Thursday, November 19, 2009

Feel the chemistry

November's theme at the Year of Science is chemistry.

Good stuff, chemistry. You won't hear me complaining this month about wishy-washy, politically correct themes. This is science.

(But not, IIRC, the stuff of much SF. I'm hard-pressed to think of a single chemistry-centric SF novel. Can anyone out there suggest some?) 

And chemistry is the basis for indispensable technology. Think of DuPont (and countless others) bringing us Better Living through Chemistry. Where would we be -- no irony intended, if you should wonder -- sans (to name a few chemical products) preservatives, plastics, petrochemicals, and pesticides.

I'm inspired to remember long-ago chemistry classes -- where I learned to respect the people who really could ascertain something in the lab. (Ever been given a mystery chemical and a few hours to identify it? I might have been given been a flask of phlogiston dioxide for all I know.) Identifying mystery chemicals takes real skill.

But somehow the YoS people neglected to include Tom Lehrer singing the periodic table. Trust me: it's a hoot. The retconned video only makes it better.

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