Teaching has never been my cup of tea. Karl Friederich Gauss said “Good students do not need a teacher and bad students, well, why do they want one?” I once read this quote somewhere, and although I don’t know if he actually said it or not, there is some truth to it. It is known that Gauss didn’t like teaching, still spent most of his life doing it. Anyway, teaching is important and it has to be done!
Therefore as part of my duties as researcher at CCIQS I will have to teach a class at the Faculty of Chemistry of the Mexico State’s Autonomous University (UAEMex). Obviously they want you to teach a class on a subject you are an expert on; I could teach organic chemistry for sure, despite the fact that I haven’t touched a flask in years. My colleague, Dr. Fernando Cortés-Guzmán and I seem to be two of the very few theoretical chemists around so it is up to us to teach all classes within the range of theoretical chemistry, computational chemistry and their applications. This year someone, I still need to find out who, came up with the idea that an interesting application would be QSAR which of course is a very relevant model for drug discovery. Thus, starting today, I will be the first teacher of this subject at UAEMex’s Chemistry Faculty. Although to be quite frank, I think I would have felt better teaching calculus or differential equations, since those already have a syllabus. On the other hand, those subject wouldn’t get me in touch with students in their final years who are the ones to be attracted as potential students for my incipient research group. It has been interesting so far, building the syllabus from scratch; finding all the topics that are worth covering in a semester as well as a proper way to illustrate and teach them. It will be a work in progress all the time and I intend to expand it somehow beyond the classroom; my first thought was to record all the lessons for a podcast. I’m still not sure how to include this blog into the equation or if I should open a new one for the class but I guess I’ll figure it out along the way. I’m not an expert on QSAR or QSPR but I know a good deal about it, mostly because of Dr. Dragos Horvath whom I met in Romania years ago. Perhaps I could persuade him of leaving Strasbourg for a couple of weeks and giving a few lectures.
Wish me luck, or maybe I should say: “wish my students luck”!