The one in which the box is blasted off to a parallel universe.

Am on a link trip here. Chug along, perhaps one of your answers will be questioned.

“What can I do with a Chemistry degree?” is a question that has answers limited only by your imagination and passion for the subject. (Did I hear anyone murmur: resources?) The links that follow take you to products made with a firm footing in Chemistry. As you will see, these products are a testament to the far and wide reach of innovative thinking rooted in Chemistry.

1. Chemistry-inspired jewelry
Dr. Raven Hanna (given name Rebecca) has a PhD in Molecular Biophysics from Yale. She later did a postdoc with Carlos Bustamante at UC, Berkeley. And she wanted to become a professor.

Cue: Plot Twist.

During her postdoc research, Hanna began thinking of ways to communicate her science to people which would make them sit up and take notice. It was then that she chanced upon a drawing of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, in a book and it was a Eureka! moment for her. Talking to Ivan Amato for Chemical & Engineering News, Hanna said of the serotonin drawing:

It was beautiful and I thought it would make a lovely necklace… A quick Internet search suggested that such a thing didn’t exist, so if I wanted one, I’d have to make it myself.

One thing led to another and in time, she had made a silver serotonin necklace for herself. Needless to say, people were impressed and had one word for it. And that word was: want! She soon went into business and has since then made  acetylcholine, dopamine, norepinephrine, γ-aminobutyric acid, glutamate and estrogen based jewelry.

But what is fascinating here is (of course, other than applying Chemistry in a creative manner to produce something novel) the science communication aspect. This is in practice, informing the nonscientists about these molecules (and more) by tapping into their curiosity.

2. Chemistry and colours go hand in hand. There is the chemistry of colours and there are colours in chemistry. Etsy shop Que Interesante has for sale some fun chemistry-based crayons. Flame Test in Inorganic Chemistry Practicals is what you need to travel back to at this point in time.

Turn a Chemistry evangelist. Catch ’em young, like they say. And with these crayons, it just seems very likely. 😉

Here are a couple of images from the site.

chemistry crayon 1

This, second one, is especially for my Ist year students. The vanadyl and ruby crayons – ring a bell?


Truth be told, this post is a note-to-self as well. Call it design thinking, thinking out of the box or whathaveyou, the only question here is:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one ‘chemistry’ life?

Yes, I love Mary Oliver.

(Science was rendezvousing art. So.)


Of Easter eggs and Easter bunnies

A few links in keeping with the season.

1. Dean Burnett has his tongue firmly ensconced in his cheek as he comes up with a totally factual scientific explanation of how Easter eggs are made.

2. I have never been on an Easter egg hunt. But if you want to plan one (perhaps next year) for your kids, here’s a fun activity you can do along with them. The link describes how to make Easter eggs using household acids and dyes. And the chemistry underpinning this process is also explained. Go on over, and have a look.

3. And this link, because:

(a) Benedict Cumberbatch

(b) Sherlock Holmes

(c) Should there even be a (c) here after (a) and (b)? 🙂


Yes, Cumberbatch Easter bunny is a thing.

4. And while on chocolate, here’s something I am reminded of. A 2004 study from Imperial College London that said chocolate could help stop persistent coughs. The team attributed this to theobromine, which is found in cocoa.

How do you like your coffee?

No, the expected answer isn’t black/ no sugar/ with cream/ any of the other preferences.

A cafe in London is serving coffee in boiling tubes. Yes, you read that right!

Don’t believe me? Here, take a gander. Or, take a goose, if you’d rather. But, take it to London. And go to this unnamed cafe while there, and make sure you get your coffee in cool lab ware.

People on twitter seem to be clueless and angry about what’s going on there. Some even are expounding on the chemistry and philosophy of making good coffee. This has been called ‘deconstructed Americano‘, and the rationale offered is that by pouring this hot boiling tube of espresso into hot water (rather than the other way around), you are actually preventing the coffee from getting scalded.

Well, to each his own.

As for me, am mighty chuffed! Want!

PS. Maybe I should have a tag called Exotic Chemistry in Everyday Life. 🙂


Chemistry on your lips.

Of course, chemistry is on our minds. But chemistry is occasionally on our lips as well.

Chemical and Engineering News and bring you this lovely infographic on the chemistry of lip balms.

Winter in Chennai is a misnomer, but what passes for winter here justifies this post.





And with this post, I am creating a new tag called ‘Chemistry in Everyday Life’.

Posts tagged thus will feature saber-toothed tigers. That’s a lie. But you knew that.