A shard of water

The scene from the balcony of my apartment in the third floor of the building is breathtaking. It harks me back to my childhood. The place where all these apartments have come up were fields earlier. There were rills with gurgling water running through the path which led us from our home into our land. Now this patch which is remaining reminds me of those times. There are fields in which the cattle graze when the land is fallow. In the rainy season, the cattle roll in the mud and after that go to bath in the pond of water.… Read More »A shard of water

Changes in Periodic Table of Chemicals….

We know that everything in the universe is made from the atoms. They are the basic building entities. Atoms are not solid entities but are made of dense nuclei surrounded by fuzzy cloud of electrons whizzing in the outer. Nucleus is made of protons and neutrons. Things don’t not end here. Nature is very complex. Even the atoms of same elements can have different number of neutrons making them have different weights. Such atoms are called isotopes. Atoms of same element or different elements can combine in umpteen ways resulting in diverse molecules and different substances from very simple molecules… Read More »Changes in Periodic Table of Chemicals….

Some snippets from childhood

I am 67 years old now and retired from the service 7 years ago. In the ample time at my disposal, the mind harks back and reel of memory rewinds on the spool of time and this time it stops at the days of my childhood. Our childhood was spent in the village called Manimajra. Nowadays it is in the Union territory of Chandigarh though at that time it was along with Chandigarh a part of Punjab. We were like most others in the village poor peasants with small landholdings. Parents were totally illiterate. In those days, nobody was serious… Read More »Some snippets from childhood

Higgs Boson: The God Particle

How many fundamental particles make all what exists in the universe? In our college days electrons, protons and neutrons were considered the fundamental particles making up the atoms. Atoms combined with each other according to some rules to make molecules which are the building blocks of the universe. As the research to probe into the heart of these fundamental particles advanced with the advent of high speed particle colliders, it has been found that itis after all not as simple as it looks. Only electron withstood the test of being the fundamental particle. It was shown that neutrons and protons… Read More »Higgs Boson: The God Particle

In Search of Chemist’s pure water

Chemist’s pure water which is formulated as H2O exists only in the theory. In the laboratory too, it has to be prepared from the water from the tap. The reason is its high polarity and very high dielectric constant which makes it a potent solvent. It can dissolve inorganic salts, polar organic compounds, acidic, basic and polar gases. It also carries suspended matter like clay particles in the form of colloids. Some of these are loosely suspended and separate out with time by sedimentation and other are stable and has to be destabilized by using defloucculants to settle them out. … Read More »In Search of Chemist’s pure water

Chemistry behind the Color of cooked Beans

Cooked green beans can be a vivid green color, or they can turn gradually less colorful, sometimes becoming greyish or brownish.  Generally salt is added to the water before boiling vegetables. The reasons given for this include: It makes them greener It makes them firmer It raises the boiling point of water to make them cook faster It improves the flavor. Chemists studied the truth behind these claims and found that first 3 of them are totally false. Adding salt slightly improves the flavor. The increase in the boiling point is insignificant to make any difference in the cooking time.… Read More »Chemistry behind the Color of cooked Beans

Animals cannot digest Cellulose

Most plants synthesize cellulose which they use to give strength to their bodies and make them withstand the vagaries of storms. It gives the shape to the trees and branches then expand the tree. Cellulose becomes the wood when trees become mature. Furniture is made of this material. It is obvious that cellulose is insoluble in water otherwise no one will use it in construction and furniture. Cellulose and starch and other carbohydrates consist of glucose molecules which are arranged in chains of different styles. In starch, two chains are intertwined. These chains get separated on boiling the starch in… Read More »Animals cannot digest Cellulose

Unesco World Heritage tag for Rani-ki-Vav

Rani ki vav or the Queen’s Stepwell at Patan, Gujarat has been bestowed with this honor a few days back under criteria i and iv which say. First criterion is the structure represents a masterpiece of human creative genius and second criterion says the item under consideration is an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates significant stages in human history. Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Step well) at Patan, Gujarat is located on the banks of the Saraswati River and was initially built as a memorial to a king in the 11th century AD. Rani or the… Read More »Unesco World Heritage tag for Rani-ki-Vav

Idyllic Life

There is a piece of uncultivated land adjacent to our building. Land is scarce in Punjab. Every inch is under cultivation. So this piece of land with uneven surface must have been purchased by some builder for construction of high rise buildings. But at present it is as it is. Grass and shrubs are growing uninterrupted in this land. On the opposite end are dense woods where poplar and eucalyptus are growing majestically. Poplars are not complicated trees. This scene is a small fragment of idyllic life which existed in India almost everywhere some years back. As the rural areas… Read More »Idyllic Life

Concept of pH in Chemistry

Although the pH of a lake or polluted stream is seldom reported in the media, the people who are monitoring the health of the lake water record it daily religiously. But pH is quite an important physical property of water. pH of a stream gives an indication about the salts and other soluble matter present in the water. These soluble salts affect the organisms living in the water. Also changing pH in a stream can be an indicator of increasing pollution or some other environmental factor. As we know life on our planet is based on the water. Water is… Read More »Concept of pH in Chemistry