C&EN Picks Videos: ACS Indianapolis Meeting #ACSIndy
Aug20

C&EN Picks Videos: ACS Indianapolis Meeting #ACSIndy

How can chemists protect bees and other pollinators from harmful pesticides? Why is a company that makes video game graphics processors sponsoring an ACS meeting competition? The answers to these questions and more are in this round of C&EN Picks, our video highlights of newsworthy ACS National Meeting sessions. See you in Indianapolis on September 8! UPDATE 9/9/13: It's come to our attention that in Sunday's video, the photos for Daniel Kittle and Bret Huff were switched. We'd like to apologize to them and to you for the oversight, and to thank Vicky Kittle and Milea Kammer, who brought this to our attention on...

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Fun With Science: Top 10 Videos Of The Year
Dec19

Fun With Science: Top 10 Videos Of The Year

Who says scientists are boring geeks who drone on about quantum efficiency and reaction yield? We here at the Newscripts blog LOVE science and think those geeks are rockstars. So we’ve selected an assortment of our favorite videos of the year depicting just how cool science can be. The clips were culled from 2012 blog posts as well as from the YouTube channel of Chemical & Engineering News. So sit back, relax, warm yourself by the gentle glow of that Bunsen burner, and bask in the awesomeness of science.   In at number 10, Russell Hemley and researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science have gotten so good at growing their own diamonds from methane, they can make gems as big as 10 carat! Too bad they’re using them in high-pressure experiments rather than sending the Newscripts gang free samples.   Number 9: Reality TV isn’t just for privileged housewives, the gym-tan-laundry crowd, or survivors who like to eat bugs anymore. This year, MIT released a reality Web series following undergrads trying to pass an introductory chemistry course. Oh, the intrigue! Crystallization contests, rotovap malfunctions … this is the trailer that got us pumped for the series. [Link to original post]   Number 8: Adorable pandas + poop = instant classic. It really doesn’t even matter what the rest of the video is about. Although we did slip in some biofuel science. So you’re learning something while overloading on cute.   Number 7: Although the Newscripts gang loves to yell out requests for “Free Bird” at concerts, we also think Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” is pretty clutch, too. It’s even better when played by Tesla coils. [Link to original post]   Number 6: This year, researchers at Harvard and Caltech made a polymer sheet swim like a jellyfish. Why? We’re not so sure it matters. All we know is, right now, we’re heading out to procure some rat heart cells, a silicone sheet, and a vial of fibronectin because, well, we want one.   Number 5: You didn’t think you’d make it through a 2012 countdown without a Gangnam parody, did you? Good. Because here’s biochemistry, taught Gangnam-style. [Link to original post]   In at number 4, some super-science enthusiasts this year celebrated Mole Day (Oct. 23) by making a rad music video. Any clip that involves a guy in a sombrero, a cartoon mole, and the lyrics, “Once upon a time Avogadro said ‘Hey!’/And showed us the way out of the dark/His number you must use/A molar eclipse of the heart” is a must-see in our book. [Link to original post]   Number 3: So you’ve got a...

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Student Video Competitions Continue To Heat Up
Jul03

Student Video Competitions Continue To Heat Up

It seems like it was just yesterday that Newscripts started receiving student-made YouTube videos about organic chemistry. But two years have gone by, and the crop of clips--and universities that produce them--keeps growing. In 2010, Neil Garg, a professor at UCLA, gave the students in his organic chemistry class an extra-credit assignment: Write, direct, and produce a music video about the topics covered in class. He expected only a couple undergrads to take him up on his offer, but he received 60-some clips in the end. The video above came out of Garg’s class this spring—a parody of both the Beastie Boys’ “Paul Revere” and 50 Cent’s “PIMP.” (The Lord of the Rings references, Garg explains, are a little class joke. Because of all the aromatic chemistry the students learn during the semester, they get the title of “Lord of the Rings” if they get the top grade on an exam.) The video assignment has picked up so much momentum at this point, Garg tells Newscripts, he couldn’t imagine not offering the bonus project to his students. “Students will be disappointed if I don’t continue,” he says. Via word of mouth and examples online, “they know it’s coming.” And, he says of the assignment, “as long as they still enjoy it, and they seem to be learning something, it’s worthwhile.” Professors at other universities have found it worthwhile as well. Earlier this year, Jon Rainier of the University of Utah and Steven Castle of Brigham Young University cooked up a friendly Utah State rivalry between their organic chemistry classes with a video contest. Each chemistry professor gave their students the extra-credit music video assignment based on the UCLA model. Then they submitted their top 5 entries to Garg himself. Garg and a group of students were supposed to declare the winning class. “But I took the wimpy way out” and called it a draw, Garg admits. “It was a bit of a cop out,” Rainier says of the decision, especially because the professor from the losing class was supposed to visit the winner’s class and sing that school’s fight song. “You can imagine the anticipation.” Even though an official decision was never made about the class submissions in general, one video did rise above the rest. That much was agreed upon by Garg and the others. That clip, made by a student in Rainier’s class, is entitled “Meso” (see above). It celebrates meso compounds, those special stereoisomers that have two chiral centers but are not optically active themselves. The student responsible, Spencer Merrick, is a fine arts major taking chemistry on his path toward med school, Rainier tells Newscripts. The song...

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The Wonderscope Challenge
Nov17

The Wonderscope Challenge

Around here we love a good science video contest, and apparently the folks at NPR do, too. They've just launched The Wonderscope Challenge. They give a topic, a length, and a deadline, and contestants upload their videos via the Wonderscope site. The first assignment is Time, which is maybe not such a great topic for our crowd to tackle, but if submissions are anything like the ones for NanoTube, there should be some pretty entertaining ones to view. Doesn't look like any prize money is involved, but the top 3 videos will be highlighted on npr.org. NPR includes a great promo video on their Wonderscope site, but you'll have to go to the site or NPR's YouTube channel to check it out as it doesn't seem to be embeddable. Instead, I'll leave you with a reprise of "The Nano Song," for inspiration: The Nano Song from nanomonster on...

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