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Category → Chemistry is Everywhere

Periodic Tables Galore

As I was scrolling through boing boing today, I came across a familiar face – the Periodic Table of the Elephants elephant, which hangs out here at the ACS building in Washington. Now, we’ve chronicled various periodic tables from beeriodic table t-shirts to a video periodic table to baked goods ones, but Mark Leach has taken the chronicling to a whole new level with the Internet Database of Periodic Tables. Take a gander at his extensive collection of periodic tables, great and small (including said elephant).

(Hat tip to

Maggie Koerth-Baker at boing boing)

Photo credit: C&EN


It’s chemical Christmas trees galore! This week’s Newscripts covers chemical decorations for Christmas trees, and the Periodic Table of Videos folks have visions of glucose molecules (and ethanol and ibuprofen and iron tetracarbonyl) dancing in their heads:

As an aside, Professor Poliakoff was featured on CBS News the other night.

Happy Holidays!

Hmmm … What To Watch?

movie_nightWith a huge snowstorm about to hit the Washington, D.C. area, I am pondering how to spend this weekend trapped in my studio apartment.

I can’t do my last minute Christmas shopping for fear of driving. I can’t go out and take pictures for fear of frostbite. And I can’t call a friend to come visit for fear of rejection. One thing I can do, however, is pop in a DVD (which I’ll grab from Blockbuster tonight) and sink into my big comfy blue couch.

I just finished reviewing “Whiz Kids” (stay tuned for that) and am in the mood for something sciency. Let’s see, what to watch?

I visited Reel Science for some inspiration. I’m not a big Sci-Fi fan, so I’ll skip “Surrogates.” If I want to lose my appetite, “Food, Inc.” may be my answer. Truth is, I’m a sucker for a good drama, so I’ll probably rent “Adam.”

Head over to Reel Science yourself; there are dozens of reviews and recommendations worth checking out.

Image: Shutterstock

2009 Holiday Gift Guide

gibberish_geekyholidayThe crew here at C&ENtral Science has once again assembled some recommendations to help your shopping this holiday season. Many of our suggestions from last year’s guide are still available as well. (Complete guide available after the jump.)

A search for “chemistry” on Etsy.com turns up all sorts of unique items from a Dewar flask stein to a chemistry book handbag to crocheted christmas methane molecules.  But three shops have lots of great chemical gifts. Anandi’s Laboratory has cool themed glass magnet sets (Coffee & Dessert, Elements of Poison, Organically Spicy, etc.) and glass pendants. Gibberish specializes in nifty periodic-table-inspired gifts, including this holiday card and necklace set. And although perennial favorite Made with Molecules just sold out of this year’s ornament, zingerone (ginger), you can still find lovely necklaces, earrings, and even phone charms there.

Continue reading →

Team Chemistry

When searching for chemistry news through Google, I often come across sports stories talking about team chemistry either as a whole or between particular players. So I was surprised yesterday to find a case where a sports writing cliche actually wasn’t cliche at all. The folks over at Bust a Bucket, a Portland Trail Blazers fan site, have created the Periodic Table of Blazers and even came up with compounds based on said table. For example, instead of water being H2O, we get Dx2Po, the combination of former basketball greats Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter. Your are welcome to submit compounds of your own, and if you happen to be a Blazers fan or know one, they even have t-shirts available.

Share Your Hot Flash Anecdotes

When a hot flash flares, what’s a woman to do?

She can cool herself with a fan or open a freezer door and stick her head in. She can peel off as much clothing as she can decently get away with. She can chance hormonal therapy, though her friends might give her a hard time about it. Or she can test out a folk remedy from the Internet.

With all the options out there, what’s the most creative solution you’ve come up with? What happens to you when a hot flash strikes? And what’s your most embarrassing hot flash tale?

We hope you’ll share your story with us.

In the meantime, check out my article about research into the causes of and treatments for this dreaded symptom of menopause.

Excuse Me, There’s Nano In Your App

Andrew Maynard over at 2020 Science highlights a nifty new nano app today. findNano allows users to browse or search through the nanotechnology Consumer Products Inventory to find the nano in their lives for free from their iPhone or iPod Touch. And now for the nifty part: if you notice something’s missing from the inventory that should be there, you can take a picture and email it to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies for consideration.

With the explosion of all sorts of new apps since our video walkthrough of Molecules 1.0, what science apps do you have on your phones, dear readers?

Building with Precaution

I’m at GreenBuild 2009 in Phoenix, AZ this week. The very first event I attended was hosted by international architecture firm Perkins + Will. On Tuesday evening, the firm unveiled an online tool for architects – and the public – that highlights “chemicals that are listed by government agencies as having negative health issues and to associate them with the classes of building materials where they might be commonly found.”

Phoenix convention center

Phoenix convention center

The tool, called the Precautionary List, is intended to help professionals who are involved in specifying materials used in buildings to find alternatives to materials that are suspected of causing harm to human health and/or the environment. Perkins + Will Principal Robin Guenther explained in a panel discussion, “It’s hard to imagine that as architects we don’t know what’s in the material we build our buildings with. As licensed architects who are concerned with health, safety, and welfare, we exist in a soup – a stew- of product claims and misinformation.”

The Precautionary List is available free online. It allows users to browse by categories like chemical compounds, indoor air quality, flame retardants, or wood additives and treatments. There are categories that correspond to specifiers divisions or health affects like carcinogens or developmental toxicants. There is also a search option and an A-Z list. The first item in the A-Z list is arsenic, an elemental chemical used in wood treatments that is classified by EPA as a human carcinogen.

The allusion to the ethic of the precautionary principle was not an accident. The intention of the list is to provide information so that architects can strive to use less-toxic materials. However, the panel admitted that the science around actual human health effects of materials used in buildings is not always available. For example, bisphenol A is a suspected endocrine disrupter. But it is not clear to what extent humans are exposed to BPA in adhesives, coatings, paint and other building materials.