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Ci Newsletter #8: Deuterium, chemistrees, and the best moustache in chemistry history

Andy @ Compound Interest
Andy @ Compound Interest
In the penultimate newsletter of 2021, we highlight the anniversary of deuterium’s discovery, some garden indicator chemistry you can try at home, and the best moustache in chemistry history. There’s also a chemistree competition to get involved in if you’ve got suitable materials to hand!

90 years of deuterium
It’s 90 years since deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen, was discovered. In the latest edition of Periodic Graphics in C&EN, we looked at how it differs from hydrogen, and some of the ways in which it’s used, from climate science to prototype fusion reactors. The graphic and PDF download are available on the C&EN site here.
Click to view on the C&EN site
Click to view on the C&EN site
Garden indicators: a how-to guide
It might not be the right time of year for making garden pH indicators (in the northern hemisphere, at least), but there’s no harm in being prepared when your garden does start blooming again. So here’s a useful review of the different extraction methods you can use to make them at home, as well as the crowd-sourced ‘garden indicators’ spreadsheet to give you an idea of what flowers to try out!
On a related note, it’s National Poinsettia Day on 12 December, so here’s a graphic from the ChemAdvent series which looks at the chemical changes responsible for a poinsettia extract’s differing colours at different pH values:
The best moustache in chemistry history
Movember is now over for another year, but just before it finished I decided we needed to definitively decide who has the best moustache in chemistry history. So, I arbitrarily narrowed the field down to 16 contenders, and let #ChemTwitter do the rest with the voting.
I have to say, I was convinced that the little-known Nikolay Zinin had this sone nailed down. But in the end it was French biochemist Louis Camille Maillard, best known for his discovery of the Maillard reaction, who took away the (coveted?) title of best moustache in chemistry history. Eduard Buchner and Zinin made up the rest of the top three.
Might do beards next year.
Chemistree competition
For the past few years, John O'Donoghue has run an online ‘Chemistree’ competition, encouraging chemists and chemistry enthusiasts from across the world to share their chemistry-themed creations. This year’s competition is already up and running, and I’ve already have a number of great-looking entries shared with me on Twitter. Entries close on 17th December, so get decorating!
@ChemistryAtYork's Chemistree
@ChemistryAtYork's Chemistree
@JJT_chem's Chemistree
@JJT_chem's Chemistree
Chemistry news and features
It’s been a busy couple of weeks, so just the one article to highlight this fortnight…
Genetically modified E. Coli used to make paracetamol
As always, feel free to ping an email back with any comments or suggestions. Keep an eye out for the final newsletter of the year in two weeks’ time!
Thanks for reading,
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Andy @ Compound Interest
Andy @ Compound Interest @compoundchem

Topical chemistry graphics and other interesting chemistry-related nuggets from across the web. Sent fortnightly.

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