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.
Many Picks can be purchased from Amazon. Using the Amazon links on those pages help to support ChemEd X.
In "The Sun in the Church", J. L. Heilbron describes the practical problem that faced the Church, in determining when Easter should be celebrated (the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox) and how it supported research to resolve that matter (and also the problem of a church year that didn't match the solar one) without quite conceding that the earth orbits the sun.
This year's exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History of artifacts from the 1915 scientific expedition to Antarctica led by Sir Ernest Shackleton has been accompanied by the publication of Caroline Alexander's book, which includes the documenting photographs of Frank Hurley (some of which could be seen on the Museum's Web site).
Physicist J. Richard Gott of Princeton published a provocative article in Nature back in 1993, that described a simple method for the estimation of the likely lifetime of "things" on the basis solely of the length of their existence to date.
One of the mysteries of life is why organisms on our planet uses L-amino acids exclusively, when their mirror images have the same chemical stability.
The reach of analytical chemistry is amazing even to chemists! Joseph Lambert, a Professor of analytical chemistry at Northwestern University describes in this fascinating book how chemistry is used to study stone, glass, pottery, organic materials, metals, and human remains.
Seymour Benzer sounds like a biologist to whom I would enjoy talking about science. He came to his present research interests after a good start to a career in physics, and after avoiding biology courses at Brooklyn College because they were too much like natural history and with too little deductive science.
Jazz pianist Don Asher earned a baccalaureate degree in chemistry from Cornell University before finding a career in jazz and writing.
For most of us chemists, our knowledge of the universe is pretty good from the atomic level upward, but when students ask us (as they sometimes do) about what it is that holds the nucleus together, or what a "string" is, or about quarks, leptons, and any of the other particles that are not electrons, protons, or neutrons, we begin to mumble.
An excellent argument can be made, that G. N. Lewis is the most outstanding American scientist not to have won a Nobel Prize. In fact, the "American" adjective could be removed from that statement.
It is unusual to find responsible journalism about science, and especially commentary that contradicts the current negative view of chemistry in the popular culture. Malcomb Gladwell addresses the poor science that is the crux of the very popular John Travolta movie, "A Civil Action".