicals and other mixtures interact with one another. Agriculture also depends on testing of soils, and while this may seem like only large farms would benefit, small ones depend on soil analysis, too. Homeowners also regularly send soil samples to labs to find out which amendments their gardens need the most, and in what ratios. Forensics labs need analysis of chemicals found at crime scenes to determine what different materials are and how they may have played a role in the crime, or what clues they can reveal.
Bringing these different types of exciting professions into the circle of chemical analysis for otherwise disinterested students can make them more interested in science as a whole. Fields in STEM need intelligent and creative individuals to fill the positions opening up in the future, and the time to prepare these people is occurring right now. It is crucial for our future that we do not miss this window of opportunity.