Chemistry

Category archives for Chemistry

Science at Bedtime

“Daddy? How do you make water?” “You mean, what is it made of?” “Yeah, what’s water made of?” “Hydrogen and oxygen.” “Oh. And what’s hydrogen and oxygen?” “They’re chemical elements.” “So, when we drink water, we’re drinking chemicals?” “Well, yeah. In a sense, everything is chemicals. Water’s a chemical, air is made of chemicals. ”…

Missing the Eureka Moment

Dmitrii Ivanovich Mendeleev hit on the idea of the Periodic Table as an organizing theme for a textbook he began writing in 1868. He did some work on refining the idea, and in 1870 presented a paper on it to a meeting of the Russian Chemical Society. Well, actually, that’s not quite true– Mendeleev did…

SteelyKid, Scientist

One of SteelyKid’s classmates came over for a couple hours today. After a bit, they got into the Magic School Bus science kit she got for her birthday, and decided to invent “new kinds of water.” The “featured image” above shows her reinventing stock images… And doing a better job of it than this clown.…

I’m teaching Quantum Optics this term, and one of my students picked “Atom Optics” off the list of suggested paper topics. When he asked for pointers, I said “You should check out the diffraction stuff Markus Arndt’s group does.” And just like that, a paper from the Arndt group turns up from the Arxiv Blog……

Physics Is For Eternal Five-Year-Olds

Yesterday’s post about differences between intro physics and chemistry sparked an interesting discussion in comments that I didn’t have time to participate in. Sigh. Anyway, a question that came up in there was why we have physicists teach intro physics courses that are primarily designed to serve other departments. It’s a good question, and in…

Not long ago, I had a meeting with the Dean, who is a chemist. One of the things I talked about was my plan for distributing teaching assignments in the next few years, which ran into an interesting cultural difference. I explained how I was trying to make the distribution of assignments a little more…

(This post is part of the new round of interviews of non-academic scientists, giving the responses of Richard Lobinske, a Hazardous Waste Manager (meaning he handles chemicals, such as these decades-old pesticides, not particularly noxious low-level employees). The goal is to provide some additional information for science students thinking about their fiuture careers, describing options…

PNAS: Amy Young, Saponifier

(This post is part of the new round of interviews of non-academic scientists, giving the responses of Amy Young, who runs her own soap-making business. The goal is to provide some additional information for science students thinking about their fiuture careers, describing options beyond the assumed default Ph.D.–post-doc–academic-job track.) 1) What is your non-academic job?…

Last summer, there was a fair bit of hype about a paper from Mark Raizen’s group at Texas which was mostly reported with an “Einstein proven wrong” slant, probably due to this press release. While it is technically true that they measured something Einstein said would be impossible to measure, that framing is a little…

Dorky Poll: How Do You Say That Again?

I’m going to be at a media training session for most of the day. I had hoped to have a long and silly post about physics to schedule today, but, well, that didn’t happen. So here’s a silly poll to pass the time. The name of element number 13, chemical symbol Al, is pronounced with…