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Everything posted by hermanntrude

  1. yes i was considering luminol, although the courses are fairly basic. It might fit somewhere although i don't think they actually cover luminescence... it's fun anyway, but i am trying my best to demonstrations for reasons, rather than for fun. Not come across glycerol/KMnO4 before... redox, i suppose? flames or just spitting and smoke? I've heard of the jelly baby one before. I'll probably do that sometime but might have to be next year. I came into the position in the middle of term so some topics were already covered before i got my chance. I'm also going to do an oscillating reaction but we didn't have any malonic acid in the stores so i've ordered some. and some fresh H2O2 to make a better elephant toothpaste... Perhaps if i can buy a small enough quantity i'll get some potassium for next year's alkali metal demo.
  2. I am a new chemistry instructor at a college. I teach first year university transfer courses in chemistry and science. I've been developing a list of demonstrations to provide throughout the year. So far i've got elephant toothpaste (decomposition of H2O2 in presence of a catalyst and some dish detergent)-- requires a laboratory because of the mess nitrogen triiodide-explosive decomposition. good demonstration of exothermic reaction and unstable compound. Also requires a laboratory since it gives off a large cloud of iodine and a bang loud enough to leave your ears ringing barium hydroxide octahydrate and ammonium thiocyanate. Two solids mixed together create a lot of water which dissolves the other products of the reaction. Entropy driven and very endothermic. Requires a laboratory due to toxicity of barium hydroxide and the smell of the thiocyanate ammonium dichromate combustion. Good fun but already included in the labs part of the course. cobalt chloride equilibrium with complex ion. Also included in lab section of the course. good demo of le chatelier principle Can anyone list any more? they need to be fairly safe and demonstrate something that's covered at first year level. I'd be particularly interested in anything that could be done in a lecture theatre safely.
  3. sounds like an otter to me. where do you live? by a river or near the coast? wales, maybe, or scotland, somewhere rural? otters are on the increase, and although they're fairly reclusive this one may have just been going crazy, perhaps it had been hit by a car or was guarding young ones or something
  4. looks to me like three or so small peices of a crystalline mineral, stuck together by bits of fibre, possibly belly-button fluff mixed with sweat (or some similar combination of fibre and goo). the lever-action you speak of is caused by the flexibility of the fibres which are glueing the crystalline parts together. Seriously, go do something useful. Don't get obsessed by this object. Go out and get some bits of sand and other minerals and examine them under microscopes and you'll see that a lot of stuff looks really freaky at high magnification. Just because you never saw it before doesn't mean its weird.
  5. coloured gases, nasty coloured smoke... possible. I'm not sure what they use to make the smoke trails they use in stunt planes but i suspect it's just particulate matter scattered widely with some colourant in it. Probably wouldn't even need to be hot. Try talcum powder with some food colouring.
  6. sounds like a great way to win a darwin award. Probably it's possible to do it without being killed. Probbly it's possible to do it ten thousand times without getting hurt. But there's always a risk, whereas with helium, very little risk.
  7. what was your trouble with silicone? I thought that was gas permeable...
  8. Dr P: dude i think i know you! your wife's name begins with an H
  9. yes. I worked with a fellow who was trying to make photovoltaic stuff. he belived that it was possible that one day we'd have transparent (visibly transparent, anyway) PV cells in our windows. they'd absorb UV light and generate electricity from that
  10. My PhD was in nanomaterials, and it went to show for the first time that a molecule could act as an electrical rectifier. I think nanotechnology is great however, there are bandwagons, and people will jump on them The trouble with nanotech at the current time is that it makes so much money and interest that everyone and his wife is interested in studying it. Which means there's a ton of crappy research going on and only a few genuine diamonds shining amongst the rough.
  11. a word of advice about PhDs: If you don't absolutely LOVE your subject and want to do it despite the odds, don't get a PhD. It's hard work, depressing at times, INCREDIBLY expensive, and when you're finished you'll probably end up doing postdoctoral training which is VERY badly paid, under-rated and comes with a big load of disrespect from your seniors. After that you have three options: 1)you can get a job in industry if you're lucky, but a lot of industries won't take a PhD cos they cost too much, and they could geta fresh graduate and train them up for less 2) you can become an academic, work your way up to get tenure and be a famous professor, except of course that this means doing two jobs, neither of which is actually doing any chemistry at all, and you don't get nearly enough pay for it 3) you can become a teacher, which is great, but you would have been better off studying chemistry and an education degree, which would have taken less time and cost less IMO, taking a PhD is very valuable but only if you're dedicated to chemistry or you want to become a professor
  12. hello all My name's Hermann. I'm a PhD in nanomaterials, recently finished postdoc-ing in canada and the UK, and i've got myself a permanant job in newfoundland (canada), working as a chemistry instructor. I've started developing a bunch of demonstrations for my students and ran across this forum during my searches on the oscillating reactions, which I don't have any malonic acid for :0( I might try it with citric acid....
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