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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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".
As soon as I heard about "Consilience", I figured it would likely be a "Pick of the Month", but I delayed buying it until it became available as a paperback through a book club (I buy just about all the books that appear in this column). This, the most recent book by the renowned Harvard entomologist E. O. Wilson, was worth waiting for.
A year ago, a book entitled "The End of Science" by John Horgan claimed that there was nothing of significance left for science to uncover. It was not a "Hal's Pick" because I thought it was seriously mistaken, echoing the smug predictions of a century ago, just before the revolutions of quantum mechanics and relativity blew the lid off of classical science.