Virtual Chemistry brings the topic to animated, full-color¿and fun¿life: by clicking on images of various bottles in each set of inquiry, you can choose your own experiments to run¿and then watch a short movie of the test and its results. Among the links are an online encyclopedia of chemistry (which is updated periodically), several tutorials and close-ups of a different molecule each month.
From the active ingredients in chili peppers to artificial sweeteners, this site features a different chemical compound each month, complete with short descriptions and models. The selections are far from the dull, brown-bottle lab standards you may remember from high school. Browsing the list back to 1996, you'll find frankincense, sarin, zyban, LSD, taxol and many other noteworthy molecules.
Click on an element in this interactive Periodic Table and a concise description of its properties appears, along with links for more info, such as its crystal structure or other properties. A helpful photograph accompanies most elements (room-temperature gases are not ignored¿an image of a beaker of frigid liquid oxygen appears, for instance) and more details are available in RealAudio shorts.
This modest little page of the Chemical & Engineering News Web site leads to short, nicely composed essays that explain the chemical composition and manufacture of everyday products and materials, including such critically important items as lipstick, Silly Putty and Cheez Whiz.
BARF, piano stool, windowpane, draculin: Who said chemistry is all work and no play? This entertaining compilation provides the names and background information about molecules and materials that have amusing, ridiculous, even (be warned!) vaguely offensive monikers.
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