Use the force, chatGPT

I’ve been doing a lot of fiddling with chatGPT and how it might be used in academia (as a tool for good). It’s that time of the semester when the pile of grading on my desk is getting high enough that I start coming up with novel ways to procrastinate. (Plus, I just got a filling this morning, and I am not in the mood to read student writing at this moment.)

So, instead of doing the work I should be doing, I decided to do the work I want to be doing, and that is, thinking about what a general education course on lightsabers would look like. With the help of chatGPT, here’s what I came up with. I think it would be fun.

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I won something!

This past week, I was humbled to receive the Monika Andrews Creative Volunteer Leadership Award, which is offered annually to a resident of Brockport, Sweden, or Clarkson in recognition of volunteer contributions to the community.

Me with Bill Andrews (to my right, who endowed the award), Rozenn, and two members of the selection committee.

Here’s a snippet of text from the Award citation:

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3D Printing quick fix

I recently inherited a laser cutter (an FS Laser HL40-5g hobbyist class tool) and have been trying to get it up and running. One of the first problems was the laser cooling. These lasers require water cooling, typically provided by an aquarium pump in a 5 gallon bucket of water. The pump I inherited seemed to work fine, except for one small problem:

Houston, we have a problem.
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Let’s have a Chat[GPT]

ChatGPT is all the rage right now and I figured it was time for me to jump on the bandwagon. I’ve been exploring the API to see how I might use (and potentially abuse) the chatbot in my teaching and research. Perhaps I’ll write a bit later about how I had it design the introductory slides of my course this semester, or how well it performed on the first test in my course Quantitative Chemical Analysis, but for now, I wanted to share how it could help with developing a research idea.

Here’s the situation: I have a student who is interested in creating a biosensor for her independent study. The paper she found uses a field effect transistor which is something that (a) I know virtually nothing about and (b) requires a fair amount of high end equipment that is unavailable at my institution. What we have is a cool way to make graphene (I’ll share that later) and I’d like to know if I can functionalize that graphene with something that might be interesting. I decided to see if chatGPT can help me with my research. Here’s the transcript.

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