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carbon-based curiosities

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Updated: 2017-12-21T07:21:04.481-05:00


The Future is Here


Hey Coroneneketeers,That didn't have a very good ring to it, did it? Oh well. We're moving to our own domain! Check out the new CBC here!The Blogger blog will stay here as an archive for all these old posts, but we're going to start posting over at the new site from now on... unless we decide to move all the posts over there (read: fat chance).Enjoy! Feedback is encouraged!

orange!! (the most exciting thing i've seen in a while)


You've seen a lot of the perylene diimides I've made. (In case you missed them, here they are.) To this point, they've all looked the same--red to violet in the solid state. This one is different. It's so tangerine it hurts a little. Also, it isn't a fibrous pancake--all the others give me long, flexible needles, if they crystallize at all (perylenes are infamous for gellating). This one

google brings you to the strangest places...


Well, these have been collecting for a while, and tonight happens to be excellent for a fluff post, so instead of chemistry you get...weird Google searches that ended up at CBC. Chemistry can wait for tomorrow, yes?We have a few people who apparently don't think much of us authors:dumb people in grad schoolgrad school for undergrad fuck upsthe internet is full of assholesThe third search was

Friday Potpourri


Just a few things to sate your appetite for the ol' CBC this weekend:James Watson, as it turns out, is a complete prick. Shocking. Given his treatment of Rosalind Franklin in The Double Helix, frankly nothing that comes out of this man's mouth surprises me- he's always had a lack of tact. The concept of "race" is a purely socioeconomic one, which has a long, sordid, awful history in this country.

change of plans? (no-content post)


I was planning to post some beautiful red crystals that finished growing after two weeks of resisting the temptation to look at them every five minutes. You would have liked them--they were fibrous and tangled and somewhat reminiscent of hair. Some are shorter and more blocky, and look like they will diffract very well. Unfortunately, I don't have them anymore, and unless some nice people at

A Mighty Inorganic Kablooie


You couldn't pay me enough money to work with polyazides- that's pretty much the bottom line for me. For some reason, though, these potential molecular bombs have attracted a lot of interest lately. The total synthesis of tetraazidomethane* was finally completed earlier this year, and the synthesis of the complex Ti[N3]4, among other metal-polyazides, was completed a few years back. Fresh off the

Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Sun, Goodnight Calix[6]arene


If you're into molecular machines (and who isn't?) then you might get a kick out of this recent JACS paper. The rest of you who could care less will at least like their graphical abstract:Cuuuute! Look at that happy sun! And that content moon! And... what the hell is that red thing? And blue thing with the blue tail? And it's... going.. in... what? Now vigilant CBC readers are probably thinking "

glowy byproduct


This is discarded junk from a successful reaction.  One of the postdocs was looking over my shoulder while I worked it up, and asked why it looked a little green--the product, after all, is red as a solid and orange in solution.  I grabbed the TLC lamp to check for fluorescence, and...BAM!  Aqua.  Cool!

it takes some serious talent to screw this up


I will never really understand why people bother to buy tetrakis(triphenylphosphine) palladium(0). On any given day, it's definitely the easiest reaction I do, and it always works. On a bad day, the bright yellow crystals are enough to make me feel a little better. (Also, palladium catalysis is MAGIC.) Apparently, it doesn't ship well and might show up in funny colors (unless maybe you get it

Nobody Cares Who I Think Should Get A Nobel


EDIT: Gerhard Ertl won the Prize for Chemsitry this year. Well-deserved on his part, and I'm glad surface chemistry is being recognized this year, but the fact that Somorjai and Whitesides didn't win is, in my professional opinion, 'tarded. Oh well. Like Kyle said, the Nobel is a silly thing anyway.First off, suck it Bush. Suck it long and suck it hard. I say that a lot, but why this time?

And if you complain once more, you'll meet an army of me


Fucking. Fierce.Every year here, a few groups, including White's, make posters for their open houses for the incoming first-years. White probably got the idea from David Liu, who's been doing it for years at Harvard (I dunno how widespread the practice is at Harvard, but Liu's posters are, um, magical, to say the least). Christina White is truly an auteur open house poster-maker, clearly. Look at

I'm like a fly Malcom X, buy any jeans necessary


For a limited time (ie. right up until the first cease-and-desist letter), I'll make my seminar presentation available as a, I dunno, service to the chemical community? The names, as well as some of the layouts (for those of you who were there) are different, to protect the innocent (and guilty) and because I had a bunch of very tasteful animations that needed to be deconvoluted for this handout.

yay! new toys!


I'll make this quick--I have a million things to do this week--but here's a nifty little news item and a video. Looks like there's a lot of optimism out there for the super-awesome new displays. I'm guilty of this too, of course...maybe in my next cell phone?

happy birthday!

2007-09-30T12:51:16.470-04:00 CBC. We started on September 30, 2006--well, I started, Excimer wasn't around until November or so--and somewhat miraculously, a year and 170 posts later, people actually read this. If you want, you can go back to teh archive and look at the beginnings...but I'd rather you not because this "writing" thing didn't go so smoothly until CBC picked up a coauthor. Is a year too early to ask for

rotate monitor or head ninety degrees to right


I've had a fantastic distraction at work this week: a soxhlet extractor. Since not everyone gets to see these used on a regular basis, I thought I'd take a little video. (Hopefully it's faster for you than it was for me to upload!) Unfortunately, it's...sideways. I don't know why it's sideways. The camerahands are mine, so they're shaky. (The little piece that holds the camera on the tripod broke

God Save the Queen('s eyes)


Hilarious picture in this week's C&EN:My grandma has sunglasses just like those.Pic is from some article (subscription only) about Oxford University and money or something. I didn't read it. I didn't need to. That is a picture of Queen Elizabeth II at the opening of one of Oxford's new chem labs in 2004. Not shown: Her Majesty donning a labcoat and running a Ley oxidation (made in England, of

if i go too long without posting i feel lazy

2007-09-24T23:18:30.296-04:00 here's a picture. Yes, it's a rather boring yellow-brown color, which means, in my lab, it must be a synthetic intermediate of some sort and not a final product. I've never seen anything that gave the little swirlies like you see here, though, which is why it deserved a picture. Unfortunately, I don't know exactly what this IS yet, but it should hopefully get shot into the GC/MS tomorrow.

My Dog and Pony Show

2007-09-21T00:10:13.135-04:00 over. My seminar was tonight and it went over very well, both profs and students were complimentary. I'll do a post on cruciform pi-systems (my seminar topic) later, but just to give you an idea of what my seminar was on... remember this pic?Yeah, that thing in front of the lolcats? That's a cruciform pi-system developed by Mike Haley's group. They do some interesting things- high optical

Ψ*Ψ's (unorthodox) GRE survival guide


Fair enough, disclaimer first: I don't have anything to do with ETS or its testing centers. But standardized tests are my one saving grace amidst the many things I fuck up on a daily basis. (Left or right? I don't know! Triangle geometry? All good!) Since I only took the (insert expletive of choice) computer-based general test--my chemistry subject isn't scheduled until November--my advice is

say hello to my little friend


This week I learned that fume hoods are not invincible. The way the ones in my lab are made, there are little steel cables in the sides. If one of those cables should happen to snap...the sash will do one of two things. When this bit of misfortune befell one of my labmates, he found that his sash would move (with some effort) and then stick in whatever position he left it in if he tilted it to

My Apartment


...or a visual representation of smectic-like Langmuir-Blodgett films? We report, you decide.Taken from the liquid-crystal group at Universität-Hamburg. They have a little feature called "LC in Daily Life" where they show real-world, artistic representations of various liquid-crystal phases. Some are really clever (chiral doping in smectic phases), some are weird (discotic CT complex), some are

lots of ink


A while ago, I was trying to collect pictures of chemistry tattoos. I wasn't very successful, but Carl Zimmer (ScienceBlogs' The Loom) has amassed quite a few. He was even mentioned in C&EN. If you're interested, go check them out!

ChemComm: The Organic Materials Journal


ψ*ψ won't post it, so I will:A new functionalization strategy for pentaceneEnjoy. Do pay close attention to the authors. ;)(so the score is now: ψ*ψ 1, Excimer 0. I'd like to say I'm working on that, but... seminar... *gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaag*)

lolnano contest!


Following one of our last posts, one of the commenters (thanks, Russ!) had an idea. We're stealing it! CBC is hosting a lolnano-themed Chemdraw (or ISIS, or whatever you use) contest.Rules:1. All entries must be the original work of the person who submits them. (On the honor system, of course.)2. Structures must be reasonable. (If we see five bonds to carbon, we'll send the ninjas after you.)

yet another perylene


I know perylene diimides are nothing new for CBC.[1] I can't give you something new every week, you know, because I can only work on so many projects at once. But they're still pretty, no matter how often I see them.[2] (Or how much I hate trying to crystallize them, either, for that matter.) Which is why the entire point of this post is to put up yet another picture...[3] So here's another