Chemistry Blog



May 07

A Few of My Favorite (Chemistry) Things

by azmanam | Categories: fun | (130148 Views)

To carry on with Chemjobber’s Favorite Things list (thanks, btw.  Now I can’t get that silly Dove commercial out of my head), here’s my list of some of my favorite things about chemistry

  1. Clickable Sharpies
  2. Vanillin TLC stain
  3. Pericyclic reactions
  4. Dump-and-Stir reactions
  5. A set of nested beakers (my set goes from 1000 mL down to 10 mL)
  6. Review articles
  7. PhD comics
  8. Short paths (with or without the cow receiver)
  9. Playing with liquid nitrogen
  10. Dry ice bowling (a lab Olympic event, where you roll a piece of dry ice down our long hallway to see whose goes the farthest)


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  1. Chemjobber

    Dry ice bowling — now there’s a new one.

    I swear I’m the world champion at 9-in pipet target tossing, but I could be wrong.

    1. mitch

      I don’t know… glass pipette juggling is my specialty.

      1. azmanam

        And our hallway is often obstacle laden. Half the hallway is actually in our lab and the other half outside the lab, so there’s a doorway you must get through, too… It’s quite intense.

        1. Chemjobber

          Do you have to roll it or slide it?

          1. azmanam

            You use a bowling throw motion. It’s not like curling where you start at ground level. It’s more like bowling where you start waste high and let it go in an underhand motion. Definitely not an overhand throw. It’s also not like a bean bag where the throw arcs either. We call it bowling not because we’re aiming at pins, but because the windup and release is identical to a bowling windup and release. I’m not quite sure the difference between rolling and sliding, but hopefully my description helps 🙂

            Next time you’re in the area, you’ll have to stop by and we’ll show you how it’s done 🙂

  2. chiraljones

    I’m a big fan of plastic solvent bottle curling. They slide so nice over tile flooring…

  3. azmanam

    Speaking of liquid nitrogen (Newscript’s list jogged this memory):

    We did a magic show for middle school kids a while back, and naturally we had the liquid nitrogen station. We’d freeze flowers and smash them. We’d freeze racquetballs and smash them (they’re really loud). We’d freeze balloons and watch them re-inflate.

    Then at the end, after showing them how cold it was, I’d ask them if they realllly thought it was that cold. Then I’d stick my finger in it (which of course gave them scared looks). But I’d say it wasn’t so bad, and I’d leave my finger in there a while. During which time, we recapped how we could freeze things then smash them. So I asked them if they thought my finger would freeze enough to be smashed… Then I took the hammer, pulled out my finger, and BEAT THE SNOT OUT OF MY FINGER WITH THE HAMMER!!1!eleven

    Then I would tell them that, it’s ok, I had a hot dog in the finger of my glove the whole time and that my finger was safe all along.

    The best part was, not everyone on the magic show team knew before hand, and their looks were more priceless than the kids’ looks 🙂

    1. David P

      Heh, thanks CJ!

        1. Chemjobber

          Can you (or your browser) read Dutch? If so, there’s a nice list here:

  4. Philip Badawol

    Hi azmanam,

    You’ve got to try this.Get your self a long magnesium strip,make you have brushed off the dark oxide with steel wool.When it’s PITCH BLACK during the night,tie one end to a tall tree and then light your end (ground level). Trust me it will be some show…

  5. sitzsack

    You can always use bean bags for this.

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