Printed Icon Lives On
Apr20

Printed Icon Lives On

Back in the April 2 issue of C&EN, we at Newscripts lamented the news that Encyclopaedia Britannica was no longer going to be issued in print format. Although the venerable encyclopedia will still be available online, we considered that the loss of the printed icon would be detrimental to tactile learning gained by leafing through the meaty volumes. In particular we noted that in the 1967 edition, the section on chemistry spans...

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Gilbert Stork on How Not to Dispose of a Steak
Mar06

Gilbert Stork on How Not to Dispose of a Steak

When writing about science, it’s easy to focus on the facts of discovery and leave out the actual scientists who do the work. This is a shame, since science is ultimately a human endeavor, spurred on by folks with colorful personalities that often compliment (and sometimes overshadow) their remarkable intellect. Now chemistry historian Jeffrey I. Seeman, of the University of Richmond, has put together a collection of witticisms...

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Your Chance to Host a PBS Program About Chemistry
Feb28

Your Chance to Host a PBS Program About Chemistry

Think you’ve got what it takes to be chemistry’s Carl Sagan? Well, now’s your chance. Over the transom, we’ve received word that the folks at Moreno/Lyons Productions are searching for a host for their upcoming PBS special/multimedia project The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements. “In a nutshell,” notes the production’s webpage, “the project is about the human story behind the...

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A Lavoisier Painting’s Path
Dec15

A Lavoisier Painting’s Path

It’s a painting that most chemists would recognize instantly. Antoine Lavoisier, French nobleman and giant in early modern chemistry, sits, quill in hand, at a velvet-cloaked table topped with scattered instruments. Behind him, in a position perhaps symbolic of her role in Lavoisier’s legacy (if the play Oxygen is to be believed), is Madame Lavoisier. I’ve visited the painting before– it hangs in New York...

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Amusing News Aliquots
Oct06

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Bethany Halford and Lauren Wolf. Aqua regia: Good for cleaning up around the lab, etching stuff … and dissolving Nobel Prize medals before the Nazis arrive. [NPR] Forget the dreamhouse. “Barbie pagoda” fungus discovered inNew Caledonia. [The Observer] When good compounds go bad.ClemsonUniversitychemistry professor John Huffman’s synthetic cannabinoids have taken on a...

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Reconstructing Alchemical Experiments
Aug29

Reconstructing Alchemical Experiments

In this week’s issue of C&EN, I wrote a profile of Larry Principe, a professor of organic chemistry and the history of science at Johns Hopkins University. Principe studies alchemy with the goal of understanding the evolution of modern-day chemistry. But he doesn’t just study alchemy. He also carries out his own alchemical experiments to get a handle on the thought processes of those experimentalists who tried to make gold from...

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