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Spread the world about chemistry & don’t fret the chemophobia

Tweet Follow @Sci_ents Tweet #Chemperceptrions  At times chemists can feel rather maligned. But according to the RSC’s study of the UK public’s perceptions of chemistry we shouldn’t be quite so worried about what people think of us.  We do however need to get out there and let people know what we do. The other sciences seem to … Continue reading »

John Nash's nighttime chalkboard scribblings

From physicist Peter Woit's blog comes a link to a PDF document containing a transcript of the bizarre scribblings that John Nash used to leave at night on the blackboards of the math department at Princeton when he was at the peak of his illness in the 70s. Show More Summary

Materials Girl: End of the beginning

Just a few months ago, I was floundering to bring my projects to a reasonable stopping point and unify them into a coherent story (aka: my dissertation). The postdoc in our research group assured me that any self-perceived lack of direction...Show More Summary

On the ethics of that "chocolate sting" study

By now many people must have heard of the so-called "chocolate sting" carried out by scientist and journalist John Bohannon. In a nutshell, what Bohannon did was to carry out a fake study on a very small sample of people that purported to investigate the effects of a chocolate-laced diet on weight. Show More Summary

Distillations Podcast: Acts of God, Acts of Men

Mother Nature can do a lot of damage. Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and droughts destroy...

John Nash's work makes as good a case as any for the value of curiosity-driven research

What's the mark of a true genius? A Nobel Prize based on work that someone did in their PhD thesis at age 22? The fact that their theories are used in a stunning variety of disciplines, from economics to biology to government welfare?...Show More Summary

There’s something interesting brewing…

There’s something interesting brewing over at the Royal Society of Chemistry. They’ve been beavering away trying to figure out what the (UK) public thinks for chemistry, chemicals and chemists. Results are out on Monday 1st June via a live-stream. Be sure to tune in and join in the conversation on twitter with the #Chemperceptions hashtag. And … Continue reading »

A review of Freeman Dyson's "Dreams of Earth and Sky"

Freeman Dyson is one of the most brilliant and wide-ranging thinkers of his time; the rare example of a truly outstanding scientist who is also a truly eloquent writer. This volume gathers together book reviews that he has written for the New York Review of books since 2004. Show More Summary

The difference between popular chemistry and popular physics

This is from Half Price Books in Redmond, WA which I visited over the weekend. In this world popular physics books are popular physics books. Meanwhile, popular chemistry books are just textbooks. Of course, as I have noted earlier, the problem is not with Half Price Books or with any other bookstore where this will be a familiar scenario. Show More Summary

My Extra Credit Assignment: Turn a General Chemistry Topic into a Science Museum Exhibit

When traveling, I always make a point to explore local science museums. I look for engaging exhibits that explain scientific concepts in informative and fun ways. One such exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota asks participants to create carbon nanotubes using foam connectors. A few friends and I used our advanced degrees to produce … Continue reading »

Elements of Stockholm

The illustration in the holmium In Your Element article deserves a little explanation of its contents, hence this blog post, an extended figure caption for the article.  Read more

Blogroll: Those who left

Editor’s note: As we continue to invite bloggers out there in the wild to compose our monthly Blogroll column, Brandon Findlay returns to pen the June 2015 column.  Read more

George M. Whitesides is widely considered to be one of the most...

George M. Whitesides is widely considered to be one of the most influential chemists living today. In this video he talks about his research group at Harvard. They work in many areas, including biophysics, molecular electronics, microfluidics, and soft robotics to create practical solutions for real-world problems. Show More Summary

Heisenberg and Dirac in the age of NIH funding

The men who engineered the quantum revolution had some hard tasks cut out in front of them. But as the brilliant Philip Anderson says in his sparkling collection of essays "More and Different", at least they did not have to deal with...Show More Summary

A tale of a tired lecture course. Flip it.

Tweet Follow @Sci_ents It dawned on me that no one cared. The proteins that I found so fascinating just didn’t seem to intrigue them as much as they did me. I thought the video of water molecules flipping as they passed through the channel of aquaporin was marvellous. But it hardly gleaned a reaction from … Continue reading »

Allergies to natural latex affect about 3 million Americans....

Allergies to natural latex affect about 3 million Americans. Life can be complicated for those people when they have to stay in hospitals where gloves, syringes, bandages, and intravenous tubes usually contain natural rubber. These folks also have to get creative with contraception; most condoms are also made from natural rubber. Show More Summary

CHF Museum Dance-Off 2015

Our museum just won the Judge’s Choice for Best Mission Narrative at the Museum Dance-Off Video...

On treading the line between hagiography and denigration in scientific biography

Historian of science Steven Shapin has a review of Steven Gimbel's new capsule biography of Einstein in which he holds forth with some of his more general thoughts on the art of scientific biography and the treatment of famous scientific figures. Show More Summary

CHF Museum Dance-Off 2015!

CHF Museum Dance-Off 2015!: Our museum just won the Judge’s Choice for Best Mission Narrative at the...

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