December 19, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Cyclohexane

Today’s molecule, cyclohexane, was responsible for the second largest peacetime explosion in British history. Cyclohexane, as the name suggests, consists of six carbons in a ring, with their associated hydrogens, and nothing else. It isn’t interesting primarily for its reactions, but for its shape. Cyclohexane,...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 19

The Master of Flemalle (identificed as Robert Campin) Virgin and Child in an Interior c. 1435 22.5 x 15.4 cm Click here and then click once on the image for a close-up. It’s very worthwhile 😀 Earlier this month, I posted Robert Campin’s Virgin and...

December 18, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Cubane

This is cubane, so named because it’s an alkane and, well, it’s cubic. It doesn’t actually occur in nature. It’s a purely synthetic molecule, and if I were to guess I’d say that it was invented, not because of its possible uses, but because it’s...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 18

The Virgin and Child, from the Diptych of Maarten van Nieuwenhove 1487 Hans Memling And here’s the whole diptych: This is one of my favourite late fifteenth-century images. Maarten van Nieuwenhove is shown in his own home, or an artistic reimagining of his home. His...

December 17, 2012

Advent Roller Derby: Bout reporting

The roller derby media is still in its youth but, as with the majority of the community, it’s all about the DIY ethos. Here in the UK, there’s two roller derby magazines, Lead Jammer and Inside Line – both editors are skaters, and the majority...

Advent Chemistry: Hydrogen Fluoride

Speaking of things that are very good at what they do, let’s take a gander at hydrogen fluoride. This one doesn’t need a picture, because it’s just H-F, one hydrogen and one fluorine. (I have a terrible habit of spelling it flourine, but it is...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 17

The Adoration of the Magi Late 1480s Gerard David This illumination is from the Breviary of Isabella of Castile (Add. MS 18851, f. 41). Gerard David, like most painters of his time, worked on panel paintings, illuminations, and just about everything else that could be...

December 16, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Superglue

Superglue is marvellous. It sticks a lot of things to a lot of things. It’s not the best adhesive there is – it’s possible to drive four hundred miles with an engine held together by Araldite, for instance, which I doubt is possible with superglue...

Advent Art History: Naked Baby Jesus Advent Calendar – December 16

The Adoration, with the Infant Baptist and St. Bernard. Fra Filippo Lippi c.1459. Tempera on panel. We’ve seen a few works by artists who were trained by Filippo Lippi already this month, so I thought that I would show you one of my favourite works...

December 15, 2012

Advent Chemistry: Teflon

Well, we’ve done a couple of entries on medicines, so let’s go back to some more fundamental chemistry and look at a polymer. This here is a section of polytetrafluoroethylene, or Teflon as it’s better known. It’s a fairly ordinary polymer in chemical terms, except...