Category Archives: Chemistry

Pandemic Disorder Threatens Public Health*

A widespread disorder affecting a staggering number of citizens in developed countries, including the U.S., has recently been brought into the spotlight.

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My Beverage Tastes Better Because I’m a Chemist

I bought some ginger tea a little while back, but it turned out a little disappointing. Despite steeping the tea for longer than the prescribed 5–10 minutes, I could barely detect any of the characteristic spicy flavor that I was … Continue reading

Posted in Amateur Research, Chemistry | 14 Comments

If James Cameron Did Chemistry

Chemistry has a lot of smart researchers, but no names or faces that the Average Joe would recognize.  The field needs a hero but, as Chembark points out, what chemist has the time to be a spokesperson?  Research in the … Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry, Fun Stuff | 9 Comments

Finding an Alzheimer’s Drug From Scratch

Pharmaceutical companies sometimes get a bad rap, but most people don’t realize just how labor/money-intensive the process of drug discovery is.  A recent paper offers a little glimpse at the process

Posted in Brain Stuff, Chemistry | 2 Comments

The Chemistry of Sweet

As a new year begins, so do new diet plans. Many diets encourage replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners as a way to cut calories. So what’s really in those pink, blue, and yellow sugar-substitute packets?

Posted in Chemicals Among Us, Chemistry | 5 Comments

Class Action Lawsuit Against Brazilian Blowout

I’m still on Christmas break, with minimal internet availability, but here’s a tidbit of news about Brazilian Blowout.  Courthouse News Service reports today that a class action lawsuit was filed against Brazilian Blowout

Posted in Brazilian Blowout, Chemistry | 2 Comments

Christmas Chemistry!

Here’s a random assortment of holiday cheer, with just a hint a big dollop of chemistry nerdiness.

Posted in Chemistry, Fun Stuff | 1 Comment

Trespassing Viruses Will Be Killed on Contact

It’s the holiday season, which means it’s time to start thinking about the flu!

Posted in Chemistry, Medicine, Viruses | 3 Comments

Update: ACC’s Position on Formaldehyde

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has issued a statement about the formaldehyde/methylene glycol “controversy”.  You can read a summary of the statement here, and the full statement here.  Here’s a couple of key quotes:

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I Can Has Science Hair Straightener?

My apologies, I really do not want to turn this into a Brazilian Blowout Blog.  However, I am super swamped this week and am writing on borrowed time, and Brazilian Blowout keeps falling into my lap.  The last week and … Continue reading

Posted in Brazilian Blowout, Chemistry, Current Events | 2 Comments

Really, We’re Doing This Again?

More drama on the Brazilian Blowout front.  (For a recap from last time, see here.)  For whatever reason, a BB spokesperson emailed me again this weekend with another press release,

Posted in Brazilian Blowout, Chemistry, Chemistry Basics, Current Events | 7 Comments

Alien Life and the Periodic Table

A “new” life form was documented in a Science article released yesterday.  OK, so it’s not exactly alien life: it was found in California (Earth) and, technically, its unusual characteristics are kind of due to human interference.  Regardless, these little … Continue reading

Posted in Bacteria, Chemistry, Chemistry Basics | Comments Off

Brazilian Blowout and Formaldehyde

Having no reason to do my hair since I’m in lab all day Having naturally straight hair, I don’t usually pay attention to trendy methods of hair-straightening.  Until yesterday, that is, when a colleague pointed out a Fashionista article to … Continue reading

Posted in Brazilian Blowout, Chemistry, Chemistry Basics, Current Events | 23 Comments

The Machinery of Retroviruses Part 2: Using X-Rays to Solve Scientific Problems

(Part 1 here) X-ray crystallography is used by the authors of a recent Nature paper to visualize the structure of certain key molecules relevant to retroviruses.  Though we usually think of X-rays as just a way of looking at our … Continue reading

Posted in Chemistry, Chemistry Basics, Materials, Viruses | Comments Off

Chemicals Among Us: Acetic Acid Top Ten Facts

Like acetone in a previous post, acetic acid is another common laboratory chemical that makes frequent cameo appearances in your home.  Here are 10 – dare I say – “fun” facts about acetic acid that you may or may not … Continue reading

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

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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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

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

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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