The New IQ Center is great!
The Geology Department is already making good use of the IQ Center, W&L's new Integrative and Quantitative space on the second floor of Telford Science Library. The center, which opened in September 2013, houses a stereoscopic 3D visualization lab, a physical/mechanical experimentation lab, a computer visualization lab, and an analytical instrumentation suite. Acquired in part through a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, university funds, and generous donations from individual donors, including several geology alums, the IQ Center has already made itself a worthy investment.
All of the Fall term Geology courses held classes in the IQ Center. For instance, Lisa's Geology 100 First-Year Seminar viewed 3D minerals, conducted experiments with the Delta Box, and did a Google Earth lab in the Center. Seds students did several labs in the Physical lab space where they have a working model of a Delta where they can adjust sedimentation rate and base level, and test subsurface geometry predictions. They worked on additional labs that involve sand and dirty rocks!
Paul Low employed the 3D capabilities of the IQ Center to teach students in Earth Materials I: Rocks and Minerals about mineral structures, more IQ Center specifically internal structure and symmetry at the sub-microscopic scale (crystallography). Low had students use the 3D animation program cinema 4-D, the results from which can be projected in the 3D visualization lab and sent to the IQ Center's fabulous 3D printer. Students had a very meaningful -- if challenging -- time constructing crystals.
What do students think of the IQ Center's labs? They like it! Here's what Chel Samuels '15 has to say about them: "A significant quantity of geology is learning how to think and operate in three dimensional space, and that can be difficult to teach when the available teaching materials are printed paper approximations or simple models that fail to capture the complexity of the geologic phenomenon. I believe that the IQ center has been most useful as a teaching tool in how it allows us to work analytically in the third dimension. From measuring and manipulating a recently-visited outcrop in 3D to building a mineral structure and printing it in 3D, I have definitely used the IQ center to bring to life many geologic concepts that are otherwise more difficult to comprehend in their entirety. (Also, the computers in the 2D lab are really, really good.)"
Come see the IQ Center!