This blog is my attempt to reconnect with the world of chemistry. I have a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry and make a living doing research for a large company in Michigan. As times have changed, that company has changed its focus and I no longer have as much chance to do the basic, fundamental research which I most enjoy. Through this blog, I am hoping to recapture the magic which I felt during my graduate (and undergraduate) days in college. Expect topics on chemistry and alchemy along with some non-chemistry related items which I think might be interesting.

"The chymists are a strange class of mortals, impelled by an almost insane impulse to seek their pleasure among smoke and vapour, soot and flame, poisons and poverty; yet among all these evils I seem to live so sweetly that may I die if I would change places with the Persian King."

Johann Joachim Becher (phlogistonist)
Acta Laboratorii Chymica Monacensis, seu Physica Subterranea, (1669).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Humility is Good for the Soul

One of the reasons I started this blog was to sharpen my chemical skills -- skills which have been steadily declining over the years as my job has required less and less chemistry. I just played the “Can You Name the Elements in the Periodic Table in 15 Minutes” game and was reminded of just how little attention I’ve paid to the periodic table in the last 10 years. I expected that my score was going to be rather poor, and I was not disappointed. I only remembered 70% of the elements. I knew I’d have trouble with the actinides and lanthanides, but I also had trouble with the heavier main group elements. And even though I nailed all the transition metals, it required an embarrassingly long time -- embarrassing because transition metals are supposed to be my area of expertise. And it hasn't been that long since I've worked with the precious metals (Pt, Pd, etc.), so why did it take so long to remember rhodium, dammit? That’s pathetic. I also missed a few elements because I couldn’t remember how to spell them. Damn that praseodymium. Where’s the spell checker when you need one? Try the game at your own risk.


Ψ*Ψ said...

I misspelled praseodymium too, and usually I'm a spelling nazi! I think they named it that way just to confuse people. :(

Chemist Ken said...

I wasted way too much time with praseodymium that could have been better spent elsewhere. But I couldn't stop because I was so pissed off that I couldn't get it right.

luisbr said...

I speak portuguese...
This game is harder to me. :-)