White silver and black lead, that’s the beauty of Science

Thursday, 22 December, 2016

Yes, there is beauty in science, as this footage of white silver and black lead, filmed through a microscope, during metal displacement reactions, demonstrates. This clip is from Beauty of Science, a China based educational project, that aims to raise awareness of the beauty present in science. A great idea.

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Our favourite chemicals, illustrated

Wednesday, 13 May, 2015

Image by Legallyabinder

A curious project… animated visualisations of the molecules that make up various compounds, created by Legallyabinder.

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Whisky, a smooth spirit, or a combination of chemicals?

Friday, 10 April, 2015

I’ve never really taken to whisky, unless some sort of soft drink is added to it, something that totally defeats the purpose of consuming it in the first place though.

Maybe my reluctance to try it straight more often is down to the chemistry, or science, of its brewing process, and the spirit itself, and the feeling I’m drinking the results of some sort of chemistry experiment.

That said, there is a very definite chemistry to the making of whisky.

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In search of a tombstone that will go the distance… into eternity

Wednesday, 1 April, 2015

If you’re relying solely on your tombstone to remind distant future generations that you once lived upon this Earth, you’ll need to think carefully about the material with which it is made. Slate and sandstone are to be avoided, they delaminate after a couple of centuries, but marble, or even granite, might be the go:

Granite is probably the durability champion. It’s less susceptible to acid rain, doesn’t delaminate, and granite tombstones have been known to shrug off collisions with car bumpers. “Granite is a molten rock that cools over a very long period,” Gallagher explains. “This gives it time to build up the crystals and so they’re tied into each other better.” Only since the Civil War, as carving techniques have improved, has granite become a useable material for tombstones.

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You can miss out when you miss chemistry classes…

Monday, 13 October, 2014

Chemistry wasn’t one of my stronger subjects at high school, it’s actually very mathematical you know, but these video clips of various chemical reactions are quite enjoyable. Here are some precipitation reactions… what do you know, I remember those.

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Yes, atoms make sound, even if no one can hear it

Thursday, 18 September, 2014

Apparently scientists have learned that atoms in an “excited state” become a tad noisy. Thing is the sound is too faint to be heard. So it’s like we’re still on square one in a way, but I guess it’s something that is handy to know…

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What are people made of? Sugar, spice, all things nice? Not quite…

Monday, 18 November, 2013

You’re not only what you eat, read, or watch on TV, you are very much a product of the environment around you. Your blood, fingernails, the curls in your hair, together with your teeth, all take at least a little of their composition from the elements and chemicals swirling about us:

When you smile, the gleam of your teeth obscures a slight glow from radioactive waste. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, atmospheric testing of thermonuclear weapons scattered so much radioactive carbon-14 into the atmosphere that it contaminated virtually every ecosystem and human.

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A chemical analysis of how well off you may, or may not, be

Friday, 9 August, 2013

The types of toxins that can build up in your body may vary depending on how well off financially you are… higher levels of mercury and arsenic are more indicative of an affluent lifestyle, while lead and cadmium tend to show up more in those with lower incomes.

For those in higher socioeconomic status, the researchers link consuming shellfish and other seafood to the higher mercury and arsenic levels, and higher levels of benzophenone-3 to using sunscreen. Meanwhile, lead and cadmium come into those of lower socioeconomic status via cigarette smoking and their jobs.

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The chemicals minus the Chemical Brothers

Wednesday, 29 May, 2013

Two University of Nottingham students recently recorded a dubstep track using only the sounds created by chemicals and various pieces of laboratory paraphernalia, such as test tubes and bunsen burners. The result ain’t half bad actually…

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Candles are a diamond lover’s best friend

Friday, 26 August, 2011

It may pay to start buying up shares in companies that produce candles following the recent discovery that diamond particles are among the molecules that exist within the flame of a candle:

At the bottom of the flame, it was already known that hydro-carbon molecules existed which were converted into carbon dioxide by the top of the flame. But the process in between remained a mystery. Now both diamond nanoparticles and fullerenic particles have been discovered in the centre of the flame, along with graphitic and amorphous carbon.

Riches are not assured… extracting the diamond particles however is next to impossible as they burn away almost instantly.

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