Friday, 14 January 2011

If you can't blow things up in chemistry...

Here's a deep philosophical question. Why did chemistry sets get young people all excited, then let them down? Because, try as you might, it was very difficult to make explosions. Let's face it, as any chemistry teacher will tell you, bangs and flashes are what grab the attention.

So when the Royal Society of Chemistry decided to add compounds to its series of podcasts on elements, the first one that sprung to mind for me was nitrogren triiodide. This black powder is pretty well useless in the real world. But we are talking a substance that explodes when you touch it. Listen to the story of a schoolboy chemist's dream.

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