Monthly Archives: October 2010

Just Enough to be Dangerous

As part of my endeavor to figure out how to explain what I do to non-chemists without resorting to lies and vague generalities, I sat down and thought about atoms and molecules. Though it was a big conceptual jump when … Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry, Chemistry Basics | 2 Comments

Dissolving Bears and Limericks

Q: A bear from Yosemite and a bear from Alaska fall into a pool of water.  Which one dissolves first?

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Dad’s Bad Eating Habits Can Cause Metabolism Problems in Children

A recent study published in Nature reveals that a person’s risk of developing diabetes could be strongly influenced by their father’s bad eating habits back before he became a dad.

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Top 10 Things You Did or Didn’t Know About Acetone

The majority of people know acetone only as it relates to removing nailpolish.  Organic chemists like myself, on the other hand, would have a lot of trouble imagining life without acetone.  

Posted in Chemicals Among Us, Chemistry, Fun Stuff | 3 Comments

You Don’t Need Your Hippocampus to See the Future

Well, not see the future, but imagine it.  Brain physiologists in the past have proposed that the hippocampus is part of the network of brain regions responsible for the ability to remember the past and imagine the future.  

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Why Exams are Good For You

Although students tend to think that exams are merely an evaluation tool, a lot of research demonstrates that testing actually helps with the learning process.  Researchers Pyc and Rawson published a short article in Science exploring why testing is beneficial … Continue reading

Posted in Education | 2 Comments

Organic Chemistry, Jersey Shore Style

The cast of the strangely popular TV show Jersey Shore are known for their extreme obsession with tanning.  Earlier this year, Snooki switched from tanning beds to using spray-on tans, citing Obama’s tanning tax and “friggin’ cancer”.  Unlike UV light, … Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry, Fun Stuff | 1 Comment

The Happiness Thermostat: Is it Adjustable?

Many things bring momentary pleasure, but it’s hard to assess what factors yield long-term happiness without doing a long term study. Well, the results of a very long-term study are finally in (published in ), and these results have the … Continue reading

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Current Events: Red Sludge

Last week a massive spill of red sludge from an aluminum production company in Hungary killed several people and destroyed a tremendous amount of property.  Here’s a look at what this red sludge is and why it’s so bad.

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Pass Me the Insulin, I’m Glowing Again

New technology could allow for continuous blood glucose monitoring by checking if a patch of your skin is glowing or not.  A paper published in this week describes a development that sounds like a crazy idea… so crazy that it … Continue reading

Posted in Materials, Medicine | 1 Comment

Nobel Prize for Palladium!

The chemistry Nobel Prize was announced this morning, and my colleagues and I are thrilled that it went to some real organometallic chemists!  Even better, they were honored for their use of my favorite metal, palladium.

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Fun Molecule: Ethanol Puppy

I first discovered the ethanol puppy when I was a sophomore in college.  While exploring the cupboards of a dingy office that I shared with the other lab TAs, I found this dusty old box with yellowed papers dating from … Continue reading

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Science Fiction Coming True

Science fiction fans have long been enamored with the idea of microscopic submarines that could navigate the human body. A recent publication in JACS demonstrates that this futuristic idea is not really so far off. Continue reading

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