Read, Heard, Watched Part 3


I picked up a copy of ‘Periodic Tales’ recently by Hugh Aldersey-Williams. It’s a Sunday Times bestseller and a great read.


It’s divided into five parts : power, fire, craft, beauty and earth. The book can be dipped into and I picked a great chapter about the use of chromium and cadmium compounds in paints. There was a fascinating story about how 150 pounds of the fluorescent pigment zinc cadmium sulphide was dropped from a plane on Norwich in 1963. The Ministry of Defence wanted to investigate how biological agents would spread if dropped from height. Although it is considered safe there is still some debate about the long term health effects associated with the study. There are so many great stories in this book, as the Sunday Telegraph says ‘ Aldersey-Williams is full of good stories and he knows how to tell them well ‘ .

I’ve also joined a book club – now this is not just any book club but the Chemistry World book club !
This month it’s Michael Gordin’s book Scientific Babel which examines the history of scientific language, may be one for the Christmas stocking !


So as we all know, there’s not a class that doesn’t benefit from a chemistry sing-a-long and it got me thinking what is your favourite chemistry song ? Here is one that my A level pupils swear is the best way to remember electronic structure …


I spotted this video clip on the Chemistry World Twitter feed. Recently I blogged about graphene and it looks like it now can be considered an active material. The material is actually graphene oxide-polydopamine layers deposited in a pattern onto a graphene oxide base. The folding affect is caused by water in the structure evaporating when IR light is shone on the material. The researchers inspiration apparently came from nature and the behaviour in plants. I could watch this video clip all day it’s mesmerising !


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