Picks

ChemEd X contributors and staff members are continually coming across items of interest that they feel others may wish to know about. Picks include, but need not be limited to, books, magazines, journals, articles, apps—most anything that has a link to it can qualify.

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by Hal Harris
Fri, 06/01/2007 - 01:00

What were personal qualities of the greatest scientist of the twentieth century that differentiated him from his contemporaries? I have read a lot of books about Albert Einstein, who was one of my childhood heroes (along with the Lone Ranger).

Recent activity: 3 months 1 week ago
by Hal Harris
Wed, 05/02/2007 - 02:00

The first of this series of books by Edward Tufte, "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information" was the one that, in my opinion, would be of most practical use to the average scientist. That was six volumes and twenty four years ago. I would recommend the most recent one, "Beautiful Information", as a logical continuation.

Recent activity: 3 months 5 days ago
by Hal Harris
Tue, 05/01/2007 - 01:00

The folly of spending more per liter to buy water than gasoline has been mentioned in Hal's Picks previously (July 2003). That article, by Michael Schermer, emphasized the waste of money that this boondoggle constitutes. In the New York Times magazine this week is another argument against the practice, and that is its impact on the environment.

Recent activity: 3 months 1 week ago
by Hal Harris
Sun, 04/01/2007 - 01:00

One of my picks last year was the frontal attack of an atheist scientist on religion. It was Richard Dawkins' popular "The God Delusion". This month, my choice is a respectful and conciliatory appeal by entomologist E. O. Wilson for common cause between religion and science in the preservation of what is left of Eden.

Recent activity: 3 months 1 week ago
by Hal Harris
Thu, 03/01/2007 - 00:00

The currently accepted formal definition of a mole is the number of carbon-12 atoms in exactly 12 grams of the pure substace. This is not a good operational definition, however, because it takes too long to find, purify, and count all those atoms. The best experimental value is based on x-ray diffraction experiments on silicon crystals and puts the number within 0.0000010 of 6.0221415 x 10^23.

Recent activity: 2 months 4 weeks ago
by Hal Harris
Thu, 02/01/2007 - 00:00

Neil Downie runs a Saturday science program for kids in Guildford, UK, that appears to be the most fun that anybody could have. This book is the third in a series that describes projects that he has invented for kids to build and investigate (often with the help of an adult).

Recent activity: 3 months 5 days ago
by Hal Harris
Mon, 01/01/2007 - 00:00

One might expect that an especially memorable chess match would have been a world championship game, or at least a tournament competition. However, one of the most famous matches ever played was an exhibition that had no significance for any competition.

Recent activity: 3 months 1 week ago
by Hal Harris
Fri, 12/01/2006 - 00:00

Unless you teach in a religiously-sponsored school, religion probably plays little role in your teaching of science. However, the "prior knowledge" of your students includes some decidedly non-scientific, religion-inspired viewpoints that ought to be taken into account.

Recent activity: 3 months 1 week ago
by Hal Harris
Thu, 11/02/2006 - 01:00

If you've been reading Hal's Picks for a long time, you might remember something about this rock, ALH84001, because the publication in Science of the paper that announced evidence in a meteorite that life had once existed on Mars was my Pick back in August of 1996. The article was controversial, as you might expect.

Recent activity: 3 months 5 days ago
by Hal Harris
Wed, 11/01/2006 - 00:00

You may remember Elizabeth Kolbert as author of the extensive New Yorker series on climate change that was Hal's Pick in May of 2005. She also wrote about the ways in which ice core samples disclose the history of the atmosphere; that article was Hal's Pick in January of 2002.

Recent activity: 3 months 1 week ago