Pippa Lock (2014)

Pippa-webAffiliation at the time of the award: McMaster University, Chemistry and Chemical Biology.

Citation: “Dr. Lock likes to make things explode, and these events are metaphors for her approach to teaching,” observes her nominator. The complex process always produces a dramatic and reliable reaction. Pippa coordinates Mac’s introductory Chemistry course, responsible for more than 2,500 students. She has won all the available teaching awards, but she still pushes herself to best meet the specific needs of every student. One muses, “I really have no idea how she finds the time to help us all, but she does.”

Dr. Lock believes all students can understand and do organic chemistry equations, if only they are taught in ways they can understand. Her students attest to this. Peer reviewers conclude, “to watch Dr. Lock in action is to witness something magical.” Then come the hard questions: Was that explosion a combustion reaction? A redox reaction? Did entropy increase? Was enthalpy negative? So spectacle gives way to discussion.

Lock’s contributions have had astounding effects on thousands of individuals in and beyond the classroom and the institution. Her vision, willingness to risk, and sensitive approach to all she does encourage her students to greater things.