Concocting a Crystalline Layer
By: Bethany Halford, C&EN Northeast News Bureau
Jan. 24, 2011

This post is about a 33 year-old man named Roger Hiorn who uses blue copper sulfate crystals in many of his art works. Regarding this particular project, he brilliantly covers a whole apartment with the unique compound. Hiorn and his team had to reinforce the ceilings and walls and place plastic sheeting on the floor to make sure everything would stay clean and in place. They pumped about 23,775 gallons of the supersaturated copper sulfate solution into the apartment. It was through a hole from the above apartment that the sulfate was pumped through. Hiorn has chosen this peculiar, but artistic path because he believes the sulfate crystals give a natural phenomenon and a hand in creating the beautiful artwork. He says, “The wonderful nature of chemistry is that everything is very rigorous and everybody is focused on how things really work. That’s how the science of it is.” I admire Hiorn’s creativity and I believe that if more students thought of science as a creative study of finding information about the world, then many more people would be more interested in science. Although Hiorn believes that the project wasn’t very scientific, he is still very proud of his unique creation and I hope that it makes people think twice about chemistry so they can see how creative and interesting in can be.

-Kelechi Anyatonwu

Nice piece of writing! You really summarized this article well! 5 huge stars. MW

Redefining The Kilogram
By: Stephen K. Ritter, C&EN Washington
Feb. 8, 2011

This article was very informative and i learned a lot of new things. The first idea that I found very interesting was that the official kilogram is stored in a vault along with six other copies in the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, which is near Paris. I learned that there are, in total, 90 calibrated copies platinum-iridium copies of this very significant object in the world today. I think its a very good thing to have so that we can always be sure that our measurements are correct. The second idea that i found interesting was that Avogadro's constant is defined as exactly the number of atoms in 12g of 13C. The article states that if the current measure value is rounded to a number divisible by 12, it would become 6.0221418 x ten to the eighth, then the kilogram would be equal to the mass of a certain number of atoms. I found this so amazing because the exact value can be found in a somewhat simple, but complicated way. The third idea that i found interesting was that a committee has to decided which method they are going to choose before the indefinite wait of the kilogram shifts again. They have a very difficult decision to make because both proposals are excellent. Hopefully they make the right one and everything gets back to order.

Way to go! Once again a nicely written post! 5 stars! MW

Motion Detectors
By: Bob Becker
February 28, 2011

I actually really enjoyed this article. It was very fun to read. The first thing that i thought was exceptionally interesting was the fact that some motion detectors us sensors to monitor all infrared radiation (IR). I learned that humans, who are warm-blooded, therefore, warm objects, give off infrared radiation. I didn't know that humans did that. The second idea that i thought was interesting was that different materials, or semiconductors, have different threshold, therefore, sensors can be made for just about any type of light. I thought this was interesting because that means you can make motion detectors for just about any situation. The third idea that I thought was interesting was that even though just about any type of light can be used for motion detectors, high-intensity, low frequency lights such as a strong red light, cannot cause electrons to be ejected. However, low-intensity, high frequency lights can cause them to be ejected. It was interesting because it didn't agree with classical physics, but Albert Einstein new how to explain it. This was a great way to incorporate fun and learning into physics and chemistry.

Glad you enjoyed the article and found it very informative! Great post! 5 stars. MW