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Top 10 Chemistry Videos Of 2013

Although it’s our mission at Chemical & Engineering News to describe in words the wonders of chemistry, sometimes words just don’t do justice to the dynamics of a particular reaction or funky new material. Sometimes our prose just doesn’t capture a scientist’s excitement for research (or the time he spent playing the theme song to Super Mario Bros. with a chromatography column in the lab).

It’s those times when we turn to video.

Following are some of the Newscripts gang’s favorite clips of 2013. They’ve been collected from our blog and from our YouTube channel. Some we even homed in on and plucked from the roiling sea of inappropriate pop stars, prancercisers, and talkative foxes on the Interwebz last year.

And we did it all for you, dear readers. So pour something delicious into that mug that looks like a beaker, kick back next to your science fireplace … and enjoy!


Number 10: Alright, so this video isn’t technically chemistry—that’s why we’re ranking it last. But when a theoretical physicist uses the melody to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” to sing about string theory, we’re gonna take note. Did we mention the Einstein sock puppet?


Number 9: Unless you lived under a rock in 2013, you probably heard about a little show called “Breaking Bad.” In this clip, Donna Nelson, science advisor to the show and chemistry professor, discusses some memorable chemical moments from the series. (Alright, alright, we admit this video made the countdown not only because it’s awesome but also because we like hearing Nelson talk about C&EN.)


Number 8: Last year, the folks across the pond at the Periodic Table of Videos filmed a number of chemical reactions with a high-speed camera to learn more about reaction dynamics. This video, about a reaction called “the barking dog,” is their most recent—and one of our faves. It’s got historic footage of explosives lecturer Colonel BD Shaw and current footage of Martyn “The Professor” Poliakoff. Need we say more?


Number 7: Yo, yo, yo! These dope 7th graders made a hot “rap battle” video last year that details the historic tensions between Rosalind Franklin and the notorious DNA duo, Watson & Crick. Word … to their mothers, for having such creative kids.


Number 6: You couldn’t open your news feed in 2013 without finding at least 10 concurrent stories about 3-D printing. One stood out for us, though: Researchers at the University of Oxford printed eye-popping, foldable structures out of liquid droplets.


Number 5: Nostalgia for two cartoon plumbers + a handful of test tubes + a chromatography column + Vittorio Saggiomo (a researcher who happened to have some time on his hands) = winning the Internet in 2013.


Number 4: Something in Washington smelled in 2013, and it wasn’t just Congress. A corpse flower, stinking of rotten fish and sweat socks, bloomed at the U.S. Botanic Garden. See it in this clip and learn about the malodorous compounds behind its stench.


Number 3: Following C&EN associate editor Lauren Wolf’s successful blog post about peeing in the ocean, she sat down with colleague Carmen Drahl to hash out her feelings about being a self-proclaimed ocean urinator. Girls will be girls, and puns will be puns. [Original Post]


Number 2: This countdown is never complete without at least one popular song parody. In 2013, we had the “Harlem Shake” meme, in which a lone dancer (sometimes with a funny hat or mask) begins dancing and then, when the beat pops, is joined by enough folks for a jittery dance party. Here, we give you the ChemDraw Harlem Shake. [Original Post]


Number 1: IBM researchers dragged 5,000 atoms around on a surface last year to make the stop-motion film, “A Boy And His Atom.” It makes our heartstrings go zing, zing, zing as we ring, ring, ring in 2014 … and hope for more videos as spectacular as this one. [Original Post]

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1 Comment

  • Jan 15th 201417:01
    by Jeff Huber

    But what about the best Breaking Bad video of last year?! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nWjNgV_6yc

    It manages to summarize the entire series in a six-minute musical medley while also alluding to the age-inappropriate plays Max Fischer put on at his high school in “Rushmore.” That’s comedy Au.

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