Top 10 Chemistry Videos Of 2013
Jan02

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...

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Amusing News Aliquots
Oct10

Amusing News Aliquots

Silly samplings from this week’s science news, compiled by Sophia Cai, Bethany Halford, and Jeff Huber. Who says romance is dead? Man gives wife a giant mushroom as an anniversary gift. [NY Daily News] The fact that the U.S. now has a National Pet Obesity Awareness Day (Oct. 9) is really not helping our fat American image. [NBCNews] Are you an Internet-savvy hypochondriac looking for a new ailment to worry about? Well, look no further. "Cyberchondria" is here. [Telegraph] Rest in Peace, Ruth Benerito. And thanks for helping to save us from hours of ironing. [New York Times] Males of several species will do a lot for sex. Some marsupials will die for it. [National Geographic] Why use MRI for medicine when you could use it to make a better pork pie instead? [Annals of Improbable Research] Chincoteague, Va., fire department is forced to cancel this weekend's wild pony roundup as a result of the government shutdown. Disappointed firefighters may resort to playing with My Little Ponies instead. [WHSV-TV3] They tell us cheating leads to guilt. Turns out, it also leads to upbeat feelings, self-satisfaction, and even thrill. [New York Times] Like "Breaking Bad" but wish it had more opera music? You're in luck! [Classic FM]    ...

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Breaking Bad: A Clueless Review
Sep30

Breaking Bad: A Clueless Review

The biggest thing to happen in the world of chemistry this week was the final episode of Breaking Bad. The Chemical Notebook never saw the show, and for the last several years has felt left out of the fun that most of the chemical world was having watching it every week. I considered seeing the show before, but getting caught up would take more than 50 hours. It doesn’t seem important enough to invest that kind of time. Instead, I just jumped into the final episode. Technically, I watched a little bit of the second to last episode, but most of that time was spent telling the kids to stop playing in front of the television. Here’s my review of the last episode: [[SPOILER ALERT: People may have recorded the show on VHS or whatever.]] The main character is Walter White. He’s played by the dad from Malcolm in the Middle. I’m pretty sure the shows occur in different universes. Walter White makes drugs, probably methamphetamine, using science. In fact, many references in the final episode leave me with the impression that he was once a reputable scientist. Most likely he was a chemist because I know chemists enjoy the show and they wouldn’t like it as much if it was about a renegade geologist. White may have done other bad things besides making drugs, but that isn’t 100% clear from just the last episode. He seems like a nice man, as far as drug makers go, so I have my doubts. Walter has some kind of disease that makes him cough a lot. Also, he’s a fugitive. He has a wife. I didn’t catch her name. She smokes. He also has a son, who walks around with crutches. He is very angry with his father about the drugs and other things he may or may not have done. Oh, and a baby. There’s a baby in house. I’m not sure how it got there. The wife smokes in the house even though there’s a baby. Maybe she just smokes in the kitchen. I should mention Jesse. I think he used to be friends with Walter White. He was making drugs while tethered to a thing. He used to make nice boxes out of wood. The show has a lot of characters. I can’t get into them all. A woman who drinks tea a lot seems like she was important for the last few episodes at least. Walter kills her with chemistry. Also there were two rich people with a nice fireplace, apparently two former businesses associates of White. They said bad things about him on Charlie Rose. This...

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‘Breaking Bad’ Aliquots
Sep25

‘Breaking Bad’ Aliquots

Today's post was written by C&EN Senior Editor Jyllian Kemsley, who, when she isn't watching the TV show "Breaking Bad," enjoys surfing the Web for "Breaking Bad" links and then writing about them. The end is almost here, and the Internet is gearing up. With the series finale of "Breaking Bad" set to air this Sunday on AMC, media outlets have unleashed a barrage of retrospectives and stories about the hit TV show. What's more, a surprising number of these tributes actually focus on the science behind the show. Take, for instance, the above video in which Boing Boing counts down the top 11 "Breaking Bad" chemistry moments. Or, simply pick up this week’s issue of C&EN, in which I have a story about Donna Nelson, a University of Oklahoma chemistry professor who has spent the last several years volunteering as a science adviser to the television show. I connected Nelson with show producer Vince Gilligan after I first wrote about the show in 2008—something Nelson has graciously acknowledged in many interviews—and I enjoyed chatting with her as the series nears its end. To help all of us get through the last few days before the finale, here are a few of my favorite “Breaking Bad” offerings from across the Web. If, like some of my colleagues, you didn’t get the memo early enough and are only on season two, tread carefully—I won’t promise no spoilers! Wired interviewed some other “Breaking Bad” staff who help get the science right, researchers Gordon Smith and Jenn Carroll: “One day, Gordon and the writers asked me to figure out a way to knock out a surveillance camera, or—at the very least—to make a passerby invisible to the camera. As you might imagine, there aren’t many legal or convenient ways to go about this.” The Washington Post went over what “Breaking Bad” gets right, and wrong, about the meth business: “Could a genius innovator like Walt really become this successful? Are charismatic businessmen like Gus Fring running front businesses to hide their meth trade? Are super labs real?” "Today" talked “Breaking Bad” science and Walter White psychology with the show’s co-executive producer Peter Gould: “We went online and found this way of making a battery using pennies,” Gould said. “We actually built one in the writers' room. It created a mild amount of current, and was sort of our proof of concept. Every once in a while, there would be a science experiment right there in the writers' room. It turned out to be kind of a big mess.” At Slate, physician Haider Javed Warraich called “Breaking Bad” “TV’s best medical drama, ever":...

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This Week on CENtral Science: #Rarediseases, 80s Nostalgia, #Chemclub, and more
May17

This Week on CENtral Science: #Rarediseases, 80s Nostalgia, #Chemclub, and more

Tweet of the Week: There is not enough coffee for both me and America.— Dr24Hours (@Dr24hours) May 13, 2013 To the network: Grand CENtral: Guest Post: “#Chemclub” by Andrew Bissette Newscripts: In Print: Shall We Play A Game? and Amusing News Aliquots The Haystack: Biotech, Pharma, & VCs Offer Rare Disease Patient Groups Some Advice The Watch Glass: "We can now make a few milligrams of anything" and Inspection, with Mustache and Membranes in Immunology and Making of Breaking...

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