Summary: Perfect for science teachers, parents and kids with big curiosities, Bytesize Science is an educational, entertaining podcast for young listeners from the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society. Available every Wednesday morning, it translates scientific discoveries from ACS’ 36 journals into intriguing stories for kids of all ages about science, medicine, energy, food and much more.
In our latest episode, we take on a common breakfast disturbance - the foul taste of orange juice after you brush your teeth. Toothpaste is loaded with a cornucopia of chemicals that add flavors, body, texture, and most importantly, the ability to clean your teeth. One compound in particular, a detergent known as sodium lauryl sulfate is responsible for the suds that you produce when brushing. As it turns out, this compound has an interesting effect on your mouth's taste receptors. Watch the video to find out exactly how SLS affects your sense of taste, and be prepared to amaze your friends at breakfast when you drop chemical facts on why this bitter combo leads to such a puckered up, gross experience.
What flies around the world 14 times a day and can detect global air pollution levels from space? It's NASA's Aura satellite, whose mission is to understand the changing chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere. This remarkable satellite can measure air quality across the entire planet in just 24 hours. Find out more about Aura, how smog is formed, the future of Earth's ozone hole and much more in our latest episode of ChemMatters.
With millions of eggs about to have their annual encounter with red, green, blue and other dyes this holiday weekend, our newest video helps uncover the chemistry behind this "egg-cellent" tradition. The video features Diane Bunce, Ph.D., professor of chemistry at Catholic University of America. Bunce explains, for instance, why vinegar is so important for eggshell to take up dye. Eggshells consist of calcium carbonate, the same chemical that makes up marble chips. But try to dye a white marble chip. Nope -- won't work! So what is it that makes eggshells dye-friendly? The video explains that egg shells have a "protein cuticle," which reacts with vinegar- based dyes in a way that allows dye to bond to the exterior of the egg. Find out more in the video.
Saint Patrick's day is this Sunday, and there are many ways to celebrate like Irish soda bread at breakfast or corned beef and cabbage for dinner. For those celebrating St. Patrick's Day with green beer, moderation is key. Alcohol has several negative effects on your body -- many of which can amount to a miserable morning after. Find out the science behind those brutal hangovers and alcohol's other effects on the body in our latest video, and maybe we can inspire some caution in your celebration this year.
Do cats prefer sardines or sweets? Our newest video explains why cats, unlike humans and other mammals, are indifferent to sweet flavors. The video was filmed at the Monnell Chemical Senses Center, an institute dedicated to research on taste and smell. Prior to becoming Monnell's Director, Gary Beauchamp studied the sweet taste receptor genes of cats in the late 1970s. At the Philadelphia Zoo, he gave lions, tigers, cheetahs and housecats two different types of water—sugar water and regular water. The cats showed no preference to the sugar water, suggesting a physiological difference between other mammals, such as humans, monkeys, and dogs. Watch the video to find out the cause of your cat's missing sweet tooth.
Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Whether you're spending Valentine's with a special someone or you're stuck celebrating "Singles Awareness Day," we put together a list of five fascinating chemical facts about why chocolate, in moderation, may be good for you. The video explains how a bar of chocolate contains hundreds of compounds, many with beneficial properties. Among the video's "sweet" facts: •Chocolate may improve your mood, and not just because of its delicious flavor. Chocolate contains a number of chemicals that inhibit the breakdown of the neurotransmitter anandamide -- sometimes called "the molecule of bliss" -- which can block feelings of pain and depression. •According to an article from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the naturally occurring polyphenols in cocoa ― the key ingredient in chocolate ― boost levels of HDL, commonly known as the "good cholesterol."
In our newest video, we head to the DayGlo Color Corp. factory to learn how they make the famous fluorescent paints that light up traffic cones, black light posters, hula-hoops and so much more. In the 1950's, DayGlo founders Bob and Joe Switzer developed a unique pigment production process that led to a boom in their fluorescent paint business and, more recently, earned their company a 2012 ACS National Historic Chemical Landmark. Check out the video to learn what makes fluorescent colors so vivid and get an inside look at how pigments and dyes are made at DayGlo's colorful factory.
The video tracks formation of snowflakes from their origins in bits of dust in clouds that become droplets of water falling to Earth. When the droplets cool, six crystal faces form because water molecules bond in hexagonal networks when they freeze. It explains that ice crystals grow fastest at the corners between the faces, fostering development of the six branches that exist in most snowflakes. As snowflakes continue to develop, the branches can spread, grow long and pointy, or branch off into new arms. As each snowflake rises and falls through warmer and cooler air, it thus develops its own distinctive shape.
The video explains that the calorie content of food was determined in the late 1800s by chemist Wilbur O. Atwater. Atwater built a four by eight foot device called a respiration calorimeter, which was big enough to allow a person to step into it! It measured the amount of heat they released, the amount of oxygen they consumed and the carbon dioxide they gave off after eating a variety of foods. Using this device, Atwater was able to measure the precise amount of energy contained in thousands of food items. He found that carbohydrates and proteins were worth 4 Calories per gram and fats about 9 Calories per gram. This 4-9-4 rule is at the heart of how nutrition facts labels are determined today.
The history of photography is rich with chemical innovations and insights, producing hundreds of different processes to develop images in unique and often beautiful ways. But these historical images can be difficult to conserve, especially since each type of photograph requires a different preservation technique. While two photos could look very similar, they may differ chemically in dramatic ways. This is where photo conservation scientists like Art Kaplan at the Getty Conservation Institute come into the picture. Art spends his days studying different styles of photographs, their materials and the chemistry that gave life to still life in the early days of photography. His office is loaded with drawers of photographic samples, scientific instruments and a clear passion for frozen history. In our latest video, Art explains the developmental processes of several types of photographs including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes.
Imagine a submarine. Now shrink that down to one-tenth the size of a human hair. It's not science fiction. Scientists recently made these tiny "microsubmarines" a reality. According to the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano, scientists have created the first ever self-propelled "microsubmarines" able to pick up and transport droplets of oil from contaminated waters. These tiny machines could play an important role in cleaning up oil spills, like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico.
A TV screen as thin and flexible as paper. A cook's pot that flashes a warning if it detects E. coli. Possible treatments for damaged spinal cords. It's not science fiction -- these are all possible applications of a material known as graphene. This so-called "wonder material" is 100 times stronger than steel but thinner than any known solid. And since graphene also conducts electricity as well as copper, it could lead to flexible cell phone touchscreens and transparent, inexpensive solar cells and other devices closer to reality.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of National Chemistry Week, we visited the Maryland Nanocenter at the University of Maryland (UMD) to check out the latest research in nanotechnology -- this year's theme for NCW. Three UMD researchers explain how their work in the nano-scale could lead to better fuel cells, solar cells, cancer treatments and super strong materials made from carbon nanotubes. It's a first hand look at the exciting applications of nanotechnology available today, and those that are just around the corner.
Listen up all you ravers out there! Chemiluminescence is at the heart of how glow sticks (as well as fireflies) give off their otherworldly light. When scientists first tried to make their own glowing material in the 1960s, they realized they needed two components. The first is a molecule that lights up when excited, and the second is an energy source to excite the first molecule. But that's not all the chemistry involved - every unique glow stick color requires a different glowing molecule. Our latest episode breaks down the chemistry behind everybody's favorite party favor, the glow stick.
Curiosity is basically an entire chemistry lab packed into a one mobile unit, equipped with the tools necessary to test the chemical composition of soil. Test results from these instruments will pave the way for future Mars missions, and may provide insight in the search for life on other planets.