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Posts Tagged "#SciAmChem"

Basic Space

On the origin of chemical elements

We take it for granted that there exists a periodic table with numerous elements (at last count, 118) from which we can construct the world around us. But when the universe began with a big bang, it started out with no elements at all. Many of the elements that make up Earth and the people [...]

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Context and Variation

Vaginas should smell like vaginas, not flowers: my 24/7 Ig Nobel talk

Last Thursday, a number of dreams I didn’t even know I had were fulfilled: talking about vaginas in front of over a thousand people at Sanders Theatre at Harvard University, singing the Elements Song with Nobel Laureates and Amanda Palmer (I KNOW!!!), making jokes about the effects of coffee as a diuretic as I, aforementioned [...]

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Context and Variation

SciAmChem: Don’t douche, she declares acidly

Frucht der Edelkastanie

In high school, I enjoyed participating in the science fair. I chose fairly random topics each year, but I do remember the year I studied the pH of soil and its impact on the color of flower petals. I grew a small set of African violets for a few weeks, then ground up their petals [...]

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Culturing Science

DMS(P): the amazing story of a pervasive indicator molecule in the marine food web

dms-feature

In honor of Chemistry Day here on the Scientific American blog network, I’ve dug out partially rewritten a post on ecological chemistry from the Culturing Science archives. Enjoy! Dimethylsulfide.  Does that word mean anything to you?  “Why yes,” you organic chemistry nerds may say, “It clearly is a molecule of sulfur with two methyl groups attached.”  [...]

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Doing Good Science

Doing fun chemistry.

PouringEggwhite

You may have noticed by now that the Scientific American Blog Network is having something of a Chemistry Day. Reading about chemistry is fun, but I reckon it’s even more fun to do some chemistry. So, if you find yourself with a few moments and the need to fill them with chemical fun, here are [...]

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Doing Good Science

Building knowledge (and stuff) ethically: the principles of “Green Chemistry”.

composite-square-03

Like other scientific disciplines, chemistry is in the business of building knowledge. In addition to knowledge, chemistry sometimes also builds stuff — molecules which didn’t exist until people figured out ways to make them. Scientists (among others) tend to assume that knowledge is a good thing. There are instances where you might question this assumption [...]

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Guest Blog

A View to a Kill in the Morning: Carbon Dioxide

In 1940, inspired by a tragic accident, a New York pathologist came up with the scenario for a perfect murder. His idea was based on the deaths of five longshoremen, their bodies found in the cargo hold of a steamer docked on the East River. The boat had been carrying cherries from Michigan. The men [...]

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Guest Blog

Drugs from the Crucible of Nature

The skinned knee is a hallmark of childhood summers. After the tears are kissed away, a time-honored ritual follows: a few squirts of a pain killing spray, a good slather of antibiotic ointment, an adhesive bandage, and then back to the neighborhood for more rites of passage. The venerable tools of this healing ceremony may [...]

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Guest Blog

What’s In A Name? For Chemists, Their Field’s Soul

By 1992, the Soviet Union was formally dissolved, and the entire world’s political, economic, and military alliances were in the throes of transformation. But you could forgive officials at the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) if they didn’t notice much of a difference. At the time, they were still embroiled in a [...]

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Guest Blog

Cooking up some chemistry inside a cell

Think back to your last chemistry class. (This might have been some time ago.) For most of you, you were likely 16 or 17 years old. When I was 16 or 17, I was thinking about some girl, or football, or a party, or … some girl. I certainly wasn’t focused on chemistry. And, chances [...]

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Guest Blog

All that glisters is not gold: Quality of Public Domain Chemistry Databases

Shakespeare wrote "All that glisters is not gold" and how right he was. Whether it’s the before and after shots of models who have lost an incredible 10 pounds in just two days on a particular pill, or the couch potato who showed a six pack of abs in just 2 weeks after drinking some [...]

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Guest Blog

Chemistry: The Human Science

A tiny molecule harvested from a soil bacterium on Easter Island that evolved billions of years ago for no obvious purposes should have nothing to do with human beings. Yet it turns out miraculously to have potent immunosuppressive properties that allow doctors to successfully perform a liver transplant in a young girl. Figure 1: A [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The molecules that made the universe

Imagine a molecule...

“We are starstuff”, it’s a well-used phrase in popular astronomy (yes, we are. The nuclei of most heavy atoms in your body were forged long before our solar system existed, a million kilometers down inside the cores of long-since-gone massive stars). “We contain matter as old as the universe” (absolutely. Pretty much all the hydrogen [...]

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The Network Central

Chemistry Day at Scientific American Blog Network

chemistry

This year is the International Year of Chemistry. This week, many chemists are gathered in Puerto Rico for the World Chemistry Congress. And here, at the Scientific American Blog Network, today is the Chemistry Day. Many of our bloggers, as well as six people invited to our Guest Blog, have posted something related to chemistry [...]

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Symbiartic

What Does a Scientific Glass Blower Make?

11-006KleinBottleFeature

I came across so many interesting images last week researching my scientific glass blowing post that I thought I’d share a few more here. This is a blog about imagery after all, right? You’ll forgive my lack of song and dance, then? Michael Souza This is one of Michael Souza’s aluminosilicate creations. You’ll recall aluminosilicate [...]

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Symbiartic

We Blew a Bubble for a Man Named Edison

1937 advertisement for Corning's Pyrex

When you think of chemistry, no doubt images of scientists in white lab coats swirling beakers and test tubes come to mind. Ever wonder where those beakers and test tubes originated? If your answer is a big science catalog like Fisher Scientific or Chemglass or the like, you’re probably right… some percentage of the time. [...]

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Symbiartic

The Chemistry of Oil Painting

ChemOilFeat

What chemical properties give oil paintings their luminous glow and deep darkness? Why do they crack? What kind of oil is used? Is it safe to use the oil painting medium on a fresh dandelion salad? As an oil painter for the past 17 years who used to manage at a fine art supply store [...]

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The White Noise

Addiction: a Fault of Chemistry

by Tibor Kádek

Chemistry is at the brunt of it all, isn’t it? Addiction, the sinuous, stealthy disease is controlled by neurochemicals. Simple as that. You’re an addict or you’re not. Sounds easy and breezy, doesn’t it? The trouble and truth is, it could take years to figure out if you’re an addict. The truth is, you may [...]

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