The Science of Caffeine: The World’s Most Popular Drug

It’s not just in coffee anymore. From drinks to jerky to gum, caffeine is everywhere. In our latest video, we take a look at the science behind the world’s most popular drug, including why that little molecule keeps you awake and reveal just how much caffeine is too much.

Video directed by Kirk Zamieroski
Series created by Adam Dylewski
Produced by the American Chemical Society

via ACS Reactions.

Do Try This At Home! - How to make instant ice

Watch water transform instantly into ice! Eddie Peacock shows you how to make super-cooled water at home.

via At Bristol.

Crystal Dilworth: Ballet, Neuroscience and a Man-Eating Plant

Crystal Dilworth doesn’t “run away to join the circus,” but then she kind of does… with other scientists.

Crystal Dilworth recently completed her Ph.D. in Molecular Neuroscience at Cal Tech. Her research has focused on the molecular basis for nicotine dependence. An accomplished life-long dancer, Crystal now choreographs Cal Tech’s musical productions. That’s right, she teaches other scientists to dance… and they’re good!

via NOVA’s Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers.

Naked Soda Can Science - Cool Science Experiment!

You’ll never look at a can of soda in the same way after our science guy, Steve Spangler, shares a secret. He’s taking us into his table-top science lab to learn how to make a naked soda can.

via Spangler Science TV.

Understanding Crystallography №2 From Crystals to Diamond

How do X-rays help us uncover the molecular basis of life?

In the second part of this mini-series, Professor Stephen Curry takes us on a journey into the Diamond Light Source, one of the UK’s most expensive and sophisticated scientific facilities.

Generating light brighter than the sun, and hosting a particle accelerator, Diamond is often used to determine the structure of complex molecules. By placing crystalline samples of proteins in the powerful beams of X-rays, scientists can use the data obatined from the generated diffraction patterns to model accurate 3D structures of the protein molecules.

Professor Curry explores the inner workings of the Diamond Light Source to reveal how such facilities are aiding the field of structural biology and continuing the work of the early crystallography pioneers 100 years on.

via The Royal Institution.

How Does Tape Work?

Ever wonder what makes tape sticky? Hank will tell you in this episode of Quick Questions!

via SciShow.

How much pee could you end up swallowing while swimming?

How much of someone else’s pee could you be swallowing while taking a swim? And is it dangerous?

This week, Risk Bites takes on the terribly important topic of peeing in swimming pools. Surprisingly, beyond the yuck factor of drinking someone else’s urine, there is a more serious hazard — production of cyanogen chloride from the reaction between uric acid and chlorine. To find out whether you should be worried about this — watch the video! And as usual, please check out the resources below, and join the conversation in the comments.

The Risk Bites Team:
Andrew Maynard
David Faulkner
Alyssa Berry

Risk Bites is supported by:
University of Michigan School of Public Health.
University of Michigan Risk Science Center.

Backing track: Based on Blue and Green by Rimsky

Additional Reading

Urine + chlorine may equal health risks at pools. Environmental Health News, March 6 2014

No, It’s Not Safe to Pee in the Pool, Says Science. Time, April 1 2014

Michael Phelps admits: we do pee in the pool. The Telegraph, August 6 2012

Ask Ars: How much pee in a pool would kill you? Ars Technica March 29 2014

Volatile disinfection byproducts resulting from chlorination of uric acid: Implications for swimming pools (2014) Lian et al. Environmental Science & Technology.

EPA risk assessment of Cyanogen Chloride

Cyanogen Chloride: ToxNet

CDC Emergency Response Information: Cyanogen Chloride

via Risk Bites.

Wade’s Rules - Periodic Table of Videos

Kenneth Wade recently passed away. Here we discuss his time as a student in Nottingham and his famous (in some chemistry circles) Wade’s Rules.

Speaking in this video are Martyn Poliakoff and Debbie Kays.

From the School of Chemistry at The University of Nottingham:
Periodic Videos films are by video journalist Brady Haran:

via Periodic Videos.
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Why is the Sea Salty?

Have you ever wondered why the sea is salty? Maddie Moate has the answers…

via Earth Unplugged.

Crazy Ants Counteract Fire Ant Venom With Chemistry

Fire ants and tawny crazy ants often battle over food. Despite being smaller, tawny crazy ants seem to have the upper hand, and now scientists have a theory as to why. In this video, Chemical & Engineering News Senior Editor Sarah Everts describes new research suggesting that tawny crazy ants secrete formic acid to neutralize the venom of its competitor.

via CEN online.

Speaking of Chemistry

Chemical & Engineering News is proud to present its new chemistry show, “Speaking of Chemistry”. This month, hosts Lauren K. Wolf and Carmen Drahl talk about must read stories in the February issues of Chemical & Engineering News.

Full stories:
West Virginia Water Crisis:
Syria’s Chemical Weapons:
Natural and Artificial Food Flavorings:
Micromotors Zoom through Cells:

via CEN online.

Sick Science! - Soap Souffle

Find out how Soap Souffle works here:

via Steve Spangler Science.

The science of spiciness

When you take a bite of a hot pepper, your body reacts as if your mouth is on fire — because that’s essentially what you’ve told your brain! Rose Eveleth details the science and history behind spicy foods, giving insights into why some people continue to pay the painful price for a little spice.

View full lesson:

Lesson by Rose Eveleth, animation by Flaming Medusa Studios Inc.

via TED Education.

Why Do We Get Allergies?

Learn what causes the allergies that spoil spring for the millions of allergy sufferers who get runny noses, puffy eyes and an itchy throats this time of year.

Featuring Calman Prussin, M.D., Associate Program Director of the Allergy and Immunology Clinical Training Program, National Institute of Health
Video produced by Elaine Seward and XiaoZhi Lim
Series created by Adam Dylewski
Produced by the American Chemical Society

via ACS Reactions.

Blue Flame Thrower - Periodic Table of Videos

Re-visiting diethyl zinc to see if we can re-create the blue flame reported by the man who discovered the compound.

Featuring professors Stephen Liddle and Simon Woodward.

A good paper on Edward Frankland’s discoveries:

From the School of Chemistry at The University of Nottingham:

Periodic Videos films are by video journalist Brady Haran:

via Periodic Videos.
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