(Periodic) New Year’s Resolutions

Certainly, I am not the only person who makes resolutions in the new year, only to break them in the bleak cold winter and have them pop up periodically throughout throughout spring, possibly summer, only to be completely forgotten in the fall. It is a trend that I have repeated for many years. This year will be no different, and yet it will be quite different. There will be trends, and periodicity in this year’s resolutions, but all of them will be intentional. (Ok, have I drained this ridiculous chemistry pun of what little humor it once had?)

This year, I’m making New Year’s resolutions in honor of 2019 being the International Year of the Periodic Table. I’ve been thinking about this event since it was announced early last year and have come up with a number of projects and activities that I’d like to complete. Usually, I keep my resolutions private, so that if (uhhh when) I break them, I can pretend they never existed. (If a resolution falls in the woods, and there’s no one there to hear my thoughts….) However, this year’s resolutions are more important than my fruitless desires to lose weight or kill off bad habits. I plan to better myself through chemistry (periodically). Ok, I’m done with that. Here’s my list of resolutions for 2019:

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Restoring the periodic table

I came across this video on the interweb; it’s an interesting overview of paper-restoration process applied to an historical periodic table from Germany. There is at least one error in the dialog; perhaps you can spot it?

The chemistry involved in restoring a print of the periodic table

There are some neat lesson-plan hooks in this video, if that’s your thing. What chemical property is the conservationist trying to adjust? What chemical(s) are used to do this? What two elements play an important role in paper restoration? Additionally, where do these elements appear on the (current) periodic table? Does that surprise you? Can you propose a chemical reaction that is happening during the restoration process?

My 2018 year in review

Happy New year. I’m sitting here in the early first hours of 2019 fretting over the 50+ MPH gusts of wind travelling through my village. I’ve always been bothered by windy days; however, I am a bit more attuned to the potentially damaging effects of nature on my belongings. You see, last year I became a home owner for the first time.

The wind has me thinking about how quickly 2018 flew by. It was one of those years where I didn’t have much time to think about what I was doing or accomplishing. Therefore, I thought it would be prudent to record some of the more memorable achievements of mine from 2019. It beats checking the status of some aging tree limbs in my front yard every five minutes.

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Getting Ready for #IYPT2019

The New Year is upon us, and it’s a year that I’ve been waiting for, since it is the 150th anniversary of Mendeleev’s discovery of the periodic properties of the elements. Discovery is probably not the right word here, since other scientists had not only organized the elements in tables but also recognized their periodic properties. That said, Mendeleev is typically credited with the discovery because of what he did with the table of elements: he predicted the properties of undiscovered elements.

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My first paper on 3D printing is published

Before leaving Chicago State University in 2017, I took a sabbatical to explore a very different avenue of research from which I was originally trained.  I became interested in learning how digital fabrication tools, such as 3D printing, can be used to create inexpensive or customized scientific instrumentation that could be used for education or specialized research applications.  Now at The College at Brockport, I’ve finally put together my first 3D printed scientific instrument, which was recently published in the journal HardwareX.  The article, OMIS: The Open Millifluidic Inquiry System for small scale chemical synthesis and analysis, is open access, which means that anyone can read and download the article by heading here.

I’d like to think that when people do something important (like publish an article) they get interviewed.  Unfortunately, it’s that time of the semester where students are so stressed out, the last thing they want to do is talk to professors about anything other than “what’s on the test.”  So, if I were to give an interview, here’s the questions I’d answer (and ask) about the paper.

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