Happy Birthday Charles Martin Hall

Charles Martin Hall, born December 6, 1863, figured out how to produce aluminum metal in a cost effective way.  During a lecture at Oberlin College his professor, Jewett, said  "if anyone should invent a process by which aluminum could be made on a commercial scale, not only would he be a benefactor to the world, but would also be able to lay up for himself a great fortune."  At that point Hall decided that he would be the chemist to do so.  Read more about how he did it here


Test Tube Science: 1+1≠2

   -Two test tubes
   -5 mL rubbing alcohol
   -5 mL water
   -One pipette  
Dissolving sugar in water is a common enough sight.  Dissolving two liquids in each other is less commonly noticed.

Put 5 mL of rubbing alcohol in one test tube and put 5 mL of water in the second test tube.  Now use the pipette to transfer the rubbing alcohol to the water test tube.

Now look at the volume of the mixed test tube.  If the two liquids mixed but didn’t dissolve there would be 10 mL of liquid in the new test tube.  How many do you see?  Can you find any other liquids that will dissolve in each other?


Test Tube Science: Plop Plop Fizz Fizz

   -Two test tubes
   -10 mL hot water
   -10 mL cold water
   -One tablet of AlkaSeltzer

The rate at which a reaction progresses depends on the temperature of the reaction.  This experiment lets observe this first hand.

Fill one test tube with hottest tap water available.  Fill another with cold, cold water.  Break an Alka Seltzer tablet into small pieces.  Drop carefully into each test tube.  See which temperature water makes the most popping and fizzing.


Happy Birthday Melvin Calvin

Melvin Ellis Calvin, born April 8, 1911, using the 14C isotope as a tracer, Calvin and his team mapped the complete route that carbon travels through a plant during photosynthesis, starting from its absorption as atmospheric carbon dioxide to its conversion into carbohydrates and other organic compounds. In doing so, the Calvin group showed that sunlight acts on the chlorophyll in a plant to fuel the manufacturing of organic compounds, rather than on carbon dioxide, as was previously believed.


Remember, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the precipitate.


Happy Birthday Robert Bunsen

Robert Bunsen, born March 31, 1811 was a German chemist known for perfecting the burner which bears his name.  While developing the field of emission spectroscopy, he co-discovered the elements cesium and rubidium along with Gustav Kirchhoff.


Test Tube Science: Test Tubesicles

   -Five test tubes
   -Five barbecue skewers
   -50 mL of juice

These are fun to have on a warm afternoon.

 Balance test tubes carefully in rack.  Fill carefully with juice.  Place in freezer for 20 minutes.  Using barbecue skewers or skinny popsicle sticks, place them upright in slushy mixture.  Freeze until firm.  Remove by running test tube very briefly under warm water.


Happy Birthday Joseph Priestley

Joseph Priestley, born March 13, 1733, was an English natural philosopher known for his discovery of oxygen.  As an avid supporter of the phlogiston theory, he called oxygen “dephlogisticated air” and fought against Lavoisier's characterization of it as an element.


Happy Birthday Linus Pauling

Linus Pauling, born February 28, 1901, was an American chemist known, for among other things, his work on the nature of the chemical bond which won him the 1954 Nobel Prize in chemistry (and the namesake of this blog).  He also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962 for his campaign against above ground nuclear testing.


Happy Birthday Johannes Brønsted

Johannes Brønsted, born February 22, 1879, was a Danish chemist who, in 1923, introduced the protonic theory of acid-base reactions.


Happy Birthday Henry Eyring

A Mexican-American theoretical chemist, born 1901, whose primary contribution was in the study of chemical reaction rates and intermediates. A prolific writer, he authored more than 600 scientific articles, 10 scientific books, and a few books on the subject of science and religion. The Eyring equation in chemical kinetics relates the reaction rate to temperature.

This equation follows from his transition state theory and is theoretically derived. Previous understanding of reaction rates and temperature came from Arrhenius’s empirically derived equation.


Test Tube Science: Sip Sip

This one is for younger kids.

   -One clean test tube
   -Stuff to drink (juice, colored water [see Test Tube Science: Mouse Paint], and milk)
Encourage pouring skills by letting them drink everything they can pour into a test tube.

Lay a towel out on a low table or child’s play surface.  Fill a small pitcher or clean child’s toy teapot with water. Pour into the test tube and drink it down. Juice, colored water, and milk were some of our favorites.


Oxidation State and Phone Number

Man: Could you tell me the oxidation state of this atom, and your phone number?
Woman:  +3 and No.


Happy Birthday Dmitri Mendeleev

Russian chemist, born 1834, credited as being the primary creator of the first version of the periodic table of elements. Unlike other contributors to the table, Mendeleev predicted the properties of elements yet to be discovered.


Happy Birthday Robert Boyle

Known for Boyle's Law which says for a fixed mass of ideal gas at fixed temperature, the product of pressure and volume is a constant.


Test Tube Science: Window Garden

   -One test tube for each seed
   -Seeds (try peas, beans, or carrots)
   -Potting soil.

This is fun because you can see the seed growing “underground.”

Fill test tubes with potting soil and plant seeds.  Place in a sunny window.  Water carefully.  Because the “pots” are so small, transplant soon or simply start again when plants get too big for the test tubes.


Test Tube Science: Mouse Paint

   -Five test tubes
   -Food coloring
   -One pipette

We got this idea from the book called Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh. My son had a test tube rack with all the primary and secondary colors on it and would talk about them and to them almost everyday between the age of 18-36 months.  He learned his colors really well and has been able to tell what will happen if you mix different colors because he practiced so many times

 Fill four test tubes with water.  Into each, put one drop of food coloring (use red, yellow, and blue).  Stir carefully by tapping your finger on the test tube.  Pour half of one color into one of the empty test tubes.  Pour half of another color in on top of it.  Stir carefully.

What makes purple?  _________________+____________________

What makes green?
 _________________ +____________________

What makes orange?