Taking Stock of Bonds

Every fall semester, nearly a thousand bright-eyed freshmen take their seats for Chemistry 111, and told that throughout the course they will learn the story of the electron. It makes for a great cohesive semester (though famously challenging for the students), as the professors move through electron properties, atomic structure, and molecular orbitals to arrive at […]

“The Sagan/Tyson Problem”

I like to play a game whenever meeting someone new. I try and guess what the reaction will be when it’s discovered I am a chemist. The most common response is a look of terror and disgust, and the inevitable, “Oh I hated chemistry in high school!” The other most likely alternative is: “Does that mean […]

Chemistry’s Sweet Side

As Halloween approaches it seems like an appropriate time to have some fun and celebrate confectionery chemistry. We rarely think about chemical concepts when indulging a sweet tooth, but as chemistry is in everything, it’s time to explore our favorite treats in depth: Marshmallows: These squishy goods are produced by mixing gelatin, egg white, corn syrup, […]