Science Is Awesome: Top 10 Video Clips Of The Year
Dec28

Science Is Awesome: Top 10 Video Clips Of The Year

Everybody loves a good end-of-the-year list recounting the highlights of time gone by. The best albums, best movies, people of the year (no matter how much controversy they occupy), and snarkiest comments pique everyone's interest. So Newscripts decided to get in on the act and choose the top 10 video clips that we blogged and C&EN posted to its YouTube channel during 2011. They embody everything we love about science and chemistry. In at Number 10, we're not sure whether this year’s rash of music video parodies actually helps students learn organic chemistry, but the results are pretty funny. Our favorite for 2011 is an homage to Cake’s “Short Skirt/Long Jacket,” courtesy of the University of Utah. Number 9: What’s a post-happy-hour businessman to do to keep from smelling like an ashtray? It’s microencapsulation—in the form of a scratch-and-sniff mint-perfumed suit—to the rescue. Number 8: This one's for all those young at heart--you know, those who have mixed detergents in the basement to see what would happen or for those who have microwaved random objects and noted their observations. The folks at Blendtec regularly blend everyday objects in their "Will It Blend?" series. Here, they have a go at glow sticks. Number 7: The materials scientist who won this year’s “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest placed himself in the "Physics" category with a clip about fabricating better hip replacements via the 3-D printing technique called selective laser melting. We’re claiming it as another win for chemistry. Number 6: Larry Principe, a history of science professor, studies alchemy at Johns Hopkins University. Check out this clip to learn more about how alchemists protected their recipes from falling into the wrong hands. Number 5: Researchers at Harvard built an all-polymer robot, and this is a clip showing it walk and navigate an obstacle. The awesomeness here speaks for itself. Number 4: You either loved it or cringed at it (but still secretly loved it)—"The Chemistry Dance," captured at the Spring ACS national meeting in Anaheim.  Number 3: A 3-D model of a virus puts itself together when shaken, not stirred. We wanna work in this guy's lab. And tied for Number 1 (because we just couldn't bring ourselves to choose between the awesomeness), a clip of scientists demonstrating the wonders of conductive silver ink and a clip of scientists at the University of Texas, Austin, demonstrating how 3-D objects can be "printed" via a process called laser sintering. Aaah, lasers. We love 'em, even when they're used for making stuff, rather than blowing it...

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Video Thunderdome
Jun14

Video Thunderdome

Newscripts has recently been barraged with music videos by undergraduate students, graduate students, and professors alike. YouTube, it seems, has the power to turn even mild-mannered chemists into pop stars. We’ve sorted through some of the submissions and selected a few stand-outs. To ruthlessly narrow them down further, we’re taking Aunty Entity’s approach and sending a few into Thunderdome. Two videos enter. One video leaves. Alright, alright—we’re not going to obliterate the losing video. We’ve just got a couple of good ones to share with the blogosphere. Maybe the losers will be forced to watch Tina Turner’s “We Don’t Need Another Hero” video from the Mad Max sequel. The first submission comes from Zach Charlop-Powers (aka the Science Rapper), a graduate student at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York City. We’ve blogged about Charlop-Powers before, when he released a video about PCR. This time he is rapping about structural biology and its accompanying lab practices. He tells Newscripts that he wrote this song as a parody of Saturday Night Live’s classic “Lazy Sunday” video. Although Charlop-Powers has released a few videos now, he says that his “operation” is still pretty nonprofessional. For instance, he says, the first recording of this video was flubbed and resulted in a lot of footage of the videographer’s feet. The second submission comes from Neil Garg, a chemistry professor at UCLA. This semester, Garg taught an organic chemistry class for life sciences majors. To get the students motivated, he offered an extra-credit assignment to make a music video about organic chemistry. Out of about 250 students, Garg says that he expected maybe 5 to 10 videos to be turned in. “In the end, 61 videos were turned in!” he tells Newscripts. This video, “Chemistry Jock,” was Garg’s favorite. And although the creators of the video didn’t get any extra bonus points for standing out, Garg says that he showed it in class and sent them a congratulatory note. One of the “chemistry jocks” responded, saying, “I am so honored that our video was your favorite, and to me, this e-mail is worth more than any amount of points you could have given us.” Awww, shucks. To see UCLA’s coverage of Garg’s assignment, click...

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Fun With Pumpkins
Oct29

Fun With Pumpkins

As an early treat, the chemists at Periodic Table of Videos use their chemistry tricks to destroy pumpkins in their special Halloween video:

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