A recent edition of Newscripts featured several chemistry-related iPhone apps. Two more I’d like to throw in the mix are the Experimenter and Chemical Touch apps.
The Experimenter is a fun little how-to app for home-based chemistry experiments and includes demonstration videos. Iliya Yordanov and his wife, Maria, are the masterminds behind the app, though Iliya credits Maria with the initial idea. “She was in chemistry nationals back at high school,” he says, “and one day she proposed that it’d be so much fun to make an app teaching people funny and easy-to-do chemistry experiments. And that’s how it all started.” Iliya and Maria hired a more experienced chemist to help them construct and safely demonstrate the experiments before spending four months shooting the videos.
The Experimentor app is available on iTunes for $1.99.
The Chemical Touch, created by biophysics postdoc Christopher Fennell, is bot a touch sensitive periodic table and an amino acid companion. He wanted to use his knowledge to make something fun and useful, so he evolved the Periodic Table widget he developed as a grad student into a version for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Users can not only view atomic mass, density, melting point, boiling point, atomic radius, and electronegativity, but they can also recolor the periodic table to display trends in these properties. Elements and amino acids are linked to their respective Wikipedia page.
The Chemical Touch is available on iTunes for a mere 99 cents. Fennell deliberately chose the minimum amount he could charge for the app. “I treat it as an incentive to keep me developing and improving the application in my spare time,” he says. A free “lite” version of the app is also available for those who are averse to paying for apps but could still get some benefit out of Fennell’s work. He says the free version is downloaded 10 times more than the paid version.
“Kind of makes you reflect on the relative value of your effort,” Fennell says. “When writing a scientific paper, I would be thrilled to get 100 citations over its lifetime. When I wrote this fun, little application, I accrued nearly half a million direct users over a year-and-a-half period.”
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