Chemistry

Category archives for Chemistry

There’s no way I could possibly go through a long history-of-science blog series without mentioning the great Marie Skłodowska Curie, one of the very few people in history to win not one but two Nobel Prizes for her scientific work– if nothing else, Polish pride would demand it. She made a monumental contribution to physics…

Borne of the flowing water (…) Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag, Borne of the flowing water (…) Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag, Having founded your town by the sacred lake, She finished its great walls for you, Ninkasi, having founded your town by the sacred lake, She finished its great walls for you…

I’ve decided to do a new round of profiles in the Project for Non-Academic Science (acronym deliberately chosen to coincide with a journal), as a way of getting a little more information out there to students studying in STEM fields who will likely end up with jobs off the “standard” academic science track. Eighth in…

I’ve seen a few links passed around to this Tom Siegfried post about science literacy, which is mostly a familiar story about how polls show most Americans giving incorrect answers to science questions. The sort of stuff you find in the NSF’s Science and Engineering Indicators report. What’s getting the social-media attention, though, is this…

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…