This video, part of a series on "Chance Discoveries" in chemistry, tells the story of 3M chemist Spencer Silver who, in a lab experiment, created a weak adhesive with no apparent practical use -- until a 3M colleague, Arthur Fry, used it to develop the first Post-it Notes.
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This video, part of a series on "Chance Discoveries" in chemistry, traces the development of cellophane from liquid viscous cellulose, applied to fabric to protect it from stains, to a thin clear film first used as a luxury gift wrap and, after it was made moisture-proof, as a fundamental form of protective yet transparent food packaging.
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This video explains and illustrates the molecular structure of CO2; how the bonding of the carbon and oxygen molecules illustrates the Octet Rule, or Rule of 8; carbon dioxide and carbonation; the role of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere; and how changing levels of CO2 can affect the temperature on the Earth's surface, including the oceans.
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Part of a series on "Chance Discoveries" in chemistry, this video tells the story of lab work done in 1965 by DuPont chemist Stephanie Kwolek that unexpectedly produced Kevlar, a lightweight fiber five times stronger than steel. Kevlar fibers can be spun into anti-ballistic, shrapnel-resistant material for protective body armor worn by police forces, military troops and those in combat zones.
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Are you arachnophobic? Acrophobic? Ophidiophobic? This video explains how two hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, work to trigger a cascade of "fight or flight" fear responses when you're confronted by a spider, a great height or a snake.
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This video, part of a series on "Chance Discoveries" in chemistry, tells how three different chemists in two countries over more than 30 years happened to make a white, waxy substance during lab experiments that, once recognized as potentially useful and developed, became polyethylene -- the most common plastic in the world.
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This video focuses on the structure and properties of buckminsterfullerene molecules--carbon allotropes along with diamonds and graphite--that are usually referred to as buckyballs. They have a hollow spherical shape, like the geodesic spheres designed by American inventor and architect R. Buckminster Fuller.
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This video, part of a series on "Chance Discoveries" in chemistry, tells the story of two scientists who used their curiosity--and Scotch tape--to isolate single-layer sheets of graphite one atom thick: graphene, one of the thinnest, strongest materials known. The two won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery.
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This video, part of a series on "Chance Discoveries" in chemistry, tells of the lab accident in 1903 that led to the development of the first safety glass -- just as the first automobiles were being produced. Safety glass revolutionized the manufacturing of car windshields, preventing countless injuries and fatalities in automobile accidents.
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In this 21st Century Chemist profile, North Carolina State University chemist Dr. Elon Ison explains his research on catalysts that could be used to make alternative fuels--for example, efficiently converting methane gas into methanol as an alternative to gasoline.
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21st Century chemist Kent Kirshenbaum of New York University engineers and folds synthetic peptoids in hopes of creating "hunter-killer" molecules that can target and destroy deadly bacteria like staph (MRSA).
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In this 21st Century Chemist profile, Georgia Tech University chemist Facundo Fernandez explains his efforts to detect worthless or harmful counterfeit medications--eventually using a hand-held device, he hopes. Worldwide, an estimated 700,000 people a year die from counterfeit malaria and TB drugs.
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In this 21st Century Chemist profile, Purdue University analytical chemist Mary Wirth works with "nanomaterials" to improve the clarity and accuracy of tests for tiny "biomarker" proteins that indicate disease--specifically, levels of PSAs, or Prostate Specific Antigens, that signal prostate cancer.
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Responding to the months-long oil spill from a BP well in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, a team of polymer chemists in Mississippi set to inventing a non-toxic chemical dispersant that could break up oily deposits without harming marine or wetlands wildlife.
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It might just be the most universally known fact in chemistry: the chemical formula for water--H2O. This video "profiles" the H2O molecule--its structure, polarity, cohesive and adhesive properties, and water's properties as a "universal" solvent.
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The chemical reactions that make chocolate: heat, temperature, melting point. This video uses the process of chocolate making to explain chemical reactions related to heat and temperature, including melting point and the formation of crystalline structures.
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The chemistry of bread: gas and sugar reactions. This video, one in a six-part "Cheeseburger Chemistry" series, uses bread making to illustrate and explain how yeast works to convert starches and sugars in flour to CO2 gas (fermentation); effects of heat on gas; and gluten protein structures.
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The chemistry in cooking meat: protein reactions, Maillard reaction. This video, one in a six-part "Cheeseburger Chemistry" series, uses the cooking of hamburgers to explain the structure of myoglobin, its role in making red meat red, the effects of heat on myoglobin's structure and meat's color; and the Maillard--or browning--reaction.
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How chemistry ripens and reddens tomatoes: ethylene, lycopene, gases, diffusion. This video, one in a six-part "Cheeseburger Chemistry" series, examines the role of the plant hormone ethylene, or C2H4, in ripening tomatoes (and other fruits); lycopene's connection to tomatoes' red color; and how ethylene gas diffuses.
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The chemistry of preservatives: fermentation, acid and pH. This video, one in a six-part "Cheeseburger Chemistry" series, examines the role of salty brine, fermentation, lactic acid and pH in the process of pickling food to preserve it.
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The chemistry of ketchup, mustard and mayo: suspensions, emulsions. This video, one in a six-part "Cheeseburger Chemistry" series, uses ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise to explain two different types of mixtures: suspensions and colloidal dispersions (emulsions).
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Single bonds, double bonds, bond placement. Molecules profiled: eugenol, isoeugenol. This video focuses on chemical bonds by profiling eugenol and isoeugenol, two molecules with identical molecular structures except for the placement of one double bond--a difference that makes eugenol responsible for the flavor and aroma of cloves, and isoeugenol responsible for the taste and smell of nutmeg.
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The links between molecule structure and physical properties. This video "profiles" a chiral or mirror-image molecule, carvone, and explains how the "handedness" of a molecule can change its properties--resulting, in the example of carvone, in the distinctly different flavors and aromas we perceive as spearmint, caraway and dill.
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The chemistry of photosynthesis, pigments, visible light spectrum. This video explains the basic role of the pigment molecule chlorophyll in photosynthesis, and explains why plants are--or appear to be--green: because chlorophyll molecules absorb visible light in all color wavelengths except green, which is reflected back, into our eyes.
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Smell that? Our sense of smell is a complex set of chemical reactions. In this 21st Century Chemist profile, California Institute of Technology chemist Nate Lewis explains his work developing an artificial, electronic "nose" that can read odor patterns to detect and distinguish odors.
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This video explains the history of nylon, the first synthetic fiber developed for mass production, and explains polymers, polymerization, amide links and polyamides. It includes a demonstration of the Nylon Rope Trick: making nylon fiber in a lab beaker. (Beta-sheet protein courtesy Markus Buehler, MIT)
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This video, part of a series on "Chance Discoveries" in chemistry, tells the story of the discovery of the first synthetic dye, mauvine (or mauve) in 1856, by a teenaged British chemist trying to make a synthetic quinine to treat malaria in the expanding British colonies.
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The dirt on ammonia as a cleaning agent. This video explains how ammonia works with water to dissolve fatty acids, like stearic acid. It includes an animation illustrating deprotonation and explaining the Brøønsted-Lowry definition of acids and bases.
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In this 21st Century Chemist profile, City University of New York chemist Mandë Holford explains her research on the toxins produced by venomous sea snails, and her work to synthesize these long-peptide toxins for eventual use in treating chronic pain in humans.
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This video, part of a series on "Chance Discoveries" in chemistry, tells the story of three artificial sweeteners--saccharin, cyclamate and aspartame--all discovered by lab researchers who failed to completely wash their hands.
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