Thursday, 30 June 2011

Hey man, dig this compound!

It's Royal Society of Chemistry podcast time again. We tend to think of chemists as, how can I put it, rather dull scientists. Not the oddballs of the science world. But take a listen to this famous chemist:
I was sitting writing at my textbook but the work did not progress; my thoughts were elsewhere. I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. Again the atoms were gambolling before my eyes. This time the smaller groups kept modestly in the background. My mental eye, rendered more acute by the repeated visions of the kind, could now distinguish larger structures of manifold confirmation: long rows, sometimes more closely fitted together, all twining and twisting in snake like motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes.
This was the discoverer of today's compound, the magnificently named Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz speaking of his inspiration on a Clapham omnibus (no, really) that lead to an understanding of the structure of benzene. Take a listen. It's a trip, man.

3 comments:

  1. Quibble coming up:

    it's led not lead in the final paragraph....

    ex airline employee - with kids-

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  2. It could, of course, have been a chemistry pun.

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  3. ...plumbing the depths perhaps ?

    plus benzene is always lead free not like its friend petrol who can get by in both guises....

    I

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