Dilettante Fascination

Main themes of this blog: ANIME and SCIENCE. Although I like plenty of things which may show up from time to time. Like Doctor Who. Or Sherlock. Or Supernatural. Or Steins;Gate. Or Persona 3/4.
Peeps I Like
Posts tagged "science"

thecraftychemist:

cyclopentadiene:

Thomas Klapötke’s lab in Germany does some terrifying nitrogen chemistry…

Like
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just
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look
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at
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these
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WHERE ARE THE HYDROGENS

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TOO MANY NITRO GROUPS
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WHY WOULD YOU MAKE THESE
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?????????
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EDIT: via cyclopentadiene

From the paper on C2N14 (that one with three -N3 groups on the substituted tetrazole):

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Translation: “Taking an IR of this thing was enough to make it blow up.”

xysciences:

By tracking mRNA scientists can view chemicals within the brain creating memories for the first time. 
(x)

xysciences:

By tracking mRNA scientists can view chemicals within the brain creating memories for the first time. 

(x)

(via thecraftychemist)

jtotheizzoe:

In honor of the first day of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, a few fun physics facts about summer, courtesy of the Perimeter Institute (check out more here)

webofgoodnews:

A 15-year-old with an insatiable thirst for science has developed shoes that can charge your phone or any USB-powered device by simply walking. Angelo Casimiro lives in the Philippines, a country still recovering from last fall’s Typhoon Haiyan. “A lot of people are still suffering from poverty,” he says in a YouTube video in which he demonstrates his invention. Some people have no access to electricity, he adds. For them, “a simple source of light is a big,” he says.

Read more

(via thecraftychemist)

sciencesoup:

Life from the Ancient Soup: The Miller and Urey Experiment

Alright, so we know how eukaryotes came to be, but how did life arise in the first place? In the early 1950s, an experiment performed by a couple of guys at the University of Chicago gave us a pretty good idea.

Early in Earth’s history, the conditions of the planet were relatively hostile. Temperatures were high, lots of energy was running riot (such as lightning, volcanoes, and UV radiation), and the atmosphere was reducing rather than oxidising, meaning that it was devoid of gaseous oxygen, but had plenty of methane, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, water vapour and nitrogen.

Miller and Urey decided to simulate these early Earth conditions in the lab to see if they could produce some form of life. Basically, their aim was to find out whether these abiotic (lifeless) conditions were conducive to the rise of living organisms.

To do this, they sealed ammonia, methane, hydrogen and water into a closed, sterile system. Then they heated it to form water vapour, and passed electrical sparks through it to simulate lightning.

After a week or two of brewing time, they analysed their mixture and found that up to 15% of the carbon in their system had formed into organic molecules—most noticeably, amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which are one of the three most important macromolecules of life.

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(Image Source)

By themselves, amino acids are relatively small and simple, but together they join to build structures far bigger and grander than individual molecules: life.

So, Miller and Urey found that it’s a cinch to synthesise at least the building blocks of life out of some messy soup.

Further resources: Animation

(via thecraftychemist)

I'm a semester away from having a bachelor's degree in chemistry and I feel like I've learned nothing. Do you know if this is a normal feeling or can I call this a personal fail?
nighthart001 nighthart001 Said:

smilesandvials:

thecraftychemist:

There’s a number of reasons you could be feeling this way - seeing as you’ve got through the course so far without failing or dropping out I’m more inclined to think this is an issue in your perception of your self. In other words it could be due to a phenomenon called ‘imposter syndrome’ where even though you might be just as qualified and educated as everyone else, your perception of yourself and your abilities is much lower than what they actually are.

Alternatively, you could just be much more aware that no matter how much you revise something, you’re eventually going to forget the nitty-gritty details and will have to come back to it and revise when you need it again. This applies to everyone. No one in the workplace is going to demand that you take a random pop quiz on your knowledge of nomenclature. Seriously - and even if they did they would have to give you fair warning. The real reason for eduction is to test that you are able to learn and apply new things - the only thing you take away from this is an enhanced understanding of learning and re-learning over and over again. It’s about finding the right resources and knowing where to look for them, of team building and fostering working relationships and getting a feel that this is the thing that I want to do for your working life - that you can actually see yourself being employed to study and apply this information (not forcibly remember stuff to blurt out onto paper for an hour) because it is interesting or you get a good feeling seeing something work better than it did before. That’s it - this mindset was passed onto me from a professor with 40 years in the field of food chemistry so I’m not alone in that. He never touched the field of his thesis after he got his doctorate and did something completely different in food science after that. So while you’re learning valuable skills in the lab and you remember all the basics at the end of the day It’s just a piece of paper that proves to your employer that you have the ability to apply the information that you’ve been given.

I think it is a common feeling. Imposter syndrome seems big in the sciences. 

Here is how I ultimately feel about education: The value of your education is really not knowing nomenclature or any of that or memorizing things. It is about being able to go back and understand what you read (articles, textbooks, etc). You’re getting a new kind of literacy, not just a new set of facts. (I feel like thecraftychemist has said this in a different set of words.)

Also, for anybody feeling this way I highly suggest that you read “Forgive Me, Scientists, for I Have Sinned.” Professors feel this way, students feel this way, professionals feel this way.

I know that no matter how many grants I get or scholarships or how much praise I get from my PI or our graduate students, I still feel like I just lucked into and I get very confused by their praise. It happens. 

Fake it til’ you make it, I guess. 

jtotheizzoe:

compoundchem:

Today, a look at the contributing compounds to ‘old book smell’, and the origins of the less well researched ‘new book smell’: http://wp.me/p4aPLT-hV

Books don’t get old. They get better.

What make glue sticky?
nighthart001 nighthart001 Said:

compoundchem:

This is on the face of it a pretty simple question, but the chemistry behind it is actually a little complicated. It’s also complicated further by the fact that different glues will work in different ways.

As one example, superglue contains the chemicals from the cyanoacrylate family, one of which, methyl cyanoacrylate, is shown below. This chemical rapidly polymerises (forms long chains) with other molecules of itself when it comes into contact with moisture - even the moisture in the air is enough to start this process. The polymerisation bonds the joined surfaces together. So, when you get superglue on your skin, the ‘stickiness’ is caused by the polymerisation, set off by the moisture in your skin.

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Other types of glue can stick things together in different ways. Even an object that feels smooth will have a very rough surface on a molecular level, and liquid glue can seep into microscopic cracks in an object’s surface. ‘Mechanical bonding’ sticks the two objects together as the glue hardens within these crevices.

Intermolecular forces also play a part in the ‘stickiness’ of glue, in particular Van der Waals forces. Electrons in molecules are mobile, and at any point in time there could potentially be more electrons at one end of the molecule than at the other. This leads to what we call a ‘temporary dipole’ - meaning the molecule has one slightly positively charged end, and one slightly negatively charged end. Because electrons in molecules are constantly moving, temporary dipoles are constantly being created. 

If molecules with temporary dipoles get close enough to other molecules, they can create temporary dipoles in those molecules too. These are known as ‘induced dipoles’. In order for this to occur though, the molecules have to be very close together, no more than a few angstroms. An angstrom is a unit of measurement equal to 0.00000001cm. This is why glue being wet is important - so it can spread and flow to ensure this close contact. So, molecules in the adhesive can induce temporary dipoles in the molecules of the surface it is sticking to, increasing the strength of mechanical bonding.

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This is as much as I’ve been able to dig up on the subject. If anyone has anything else to add, I’d be very interested to hear it!

References & Further Reading

neuromorphogenesis:

Brain’s production of new nerve cells may account for loss of early memory
Have you ever been told about an incident that happened when you were little that you cannot recall? Perhaps the time you had an unstoppable crying fit at the mall, ate your first piece of pizza or hit your head on the coffee table and had to get stitches?
This inability to remember specific events from the earliest years of our lives, called “infantile amnesia" by Sigmund Freud over a century ago, happens to us all. Now researchers have found what could be causing it: the birth of additional neurons – nerve cells – in the brain.
"Previously, people would argue that neurons only help make new memories," said neurobiologist and study author Paul Frankland of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. “But as you’re adding neurons, you’re also wiping away older memories.”
Fresh neurons form rapidly after birth and into childhood, but the process slows to a crawl once we reach adulthood. Frankland and his colleagues discovered in experiments with mice that by accelerating the production of new cells in the hippocampus – an area of the brain crucial for memory formation – they induced higher levels of forgetting.
They speculate from their findings that the abundant birth of neurons during our early years could explain the mysterious amnesia we experience in relation to childhood memories. The study was published online in the journal Science.
But psychologist Justin Rhodes of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is hesitant to believe that the link between new neurons and lost memories is that simple. “I’m still a little sceptical,” said Rhodes, who was not involved in the study. “Neurogenesis is a field where there’s a lot of controversy, and we don’t know exactly what these new neurons are doing.”
Both adult mice and pups – equivalent to infants in human years – initially learned to fear a certain room by associating it with mild foot shocks. After the animals had spent time back in their cages, Frankland and his colleagues returned them to the room; if they remembered it as being a bad place, the rodents froze. While the adults recognised the scary room up to four weeks later, the majority of pups froze during testing only within a day of the bad experience. After two weeks, almost no pups could remember the room as a bad place.
In the next experiment, two groups of adult mice were taught to fear the same room. Then the researchers induced the birth of new neurons, called neurogenesis, by giving one cohort access to a running wheel. (Exercise promotes neurogenesis.) When compared with sedentary mice without wheel access, the runners more easily forgot their fears. The incorporation of new cells seemed to alter the connections between existing neurons.
The reverse held true when suppressing neuron growth in pups. When their neurogenesis was reduced by the use of a common chemotherapy drug, the young mice were better able to recall their fears.
Last, the team tested two other types of rodents – guinea pigs and degus. They differ from mice in that much of their neurogenesis happens while still in the womb, so they do not experience infantile amnesia. But after neurogenesis was induced in the pups of both species, they could no longer remember as well.
Adults generally fail to recall anything before age three, and any memories from earlier than age seven tend to be fuzzy – although children are clearly capable of making memories. But somehow, these experiences are wiped away quickly.
Frankland and his wife, neuroscientist and study author Sheena Josselyn, have observed the fragile, fleeting memory of children in their own five-year-old daughter. When she was two or three, they would quiz her about, say, past trips to the zoo or to her grandmother’s house. If they asked within a day or two, she was able to recall the experiences.
"It’s clear she can make these memories and tell us details about the trips," he said. "But within a couple of months, if we ask about the zoo, it’s, ‘We didn’t go to the zoo. I don’t remember that.’"
A study of 140 children revealed a similar phenomenon. The subjects were asked to describe three earliest memories, with their parents confirming the details. When interviewed again after two years, the children who were initially between four and seven years old spoke about completely different events during the follow-up, even after being given hints.
Meanwhile, older children (10-13 years old) were more likely to recall their stories.
Many studies have found that reducing neurogenesis in mice will impair their ability to learn. Frankland and his colleagues flipped this idea in their experiment, wanting to see how changing levels of neurogenesis affected a memory already in storage.
The idea of neurogenesis dislodging old memories could explain forgetting in adulthood as well, since neural stem cells in the hippocampus remain active throughout life. However, the rate of growth slows considerably, so other mechanisms are likely to be at work.
Memory comes in many forms – automatic procedural memories, such as riding a bike, or the short-term storage of working memory – and forgetting could be the same.
One theory in psychology, called interference, states that memories too similar in nature compete and create distortions in recollection. For instance, confusing new and old telephone numbers, or having a fuzzier memory of Ocean’s Eleven as a result of watching the two sequels.
Although inconvenient, forgetting does seem to be beneficial. Frankland believes the memory-storage capacity of the hippocampus can reach a saturation point – and then it’s time to clean house.
"We know much of what we experience is wiped away," he said. "But the formation of new memories is facilitated by clearing away the clutter, if you like."
However, Rhodes argues that the hippocampus is typically known as a structure of temporary storage that integrates incoming information for tucking away into long-term storage but does not act as the data bank itself. “It helps process and form new memories,” he said. “But those memories are solidified in separate parts of the brain.”
Thus, he believes new neurons in the hippocampus are unlikely to disrupt old memory circuits.

neuromorphogenesis:

Brain’s production of new nerve cells may account for loss of early memory

Have you ever been told about an incident that happened when you were little that you cannot recall? Perhaps the time you had an unstoppable crying fit at the mall, ate your first piece of pizza or hit your head on the coffee table and had to get stitches?

This inability to remember specific events from the earliest years of our lives, called “infantile amnesia" by Sigmund Freud over a century ago, happens to us all. Now researchers have found what could be causing it: the birth of additional neurons – nerve cells – in the brain.

"Previously, people would argue that neurons only help make new memories," said neurobiologist and study author Paul Frankland of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. “But as you’re adding neurons, you’re also wiping away older memories.”

Fresh neurons form rapidly after birth and into childhood, but the process slows to a crawl once we reach adulthood. Frankland and his colleagues discovered in experiments with mice that by accelerating the production of new cells in the hippocampus – an area of the brain crucial for memory formation – they induced higher levels of forgetting.

They speculate from their findings that the abundant birth of neurons during our early years could explain the mysterious amnesia we experience in relation to childhood memories. The study was published online in the journal Science.

But psychologist Justin Rhodes of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is hesitant to believe that the link between new neurons and lost memories is that simple. “I’m still a little sceptical,” said Rhodes, who was not involved in the study. “Neurogenesis is a field where there’s a lot of controversy, and we don’t know exactly what these new neurons are doing.”

Both adult mice and pups – equivalent to infants in human years – initially learned to fear a certain room by associating it with mild foot shocks. After the animals had spent time back in their cages, Frankland and his colleagues returned them to the room; if they remembered it as being a bad place, the rodents froze. While the adults recognised the scary room up to four weeks later, the majority of pups froze during testing only within a day of the bad experience. After two weeks, almost no pups could remember the room as a bad place.

In the next experiment, two groups of adult mice were taught to fear the same room. Then the researchers induced the birth of new neurons, called neurogenesis, by giving one cohort access to a running wheel. (Exercise promotes neurogenesis.) When compared with sedentary mice without wheel access, the runners more easily forgot their fears. The incorporation of new cells seemed to alter the connections between existing neurons.

The reverse held true when suppressing neuron growth in pups. When their neurogenesis was reduced by the use of a common chemotherapy drug, the young mice were better able to recall their fears.

Last, the team tested two other types of rodents – guinea pigs and degus. They differ from mice in that much of their neurogenesis happens while still in the womb, so they do not experience infantile amnesia. But after neurogenesis was induced in the pups of both species, they could no longer remember as well.

Adults generally fail to recall anything before age three, and any memories from earlier than age seven tend to be fuzzy – although children are clearly capable of making memories. But somehow, these experiences are wiped away quickly.

Frankland and his wife, neuroscientist and study author Sheena Josselyn, have observed the fragile, fleeting memory of children in their own five-year-old daughter. When she was two or three, they would quiz her about, say, past trips to the zoo or to her grandmother’s house. If they asked within a day or two, she was able to recall the experiences.

"It’s clear she can make these memories and tell us details about the trips," he said. "But within a couple of months, if we ask about the zoo, it’s, ‘We didn’t go to the zoo. I don’t remember that.’"

A study of 140 children revealed a similar phenomenon. The subjects were asked to describe three earliest memories, with their parents confirming the details. When interviewed again after two years, the children who were initially between four and seven years old spoke about completely different events during the follow-up, even after being given hints.

Meanwhile, older children (10-13 years old) were more likely to recall their stories.

Many studies have found that reducing neurogenesis in mice will impair their ability to learn. Frankland and his colleagues flipped this idea in their experiment, wanting to see how changing levels of neurogenesis affected a memory already in storage.

The idea of neurogenesis dislodging old memories could explain forgetting in adulthood as well, since neural stem cells in the hippocampus remain active throughout life. However, the rate of growth slows considerably, so other mechanisms are likely to be at work.

Memory comes in many forms – automatic procedural memories, such as riding a bike, or the short-term storage of working memory – and forgetting could be the same.

One theory in psychology, called interference, states that memories too similar in nature compete and create distortions in recollection. For instance, confusing new and old telephone numbers, or having a fuzzier memory of Ocean’s Eleven as a result of watching the two sequels.

Although inconvenient, forgetting does seem to be beneficial. Frankland believes the memory-storage capacity of the hippocampus can reach a saturation point – and then it’s time to clean house.

"We know much of what we experience is wiped away," he said. "But the formation of new memories is facilitated by clearing away the clutter, if you like."

However, Rhodes argues that the hippocampus is typically known as a structure of temporary storage that integrates incoming information for tucking away into long-term storage but does not act as the data bank itself. “It helps process and form new memories,” he said. “But those memories are solidified in separate parts of the brain.”

Thus, he believes new neurons in the hippocampus are unlikely to disrupt old memory circuits.

asapscience:

Science is not always as glamorous as it seems…

via Twisted Doodles, Neurons Want Food

(via molecularlifesciences)