Metallic Hydrogen and Scepticism

Scientists are supposed to be sceptical of others claims – you will encounter this in NOS (NOS 1.7 ‘Scientists must adopt a sceptical attitude to claims’). Why do I quote this? Well, you may have recently read or seen in the news that a new form (state) of Hydrogen has been produced. Hydrogen has been subjected to incredibly high pressure (495GPa or 495,000,000,000Pa – that’s 495 billion Pa). By contrast, standard atmospheric pressure is around 100,000Pa so this value is getting ...

Martin and Synge (2)

You may recall my previous two postings in which Synge and Martin received the Nobel prize in 1952 for their work on partition chromatography. These biochemists were involved in separating mixtures of amino acids. Their work revolutionised analytical chemistry. However, something I personally have become quite surprised at is the lack of information into the specifics of their work. I am sure that it is available in scientific journals but there is very little around on the Internet. Martin went on the help ...

Martin and Synge

If you read my post yesterday you would have found that I would be writing a few articles on Archer John Porter Martin and Richard Laurence Millington Synge. Well the link between the Queen's diamond Jubilee and these biochemists is that they won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1952 - the year the Queen came to the throne1 (I am sure you all got this link - didn't you?!) What did they win the Nobel prize for? It was partition chromatography. More ...

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Here in the UK it has been the Queen's Diamond Jubilee - 60 years on the throne. Us Brits have been celebrating all over the country like only Brits only know how to do - by having street parties. Don't worry, this article is not going to be about the street party I have been to today but I thought I would theme the next few posts to link in with the Queen's Jubilee. That was the easy part (deciding on a ...

Pink Diamonds

A news article on the BBC website (click here to read it) caught my eye yesterday. It was about the largest pink diamond ever mined. Without wanting to get into the nitty gritty of how much it is worth, how many carats it is, etc,  I thought I would focus today's posting on diamonds and what it is that makes them pink (and other colours). Unfortunately, from the chemical point of view, pink diamonds (and red, purple or brown diamonds) are quite ...

It’s raining …. diamonds?

Diamonds. Image kindly reproduced according to the licence at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Diamond.jpg Artifical diamonds. The hardest ever produced. Made literaly from air! The technique is called 'chemical vapour deposition' and the gems are good enough to be used in jewellry. How? (I hear you ask!) That's the tricky part. A 'rain' of gaseous carbon is deposited onto the surface of an existing diamond, forming a thin film of diamond. The rain is a plasma, generated by bomarding methane and hydrogen with charged particles. The thin film of diamond is then cut up ...