17 Replies Latest reply on Feb 19, 2010 8:04 AM by Mark Obrien

    Where’s the Chemistry? Photo Contest

    Mark Obrien

       

      Win a Flip Video Camera and Improve the Public’s Appreciation for Chemistry.

       

      Chemists know that everything that you can see, feel, taste or smell is a result of chemistry. However, to the general public, chemistry’s connections to daily life are not always apparent.  Therefore, to improve the public’s appreciation for chemistry, the ACS Network is sponsoring a “Where’s the Chemistry?” photo contest. 

       

      Here’s how the contest works:

       

      • Take a photo of an everyday item e.g. tennis ball, DVD, sneaker, pumpkin pie, etc. Choose whatever item that you would like (chemistry is everywhere right?)
      • In 250 words or less, describe the item’s relationship to chemistry.  Detail the item’s chemical properties, how chemists are involved in the production or manufacturing process, the ways in which advances in chemistry and the chemical sciences make this product better, or simply describe the chemical changes that occur as a result of environmental factors acting on the product.  For example: Think about the aroma of a warm pumpkin pie coming out of the oven.  Where’s the chemistry?

       

       

       

       

       

       

      To participate, reply to this thread and post your photo and entry.  The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2010.  Winners will be determined through the use of the polling feature on the network. Voting will begin on February 1 and close on February 15.

        • Re: Where’s the Chemistry? Photo Contest
          Richard Franck

          the photo is of different servings of tofu served in a tokyo restaurant specializing in tofu. So what is tofu and where is the chemistry? Tofu comes from soybean milk which is expressed from crushed soybeans. The milk is boiled and then coagulated by addition of salts. Then the coagulated curds are pressed into a cake. First, why do salts cause the milk to coagulate? The milk is rich in protein which is composed of amino acids linked into long chains. The salts, usually magnesium chloride or calcium sulfate (gypsum) form complexes with the amino acid components, changing the solubility of the protein, hence the protein "curdles" i.e. it becomes insoluble in water and separates from the water. So this is an example of physical biochemistry. The traditional salts, known as nigari (japan) or lushui (china) is largley magnesium chloride with a little magnesium sulfate, potassium chloride and calcium chloride. It is obtained from sea water after removal of its principal salt, sodium chloride. This can be done because when you evaporate sea water, the first salt to  separate is the sodium chloride, leaving the others in solution. The remaining solution is then evaporated to give nigari. So, this is the solubility chemistry of inorganic salts. Of course, this traditional salt mixture is more costly to produce than gypsum. So low-cost commercial tofu is not as chemically interesting. Also interesting is that tofu has been known for at least 2000 years, long before the chemistry was understood.

          • Re: Where’s the Chemistry? Photo Contest
            Louise Hellwig

            This bag of chips was bought at an airport shop before boarding the plane. The bag looked flexible and "normal" before the plane took off, but when we reached cruising altitude the bag had expanded as shown in the photo. This is a great example of Boyle’s law: as the pressure on a gas decreases, the volume of the gas increases. Since oxygen in air leads to spoilage of potato chips, nitrogen gas is added to bags of potato chips before they’re sealed in order to displace air and to keep the chips fresh. As the plane rose to high altitude, atmospheric pressure decreased, and the nitrogen gas expanded, causing the bag to puff up.

            • Re: Where’s the Chemistry? Photo Contest
              Marie Southerland

              This picture that I took is of a set of LED lights. What is different about these lights is that they are powered by batteries. People everywhere use batteries every single day. Batteries power our cell phones, laptops, flashlights, and batteries have even made their way into battery operated tooth brushes. However, who really stops to think about what exactly a battery does? Well it just so happens that batteries, among many things in our lives, are all about chemistry! The main idea of a battery is connecting the circuit of electrons, from anode to cathode. In short, the anode gives off electrons and the cathode wants the electrons. Batteries are an example of a redox reaction. A redox reaction is actually a shortened term for reduction/oxidation reaction. Reduction is the gaining of an electron and oxidation is the loss of an electron. An easy way to remember which name goes with which reaction is the saying “LEO the lion goes GER”. LEO stands for Loosing Electron Oxidation and GER stands for Gaining Electron Reduction. In a standard battery the anode donates an electron which runs to the cathode creating the current which then powers the device being used.

              From this, it is clear to see that there is definitely chemistry in batteries which means there is a bit of chemistry in people’s lives every day, even if they don’t realize it!

              • Re: Where’s the Chemistry? Photo Contest
                Chintan Desai

                Is it COFFEE or CHEMISTRY????

                 

                Ever imagined morning without freshly brewed hot coffee? Ever thought coffee is full of chemistry? Yes, from internal structure to its effect in the body, from aroma to taste and from preparation to processing involves CHEMISTRY!!!

                Coffee is made up of fat, gum, phosphoric acid, cellulose and most important Caffeine, which attributes to its stimulating pleasant effect.

                Preparation of the drinkable coffee involves physiochemical processes like wet process, fermentation and dry process. Even decaffeinated coffee, which is less harmful to your health but very harmful to the quality of coffee, requires chemical processes like Swiss water process and CO2 process.


                Aroma of the coffee is the most important factor for its unavoidable nature and of course business secret for coffee business chain like Starbucks. Aroma of the coffee is attributes to the presence of Aromatic volatile compounds. Amazingly, certain degradation chemical process can improve the presence of these volatile compounds and in turn enhance the aroma of the coffee.

                Who can forget bitter but very pleasant taste of coffee? However, over bitter coffee can produce unwanted effect. It is proven that type of water and its reaction (chemistry!!) to the coffee seeds while brewing can attribute to extent of its bitterness.

                Finally when coffee enters into body it produces stimulant effect in brain. This is because of structural similarity between caffeine and adenosine receptor. 

                 

                So, enjoy your freshly brewed Chemistry…..I mean Coffee.

                • Re: Where’s the Chemistry? Photo Contest
                  Sue Park

                  Mark,

                   

                  I am attaching my picture and description of the associated chemistry.  How do people view the entries and vote?

                   

                  Sue Park

                   

                  Message was edited by: Sue Park This picture is from the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior, Munising, MI.  The cliff is colored with minerals in water that seeps through cracks in the rocks.  The minerals oxidize and produce different color stains on the cliff face.  The orange stains are from iron (III) oxide and the black stains are from manganese (IV) oxide. The caves carved in the cliff face are caused by water, wave action, freezing expansion and lightning strikes which erode the sandstone rock of the Munising Formation.  Munising Formation rock consists of sandstone, shale and conglomerate which have different hardness and erode at different rates.

                  • Re: Where’s the Chemistry? Photo Contest
                    Amanda Case

                    If you've ever forgotten to take the money out of your pockets before washing your jeans only to discover it did not disintegrate--not only might you be extremely grateful--you may be wondering about the chemical properties of the dollar-bill and why the heck the torrential environment inside the washing machine didn't destroy it.

                     

                    Paper money is actually not paper at all. There is no wood involved. Cellulose, a common chemical property of paper products is not used in the manufacturing of currency paper. Currency paper is composed of 25% linen and 75% cotton. These properties make it difficult to disintegrate in soap and water alone. Red and blue synthetic fibers of various lengths are distributed evenly throughout the paper bonding together much closer than fibers in regular sheets of paper making it much more durable. Currency paper is closer in composition to a cloth than paper. In the printing-process, sheets of new money are forced under extremely heavy pressure (estimated at about 20 tons) where finely recessed lines pick up the green and black ink. When "paper"-money is produced, it does not entirely absorb the ink. The black and green inks leave a texture on the bill’s surface that can easily be felt by touch. This is used as an advantage in counterfeit-proofing measures. Chemists contribute to the development of color-shifting ink, where the number on the bill appears to change in color when you look at it from a different angle. This is not a result of the ink changing color. Rather, different light wavelengths are blocked out when reflected at different angles. The glittery effect seen is actually metal that is vacuum-coated onto a soluble polymer-based flexible web, which is dissolved and applied to the currency paper releasing a layer of metallic film. What a miraculous example of security features enabled by chemistry.

                     

                    So, next time you forget to empty your pockets before your next load of laundry, relax and consider it a cleansing from the thousands of people who handeled your "paper"-money before you.

                    • Re: Where’s the Chemistry? Photo Contest
                      Mark Obrien

                      Thanks to everyone who submitted entries in the first "Where’s the Chemistry," photo contest. I really enjoyed reading each of your postings.

                       

                       

                      Now it’s time to let the community decide the winner. Vote for your favorite entry in the "The Where’s the Chemistry Photo Poll,"  in the Chemistry Ambassadors forum. The poll will remain open until February 15.  Vote Today!

                      • Re: Where’s the Chemistry? Photo Contest
                        Linda Moyer

                        Hi Mark,

                        Put my vote under Sue Park's Rocks photo. Not only is her photo a work of art, her explanation of the chemistry and other forces that worked together to create fascinating formation is well written.

                        Linda Moyer

                        • Re: Where’s the Chemistry? Photo Contest
                          Gregory Park

                          One Vote for Sue Park!

                          • Re: Where’s the Chemistry? Photo Contest
                            Sue Park

                            Hi Mark,

                             

                            When will the results of the photo contest be announced?

                             

                            Sue Park

                            • Re: Where’s the Chemistry? Photo Contest
                              Mark Obrien

                              Congratulations to Sue Park for her winning entry "Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore."  Sue entry received 18 out of the 26 votes in the contest.  Thanks to all who submitted entries in this contest, I enjoyed your photos and reading your posts. 

                               

                              A new contest Where's the Chemistry In Plants? Photo Contesthas been started in support of Chemists Celebrate Earth Day.  Contest details are available in the Chemists Celebrate Earth Day! group.