The Periodic Table of Elements, that bland grid of atomic numbers Scotch-taped to the wall of every Chem 101 lab since time immemorial (or, technically, since its first incarnation in 1789, as the site¿s comprehensive timeline informs us) is treated to a major makeover when Glaswegian artist Murray Robertson gets his mitts on the old broadsheet. Using etymological roots, mythological origins, modern associations and sheer whimsy, Robertson and the rest of the "109 project" team--so named for the number of traditionally recognized elements--has bridged the yawning gap between chemistry and fine arts by producing colorful, informative, and often beautiful icons to represent these historically rich metals and non-metals.
Virtual Museum of Minerals and Molecules
You'll have to download a free plug-in to get the full experience on this site, brought to you by the University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin's Minerals & Molecules Project, but it's well worth it. With it installed, you can wander the wings of this virtual museum and check out twistable, turnable 3D models of materials both ordinary (carbon) and exotic (valinomycin). In addition to the impressive images, which allow you to highlight specific atoms and compare a structure to its real-world crystallographic data, there's plenty of old-fashioned information, from how minerals got their names to how likely you are to come across them.
This site¿s subject matter may be small, but its goal is grand: "to enhance understanding of the beauty and complexity of matter at the molecular level and to improve awareness of the central role of molecular processes in underpinning life itself and the operation of the world around us." It doesn¿t disappoint. Richard Catlow, director of the Davy Faraday Research Laboratory at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and his collaborators have created an easily navigated, information-rich primer that guides readers gracefully through everything from atomic structure to molecule formation to molecular recognition (the interaction of molecules with one another). Elegant illustrations complete the package.
A Web-based chemistry magazine, Reactive Reports serves up engaging news stories penned by science writer David Bradley (current coverage includes items on using catnip to combat termites, and the development of an environmentally-friendly car tire). RR also chooses and links to favorite sites (the "Chemist¿s Art Gallery," for one), publishes original papers from its parent organization, Toronto¿s Advanced Chemistry Development Labs, and provides email notification each time the site is updated. Use the site¿s very fine search engine or consult the extensive archive if what you seek is not readily available at the time of your visit.
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