Sunday, January 24, 2010
Sessions are planned on Arsenic: Toxicity and Transformation; Siderophores and Iron Transport; Interplay of Metals; Metals and Gene Regulation; Metals in Disease and Metal Transport. See the current list of invited speakers.
The conference is limited to 200 participants, so early registration is recommended.
Monday, January 18, 2010
The al of “alchemy” is an Arabic article, but what about the rest of the word? Wikipedia mentions theories favouring Egyptian, Greek or Persian origin of the root. Whatever the etymology, it looks like ancient Egyptians knew quite a lot of chemistry.
tin was used in the manufacture of bronze, and cobalt has been detected as a coloring agent in certain specimens of glass and glaze. Neither metal occurs naturally in Egypt, and it seems probable that supplies of ore were imported from Persia.
Mercury <...> is stated to have been found in Egyptian tombs of from 1500—1600 B.C.Perhaps not surprisingly, the terminology used in ancient Egyptian chemical literature sometimes was deliberately misleading:
The use of the trade names for the purpose of concealing the character of the substance used where secrecy seemed desirable was not unknown at that period.
The secret names as the later alchemists used extensively: “blood of the serpent”, “blood of Hephaistos”, “blood of Vesta”, “seed of the lion”, “seed of Hercules”, “bone of the phyasimian”, etc.
The term “blood of the dove” used in the papyrus, von Lippmann has identified from other sources as meaning red lead or sometimes cinnabar.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
When the temperature of the liquids falls below its current boiling point the pressure inside the canister will no longer drive vapour out.The boiling point of butane is −0.5 °C and that of propane is −42 °C; the temperature outside was below −42 °C, and the gas canisters were outside!
My mum called for a friendly neighbour who was better equipped than us. We kids did not worry too much about a guy warming up a gas canister with a blow torch. Anyway, everything went just fine and we had a wonderful day.