Using Quartz Crystal Macrobalance to Predict Undergraduate Grades

G. Acidic-Puree1 and J. Mann2

  1. Department of Physical Physics, University of Atlantis, Atlantic Ocean  
  2. Department of Chemical Physics, Jo Mama University

Abstract: We are fucking over undergrads so we’ve got more time to drink expensive beer.

1. Introduction

Marking exam papers is hard work. Especially when one’s boss insists on a failure rate of no less than 70 %, because “only the hard may enter the garden” (old German saying, translated). In order to decrease our workload, we have developed a novel method to predict if a student will fail an exam a day before it is even written.

2. Methodology

Quartz Crystal MacrobalanceTM is a technique widely applied in surface science that has been previously used to determine the content of tetrahydrocannabinol in urine. Our research groups are familiar with this methodology as a result of considerable experience with the aforementioned chemical. During an intensive research session we conceived the procedure presented herein, which applies QCMTM to quantify fear-hormones in student urine via adsorption experiments. The fundamental premise of this study is the assumption that a high urine concentration of fear-hormones is predictive of student failure, thus voiding the necessity of having the student sit the exam in the first place.

The following procedure was developed in cooperation with Christopher Reep from the local public utilities, who supplied us with urine from unsuspecting students in exchange for his name being featured on this publication (what a moron).

In the first step of the developed procedure, the resonance frequency of the Macroscopic Quartz ResonatorTM was determined. Different methods have already been applied in the community which incorporate varying degrees of effort. As we could not be arsed to perform a detailed characterisation of our substrate, we decided to use the method developed by H. Solo et al. It consisted of shining a CO2 laser through our substrate and wildly estimating the resulting wavelength shift of the death ray on the other side by visual assessment. Inserting the shift into the so-called B. S. equation (given in eq. 1) directly yields the resonance frequency.

After calibration was complete, the sensor was treated with P. A. swamp water in order to increase its affinity towards the dirty university students. Afterwards the resonator was immersed in the urine kindly supplied by Christopher Reep (two mentions must be enough) and its resonance frequency was again measured by the H. Solo method. This setup is detailed in Figure 2.

Sadly, we did not notice any frequency changes with this approach. We figured that the affinity between the student’s hormones and our substrate was simply not large enough and must be further increased.

A colleague, who claimed to have previously been a university student, suggested the application of a self-assembled beer monolayer to our substrate. However, the application of such a film via spray-coating our usual craft beer did not lead to an observable increase in hormone affinity. Again, we reached out to our peasant colleague, who claimed that we are “out of touch with the real world and should try using cheaper beer” as that is “what the kids find groovy”. After a short trip to the local supermarket, we returned with a crate of Oettinger Export which turned out to be cheaper than a single bottle of our usual brand. We spray-coated our quartz resonator with the Oettinger Export beer and then immersed it in the student urine. The H. Solo method showed a massive decrease in the resonance frequency, as is very clearly shown in the raw data given in Figure 3 for a randomly selected sample.

With this problem solved, we could move on to a very work-intensive analysis of different piss samples.

3. Discussion and Results

We then compared the observed frequency shifts to the grades a group of students was assigned after the exam. The resulting trend is displayed in figure 4. As can be seen, a high correlation between the measured frequency shift and the student’s grades was achieved.

4. Conclusions

We have shown that conventional student exams can be made redundant by the use of Quartz Macroscopic Resonance to detect fear-related hormones in urine samples. Future studies will focus on the refinement of this method to predict the grades of over- and underconfident students more accurately.


The universities ethics committee did not approve of the proposed experiments, but we conducted them anyway because they have never worked hard for a single day in their lives.

We also thank the unpaid intern for their help with figure 2 who got a passing grade in exchange.

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