View profile

The Ci Newsletter #3: Autumn colours and dodgy ozone equations

Andy @ Compound Interest
Andy @ Compound Interest
Hi again, everyone, and welcome to the third edition of the Compound Interest Newsletter! This issue features some seasonal chemistry (for those of you in the northern hemisphere) of autumn colours, me embarrassing myself with ozone depletion equations, and a graphic that panders to my two-year-old’s love of Play-Doh. And there’s the usual assortment of other chemistry stories from the past two weeks, too!

National Fall Foliage Week
Click to view the graphic on the Ci site
Click to view the graphic on the Ci site
With the arrival of autumn, and the fact that it’s National Fall Foliage week in the U.S., it’s a good time to dredge up one of the most popular past graphics on the site: the chemistry of the colours of autumn leaves. For more leaf-related chemistry, there’s also this graphic on the genuine chemical reason for the classic ‘leaves on the line’ train delays.
Ozone depletion: The wrong equations!
16th September was the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, marking the date on which the Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987. I tweeted this thread to highlight some of the chemistry:
Compound Interest
Today is the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, marking the date on which the Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987. The protocol phased out substances that caused ozone depletion, including CFCs #OzoneDay https://t.co/MuuSL7zXQt
Those of you familiar with your ozone depletion equations will have noticed that the reaction scheme depicted in the graphic is, in fact, incorrect (hastily corrected version here). This was all the more embarrassing because I’ve often grumbled about the fact that the incorrect reaction scheme is often seen in UK A Level textbooks, and even accepted by some exam boards.
The second reaction shown here? Doesn't happen!
The second reaction shown here? Doesn't happen!
This is far from the only instance of something being simplified for A Level, of course, but I do wonder if it’s only example of a plain wrong equation being featured? If we’re going to get even pickier, even the correct equations aren’t those for the dominant ozone destruction cycle in polar regions! Anyway, long story short, there’s definitely a more detailed graphic on this to come in the future…
Why is the UK adding folic acid to flour?
Click to view the graphic on the Ci site
Click to view the graphic on the Ci site
Last week, the UK confirmed plans to add folic acid to non-wholemeal flour, so I put together this graphic to explain why. It’s interesting that, despite the documented health benefits of fortifying flour with folic acid, it’s a practice carried out by remarkably few European countries: Moldova and Kosovo are the only others to do so. There’s further discussion in the article accompanying the graphic.
What's Play-Doh made of?
Click to view the graphic on the C&EN site
Click to view the graphic on the C&EN site
Play-Doh is 65 years old this year. Having a two-year-old who loves the stuff was part of the inspiration for looking into its composition in a little more detail, though for some reason he just wanders off whenever I try to explain retrogradation inhibitors to him.
This month’s edition of Periodic Graphics in C&EN comes a bit late for National Play-Doh Day (16th September if you want to get that in your diary for next year) but delves into the various materials that make Play-Doh act the way it does.
More Women in Chemistry cards
Click to view the full set of cards on the Ci site
Click to view the full set of cards on the Ci site
I’ve been making these Women in Chemistry cards since earlier in the year, where I made an initial 100 to mark International Women’s Day back in March. Other projects have slowed me down on adding to it since, but there are now 140 available on the website – and I’m aiming to reach 200 before next year’s International Women’s Day rolls around!
Ada Lovelace Day, highlighting the achievements of women in STEM, is coming up on 12th October, so these could be a useful resource to highlight the range of women in chemistry and their varied roles.
...and finally:
Heavy metal ants: Ants reinforce their teeth with zinc atoms
CO₂ shortage: why a chemical problem could mean more empty shelves
The name’s bond, chemical bond
Next issue will have graphics on the upcoming Nobel Prizes (previous years’ graphics here) and more. If there’s anything else you’d like to see, hit the reply button and let me know!
Thanks for reading,
Andy
Did you enjoy this issue? Yes No
Andy @ Compound Interest
Andy @ Compound Interest @compoundchem

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

In order to unsubscribe, click here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Created with Revue by Twitter.