Hot off the Press

A couple of recent articles in the science section of the BBC have caught my eye lately. The first one I read a few days ago or so ago concerned the atmosphere of Mars. It turns out that over time, most of the Martian atmosphere has been lost into space (how, I’m not too sure) but what caught my eye was the method used to determine the rate of loss of gas in the atmosphere to space. I have written about a ...

It’s that time of year

So here we are, April is with us and in the UK Spring is most definitely here. Which means one thing if you are in the second year of the IB diploma … exams. This year, the exams in chemistry start on the afternoon of Thursday 11th May (paper 1 and 2) followed by the morning of Friday 12th May for paper 3. Which, depending on when you read this, gives you around four weeks until the examination. So, how is your ...

Man Made Minerals

This blog post was inspired by a recent BBC article I read on minerals. The full article can be found here if you would like to read more (after you have read this blog post, of course!): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39133897 It has recently been announced that over 200 ‘new’ minerals (4% of the total known minerals) have been discovered – these minerals own their existence to us. As strange as it sounds, human behaviour has led to the formation of these substances. To me, ...

Teaching Born Haber Cycles

I must admit, this is not my favourite topic to teach but it’s something I am working at. What I want to focus on here is not necessarily the cycle – I’m assuming you are OK with this. I’d rather focus this blog post on two other trends that can be identified using the data book: How lattice enthalpies vary according to: Size of the ion Charge of the ion I will also be referring to table 18 of the data book, ...

Become a Future Science Leader!

No matter whether you’re an aspiring Biologist, Physicist, Chemist, or inventor, the IB Diploma is a fantastic stepping stone to studying your subject at university. However, an ambitious student can be left directionless with so many choices and questions – which subject should I follow? How do I break in to the science industry? With that question in mind our academics set about creating the perfect course for aspirant scientists - “Future Science Leader”. What is it? Future Science Leaders is a new ...

Biochemistry Option B – London forces in fat and oils (Lipids topic)

Firstly, before I forget, a very Happy New Year to all of my readers, wherever in the world you may be! Lipids are covered in the Biochemistry Option (Option B). They are large organic molecules that are not soluble in water. They are studies as they have a number of different uses in living systems, for example triglycerides (fats and oils), phospholipids (cell membranes) and cholesterol. Fats and oils have essentially to same overall structure. The difference between them is that fats ...

Osmium (Os)

By Wednesday, January 18, 2017 , , 0

Osmium (Os), is a metal found in IUPAC group 8, with a relative atomic mass of 190.2. Just over 12 years ago the BBC1 announced that intelligence agents in the UK and USA had foiled a plot to make a 'dirty bomb' that would have involved the explosion of Osmium Oxide (OsO4). What was slightly unusual about this new article was that it did acknowledge that Osmium Oxide was extremely expensive and only really available to research institutions. In other words, ...

The Examiners Report from the May 2016 Session

The examiners report from the May session is now out. Have you managed to see it / read it? As ever, the report does not ‘look very use friendly’ - it’s just a heap of text! But the contents of it can be quite revealing. The main highlights for me were: 1, The grade boundaries. If I’m honest, I did think they would be lower than this, due to my perception that the course is ‘harder’. In reality, the examinations were not too tricky ...

Colour

Topic 13 is one of my favourites – how do you find it? In this topic, we start to explore complex ions the reasons why these ions are coloured. How do you deal with this topic. I like the fact that it is very visual. It can make a nice transition from topic 3 which is very theoretical –after a couple of weeks of topic 3 theory, the students are usually ready for some lab work! Do you carry out lab work? I like ...

Nh, Mc, Ts, Og

Do these letters mean anything to you?  I expect not so please don’t worry if you have not seen them before. That said, they are the symbols for the most recent addition of elements to the periodic table. To give these new elements their official names (and proton numbers) we have: Nihonium (Nu) – 113 Moscovium (Mc) – 115 Tennessine (Ts) – 117 Oganesson (Og) – 118 What is interesting about the choice of names is that in a change from previous ‘new’ elemental names Ts ...