Tag Archives: Chemistry

I forgot I had you, little blog

28 Nov

So I’ve been flicking through pages of this blog and it’s a little mind-blowing to realise how much of my life is up here (albeit heavily disguised and hidden in metaphors and haiku). It made me sad to think I haven’t really documented any of this year in the same sneaky way. I guess it’s a mark of growing up, which is not strictly something I want to do.

Here is an adequately vague summary of 2012:

This is a year of acceptances and successes. I had to accept that my academic plan was going to be different to my peers, come to terms with being the odd-one-out, the only person starting honours halfway through the year.

But honours is crazy. I’ve gotten better at things rapidly. Machines that once terrified me are now my loyal and hardworking subjects.

Haha, Mr Centrifuge, you’re making that high-pitched screeching sound again, but rather than running for my life, I will simply stand beside you and glare, knowing that you’ll shut up any second and get on with the job at hand!

When I say these sorts of things out loud, I gain the fearful respect of the centrifuge, but my coworkers think I’m odd.

I’ve had successes with grades, work, haircuts, and crystallography.


I’ve learned more this year than I expected to, in about as many areas as one could prod with a stick.*

I want to use this blog more, I want to have opinions (something I’m scared of because usually I don’t have enough evidence to back up my opinions, so it all just feels weak), and I want to write about science and cool things that are happening, and blogs and comics that I like on the internet, and awesome music like this:

I miss being vague on the internet.

Perhaps expect more from me, dear readers, as I can feel the procrastination creeping up on me.

Love your mothers.

*Do not prod sensitive areas with sticks.


Music to watch syntheses converge by

11 Jun

Medicinal study music:

  • In Ghost Colours – Cut Copy
  • Cerulean – Baths
  • The Eraser – Thom Yorke
  • Ravedeath, 1972 – Tim Hecker
  • Campfire Headphase – Boards of Canada
  • King of Limbs – Radiohead
This is the most mellow study session of ever.

Handy hint: Feeling stressed about exams? Don’t fear! Just look at pictures of James McAvoy!

Things I Have Learned on Thursday the 12th of May

12 May

Today marks the two-year anniversary of this blog of mine existing. It was this time two years ago I was trying desperately not to fall behind in maths. I had just lost my iPod (beautiful, green, Pip II) after showing the song Middle of the Hill to a friend outside the pharmacy on campus. I was miserable, so I started a blog, and wrote my very first post about being miserable.

Back then, I would write lists of things I’d learned, which was meant to be the whole concept for this blog. As an anniversary celebration, I will now list some Things I Have Learned in the past two years of my life. Just a few things.

  • Sometimes you do really, really stupid things, and then rather than apologise and try not to do any more stupid things, you just do something even worse, then feel miserable about it for the next couple of years.
  • Maths is hard, but studying maths makes you a better person. At least, once you’ve studied maths, even the most ridiculous topics can be made more appealing by thinking “at least this isn’t maths”.
  • Physics is okay when it’s about pushing crates up inclines. Unfortunately, that kind of physics isn’t called for so much these days.
  • Biology is just memorisation and sadness.
  • Chemistry is a good middle ground.
  • When in doubt, make a poster about it.
  • Sometimes you just have to get along with people you don’t like. Sometimes you just have to cut people you don’t like loose, and deal with the consequences. Sometimes the challenge is knowing which of the above techniques to employ.
  • Sometimes you get things you want through a mixture of stalking and good fortune.
  • The ‘real world’ is something that will loom in front of you forever, because so far, each little discovery of something ‘real’, be it studies, work, friendships, seems to just blend right into the existing mix.
  • Occasionally, people will  screw you over. Often, you’ll be better off for it.
  • Some people you meet are the kind of people who you know straight away will change your life. Some people you meet, you’ll WANT to have your life changed by, but won’t get the opportunity.
  • Two years goes very, very quickly.

Because two years have gone very, very quickly. These two years have been filled with people and things and places and events, and I suppose that’s how life will probably end up being.

Find some large enough division of time, and stuff will happen in that division. I don’t know. Seems obvious when you put it like that.
It’s all a bit wonderful.

I hope I’m still keeping this blog in two years time. I can’t imagine much will change that will prevent me from posting. I’ll always have things to procrastinate from. It’ll be pretty interesting to see what goes down before the Things I Have Learned on Sunday the 12th of May, 2013 post goes up.

Web diary holding
All my wishes and secrets
But really vaguely.


This is almost chemistry

30 Mar

How awesome is glass? I was having this conversation with someone earlier about how awesome glass is, and I think the conclusion we reached was that glass is pretty darn awesome.

I mean that from aesthetic and chemical points of view, but this post I am drafting while I should be studying will be focussing on the aesthetics.

OOH PRETTY GLASS! (click images for links to artists/pages I got the pics)

But this stuff dissolves glass. Whoa. Imagine being the dude who found that out first.

This is also almost chemistry:

What was that Knorr up to? Well, I guess it’s to be expected, seeing as “chemistry is just small cooking that you don’t want to eat.”

Aaaaand my last almost chemistry screenshot:

This cat is apparently named Triphenylphosphine Oxide.

Goodnight, world!

Music to watch car crashes in slow motion to

8 Mar


It just is, you know? Quietly, almost beautifully depressing. It’s a subconscious depressing quality, though. You don’t realise you’re being depressed by the gentle tones until you notice you’re imagining what it would be like to bleed to death on a kitchen floor.

Unpleasant, I decided. But Thom Yorke soothed that a little.

I’m not a die hard Radiohead fangirl. I’ve heard most of the relevant stuff, and I like it all with a laid back almost-enthusiasm, but I certainly didn’t go crazy when I found out The King of Limbs was being released. I listened to it out of curiosity.

As with any major musical release, Pitchfork seemed to have a lot to say about it. It’s a bit involved for us non-fanatical-music-reviewers though, so I did you all the service of editing it down to the essential ‘review’y part. (read: I put a red line through anything that sounded remotely pretentious.)

There you have it. It’s lovely. I really like this album. I’d give it higher than 7.9. In fact (WARNING: CONTROVERSIAL OPINION APPROACHING) I like it more than In Rainbows.


Pitchfork did, however, enlighten me to the impending release of more Broken Bells, which can only be a good thing. Internet is too slow to let me actually listen to the mentioned track, though. You should leave a comment describing it in words for me.

I had weird dreams last night/this morning after my alarm should’ve gone off but didn’t. Here they are, summarised as a handy comic series.

Also, this is what we did in medicinal today. Strangely, it doesn’t reflect how I feel about the course content, just how I feel about everything else I have to do.

Ask And You Shall Receive

15 Oct

I’m not sure if you’ll necessarily receive a helpful answer, though.


8 Sep

This is hell itself, but it looks quite lovely. Chemistry tends to be like that.

It looks like a spacey drug trip... but it's actually a Weissenburg Plot.

Hard Soft Acid Base Theory

20 Jun

Hypothetically held in your hot little hand
Is an acid or base you don’t quite understand.
To work out its properties quick as you please,
Close your eyes, hold your breath, and give it a squeeze.

It’s small like a marble and hard like a stone?
Its qualities suddenly make themselves known!
Its electron affinity is high as the sky
So it’s not as affected by charges nearby.

But what if it’s squishy like squashed up banana?
Its electrons are welcome to wander out farther.
A low oxidation, can be pulled out of shape,
These will suggest a soft acid or base.

So next time your looking for strong interactions,
Remember the fundamentals of attraction.
Like Pearson proposed, as a rough rule of thumb;
Hard to hard, soft to soft, and your work is done.

Chelate Effect

19 Jun

The chelate effect is dependent on size,
And clever young chemists, this will not surprise;
A five-membered ring is indeed the most stable,
More so if delocalisation enables
The flow of electrons through double bonds,
For resonance strengthens benzene hexagons.

But make that ring smaller, and lo and behold!
Ring strain will encourage the thing to unfold.
The more rings that bind to a metal cation,
The stronger the bonds the complex must rely on!
So, multiple five membered rings are the best
For a happy and stable metal complex.

The Greatest Story Ever Told

1 Jun


by Sian and Eleanor

The sun shone brightly that day. Simon was feeling alive, for the first time in approximately six years.

It didn’t really help that for the last six years Simon had been declared dead, but that was irrelevant now. All that mattered was that he felt alive.

His friend, Susie, was pleased to see him so upbeat. She had just finished an undergraduate degree in law and medicine, topping both easily.

Admittedly she was the only one in the class, with the exception of Simon, but we all know that Simon was dead, so he didn’t really count.

Or at least, that was what the examiners said.

Simon would have passed his exams with flying colours, proving that he was actually alive, but his pencil had turned into a duck during the exam and had waddled away, leaving Simon bewildered and failing.