Benzene: The Dream of Kekule:

Continuing the subject of dreams, it is pertinent to mention that lucid dreams had helped many to make great discoveries and inventions. Since my subject is chemistry, I will touch upon one such famous dream which laid the foundation for understanding the structure and chemistry of  aromatic compounds. As every one versed with chemistry knows, the benzene is the starting compound of aromatic compounds. Its structure was derived by Kukule’. His full name was Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz. Benzene was analyzed to have 6 carbon and 6 hydrogen atoms. Existing formula of all the organic compounds did not fit… Read More »Benzene: The Dream of Kekule:

Antoine Laurent Lavoisier: Father of Modern Chemistry

Antoine Lavoisier, son of a wealthy lawyer,  was a social climber, tax collector and widely held to be the founder of modern chemistry. He was born in 1743 and was put to guillotine in 1794 on the charges of selling the adulterated tobacco which was a luxury and was very costly. It came from colonies in South America established by Europeans and employed black people as captives. He discovered oxygen gas and named it so. Joseph Priestly, English scientist had also discovered this gas but named it “dephlogisticated air“. Both knew that the gas was closely associated with combustion in… Read More »Antoine Laurent Lavoisier: Father of Modern Chemistry

Tri-Phenyl Methyl: The Radical which can be bottled

Most of the reactions in the organic chemistry there is short lived formation of radicals or carbonium ions. They are the highly reactive. Element Carbon, the element around which the whole branch of organic chemistry revolves, has 4 valency and thus forms 4 single covalent bonds. It has got 4 unpaired electrons in the sp3 configuration which means that 4 equivalent hybrid orbitals are formed by combination of 1s and three 3p orbitals in the second shell. During many reactions, one unpaired electrons remains when 1 atom attached to carbon is ripped off. This is of the form R3C where… Read More »Tri-Phenyl Methyl: The Radical which can be bottled

Putting the Elements in their Proper Places

Elements are entities of the matter which have different chemical and physical properties. Almost all the elements exist in the form of compounds in which different elements are joined in definite ratios and this ratio is always constant. Water is made up of 2 atoms of hydrogen element and 1 element of oxygen. No matter from where you collect the water, it shall have the same composition. But notwithstanding the differences, they form groups which are like the siblings. They are similar and dissimilar at the same time meaning that they follow a progression of physical and chemical properties. For… Read More »Putting the Elements in their Proper Places

Achievements of a wandering mind

Many a times you must have experienced in your life that you cannot recall a certain incident, name of a person or a book or author although at other times you remembered it so well. In those circumstances, the harder you try to recall more it eludes you. It is not the case of poor memory or age as it happens with everyone at one time or another. You leave it frustrated and become busy in some other work and in a flash the things will come to your mind. The same has happened to many great scientists and authors.… Read More »Achievements of a wandering mind

Exceptional Brains

Human beings are endowed with power of thinking. All this is possible due to highly evolved brain. But some of us humans are exceptional. Do they see visions? They can predict the events of future. Following are such incidences from the science field. Sir P. A. M. Dirac Sir P.A.M Dirac is considered as the greatest theoretical physicist in Britain after Newton. A stern father made him the man of few words. But this trait turned on an intense internal energy. This energy manifested in the form of beautiful equations when he married Einstein’s relativity with quantum mechanism. On the… Read More »Exceptional Brains

Why lobsters and Crabs turn red on cooking……..

Popular Food Lobsters and Crabs are the two Sea foods are mouthwatering and popular all over the world. So much so that fairs are held to celebrate the lobster.  One such festival is held in Rockland, Maine which is attended by thousands. Cooking Chemistry When cooked these creatures turn coppery red. Although it is not necessary to become a chemist to become chefs but cooking is a science where chemistry takes place at each step. Some chemicals break down to get converted into edible and easily digestible form. Similarly in many foods there are color changes when cooked which is… Read More »Why lobsters and Crabs turn red on cooking……..

Nobel Prizes: USA far ahead in tally

There is no doubt that USA laps up the talent from all over the world. US leads the tally of Nobel prize winners which were introduced in 1901 and Economics prize introduced in 1968. Since then 585 Nobel prizes have been awarded to 922 winners out of which only 49 are women. Youngest and oldest Youngest person to receive the Nobel is Malala Yousafzai who received it at the age of 17 years in 2014. Although she belongs to Pakistan, her country may hardly be happy over her winning it. Oldest Nobel laureate is Leonid Hurwicz of US who received… Read More »Nobel Prizes: USA far ahead in tally

A Soccer Ball and C60 Molecule

Carbon, a small atom with atomic weight of 12 amu and atomic number of 6, is the element on which the life on this planet is based. Carbon atom forms 4 single electron bonds of sp3 configuration and hence can combine with 4 different atoms including carbon atoms. Thus it can form giant or macromolecules often found in nature. Some examples are carbohydrates, hydrocarbons, proteins, lipids and so on. Carbon as such exists in two allotropic forms namely diamond and graphite with very different physical properties. While diamond is the hardest material and inert towards chemicals, graphite is active, chemically… Read More »A Soccer Ball and C60 Molecule

Cyclohexane: A Chemical Chair

Cyclohexane belongs to the category of hydrocarbons called naphthenes. It has a chemical formula of C6H12. Naphthenes are found in crude oil. Most abundant are mono ring compounds of which cyclohexane is the perfect example. In fact, the poly ring naphthenes are found in the high boiling fractions of naphtha and the name seems to have been derived from naphtha. The term Naphthene has become almost redundant except in petroleum industry.The other fractions present in the crude oil are paraffins which are long chain alkanes  with formula CnH2n+1. For example, when n=6, then we have hexane with formula C6H14. High… Read More »Cyclohexane: A Chemical Chair