cynthia1960: (chemistry)
[personal profile] whump made my afternoon yesterday by sending me a link to a story by Charlie Stross on tor.com about a delightful conversation about rocket propellants. I will note that one of the reagents has been called "Satan's kimchi" on one of my favorite science blogs, and then I'll run very far away and armor up when I get to that hiding place.
cynthia1960: (chemistry)
Video of a Chemical Party

Chemistry class would have been even more fun (seriously kids, why would I have majored in this if it *wasn't* fun? Things go boom, things catch on fire, things change color, things smell funny).

I do fondly remember my thesis advisor in freshman chem likening entropy levels to a room full of kindergartners: High entropy=kids running around, low entropy=same kids on valium (or naptime, if you don't want to do sedation)
cynthia1960: (chemistry)
I want to send out a heartfelt muito obrigado for today's Wednesday Geek Woman post on Branca Edmée Marques. She was a Portuguese chemist who collaborated with Marie Curie. Now, I need to see how much of the Portuguese language links I can try to understand without resorting to babelfish.
cynthia1960: (steampunksuffrage)
Happy Ada Lovelace Day to all the women out there toiling in the technology sector and the sciences!

Today, I want to write about the second woman to have a element of the periodic table named after her, Lise Meitner. She could arguably be the first woman in her own right to do so, I don't know if curium was named after Marie Curie alone or Marie and Pierre. (All praise is due to the divine [livejournal.com profile] beatonna for the awesome shirt, I treasure mine.)

Lise Meitner was part of the team that discovered nuclear fission, but got shut out of the Nobel Prize in chemistry her colleague Otto Hahn got in 1944 (grrr). In addition, she independently discovered the Auger effect in 1923, where electrons emitted by surface atoms under bombardment with an electron beam have characteristic energies. Pierre Auger seems to get all the credit in 1925 for this (double grrr). A few of my co-workers do Auger electron spectroscopy as part of their jobs.

Interestingly enough, she has element 109, meitnerium, named after her, and Otto Hahn can't have an element of his own, because the Institute of Pure and Applied Chemistry rejected hahnium as a name for element 105 (dubnium), according to Theodore Gray, in his awesome coffee table book of chemistry pr0n (pretty pictures and interesting information about all the elements discovered to date).

May her memory last far longer than the longest lived isotope of meitnerium (mass 278, half life ~30 minutes per Wikipedia)!
cynthia1960: (chemistry)
via [livejournal.com profile] lolscience, there's a fascinating link about chlorine trifluoride and how incredibly nasty it is (one of the by-products of the reactions is lots of hydrofluoric acid, and when I was at $OLDCOMPANY, I was absolutely paranoid about handling HF). He's got blog tags like "things I won't work with" and "things I'm glad I don't do", and I envision some fascinating diversions into the world of BoomToday!
cynthia1960: (chemistry)
My mother was given a spray solution to use as part of some wound care protocol, and I was annoyed by the way the ingredients were listed. This solution seems to be a buffered sodium hypochlorite/hypochlorous acid solution (with sodium chloride added) but the main ingredient was listed as 99% "oxidized water". The chemist part of me is going WTF?!

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cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)
cynthia1960

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