We can’t avoid chemicals. We can’t even live without it. Chemistry shapes our lives.
Here are some chemistry-based facts you should love.
1. The chemist Glenn Seaborg- 1951 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, was the only person in the world who could write his address in chemical elements: Sg, Lr, Bk, Cf, Am. Each of these is transuranium elements discovered at the laboratory where Seaborg worked and was conveniently named:
1. Seaborgium (Sg), named after Seaborg himself.
2. Lawrencium (Lr), named after the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
3. Berkelium (Bk), named after the city of Berkeley, the home of UC Berkeley.
4. Californium (Cf), named after the state of California.
5. Americium (Am), named after America.
2. Hot peppers get their heat from a molecule called capsaicin. While the molecule acts as an irritant to mammals, including humans, birds lack the receptor responsible for the effect and are immune to the burning sensation from exposure.
3. Helium displays some magical properties when it becomes something which we call a superfluid below 2K.
Have a look at this extract from a documentary:
4. The compound sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is 5 times denser than air but has almost the same refractive index as air and is colorless too. So it is used by magicians to levitate things.
5. The superficial use of helium in party balloons is building up towards a worldwide shortage of the element, despite it being the second most abundant element in the universe. Helium is important in a number of industrial processes. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be no more commercially available helium, at least for private individuals.
6.Apples and pears release ethylene gas as they mature, which in turn can promote ripening in several other types of fruit. In other words, it is not the best idea to store all your fruit together.
7.Copper(II) acetoarsenite, also known as Paris Green, was historically used in the Napoleonic era as a color pigment by painters, and on wallpapers. Come spring, the humidity in the air would allow molds to process the paint’s arsenic atoms into arsine vapor AsH3, which is a deadly poison. As a result, a number of people fell ill or outright died around spring at the hands of their green wallpapers.
8. Automotive airbags contain the supremely toxic salt sodium azide NaN3. In the event of a collision, a signal from the vehicle’s deceleration sensors triggers an electrical impulse which raises the temperature around the salt dramatically, causing it to decay into harmless nitrogen gas N2 which rapidly expands into the airbag.
9. Humans have been using chemistry since at least Ancient Egypt. By 1000 BCE human civilizations were using advanced forms of chemistry like extracting metals from ore, fermenting alcohol, and refining plant extracts as a medicine.
10. German chemist von Baeyer was born in 1835 and made his first chemical discovery — a new double salt of copper — at the age of 12. He began developing indigo, the blue dye used to color most jeans, in 1865 and successfully synthesized the dye several years later. In 1905, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his “
11. Coca-Cola was first launched as a tonic drink or a stimulant. One of the drink’s key ingredients was cocaine, sourced from the coca leaves.
12. Oxygen, in liquid form, gives off a beautiful pale blue color. This is because when two oxygen molecules smash into each other and are hit by the red light, the unpaired electrons in both molecules will “couple up” in one orbital, thus taking in the proton. The liquid oxygen absorbs the red light which turns into blue. Liquid oxygen is also strongly attracted to magnets (paramagnetic).
13.Bee sting venom contains peptin mellitin, which is highly acidic. While a wasp sting’s venom is alkaline — when stung by a wasp, the venom can be neutralized by applying something acidic such as vinegar to ease the pain.