How one gesture can make the whole chemistry much easier for kids

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One of the most abstract, difficult things for kids studying chemistry is connecting two different worlds: our macro world and the micro world of molecules. With the new version of the MEL Chemistry app, which is available for iOS and Android, you can simply hold a bottle up to your smartphone camera and see 3D molecule structures of the substance inside the bottle.


Why do shrimps, crabs and lobsters "blush" when cooked?

crabs

Have you ever heard of a unique blue lobster, which is one in a million? Did you know that the pigment responsible for its color is actually …red? It’s that same color that other crustaceans—crabs, shrimps, and the like—turn to when boiled, even though they can otherwise span all possible colors of rainbow (just google “mantis shrimp”!). Where does the red pigment come from, what do crustaceans do with it to look so gorgeously different, and why to they “blush” when boiled?


What is Phlogiston and How Is It Connected to Chemistry?

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In 1667, Johann Joachim Becher formulated the phlogiston theory in an attempt to explain such processes as rusting and combustion. Even though his theory was proven to be wrong by Antoine Lavoisier in 1770s, it helped to generalize a variety of chemical reactions. This was a notable step in establishing of chemistry as a science. So let’s discuss this theory and the proof of its fallacy in more details.


Turning Carbone Dioxide into Useful Products

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According to the Earth System Research Laboratory, on April 2015 the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached the critical value of 403.26 parts per million. What’s worse, though, is that this number increases every year. It is not a secret that carbon dioxide, the man-made portion of which mainly comes from burning fossil fuels and land use change, is the main cause of the greenhouse effect. Can we make anything useful from this enormous amount that will benefit humanity?


Is Oxygen a Big Deal?

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There is a widespread expression: “People say you can’t live without love. I think oxygen is more important.” As for me, I totally agree with the statement. Oxygen is essential for the survival of most organisms on Earth, including ourselves, and if we suffer the lack of this compound, we won’t stay alive for long. However, there are creatures that don’t require oxygen for existence.


What Do Heat Tablets and Food Additives Have in Common?

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Hexamethylenetetramine, also known as hexamine or methenamine, is the main component of heat tablets, which are often used as a heat source by campers and soldiers. However, it has also found an application in polymer synthesis, medicine, and even in food production. Let’s have a closer look at the compound that plays such an important role in our lives.


Our chemistry sets are now ready to order

tin

Hurrah! MEL Science chemistry sets are launching today! We’re ready to process your orders and ship chemistry sets to the US, UK and Russia.


Why sinks do not rust

tinning

If something made of steel and iron is continuously exposed to water, it will rust. Even if the steel is stainless, it will sooner or later corrode as it happens with old ships. Nevertheless, the problem of sink corrosion in our homes is rare. Do you know why?


The Nobel Prize in Physics 2015. Everything you need to know about neutrinos

neutrinos

The Nobel prize is the most prestigious award in the scientific world. This year laureates in physics have just recently been announced. As officially stated, Drs. Takaaki Kajita and Arthur McDonald were awarded jointly “for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass”. But what is it really about? Continue reading and learn more.


Alloys on the service of humanity

alloys

If you ever watched the X-men series, you know Wolverine – the invulnerable mutant with a skeleton made of metal. He can withstand any damage caused to his body, even a nuclear explosion. His bones are made of adamantium, which is the hardest material ever made. But what makes adamantium so special? Is it real and, if not, are there real-life analogues?


Order above all

order

The famous sinking of Titanic was one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. It happened because the liner struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. There is a strange circumstance, though: a huge ship that could float on the water surface got damaged by an iceberg, which is just a big solid water chunk. This disaster shows how different states of aggregation of the same substance result in their different properties.


Let us introduce you... metals!

metals

About 12 000 years ago a man found an unknown stone, which melted in fire without splitting up. That stone was a piece of copper. Without exaggeration, that was probably the most important day in human history, and so began the metal era of humanity, which continues up to present date. Metals surround us everywhere, but do we know what they are and why do they have their remarkable properties?


What did just make Australia's shores glow blue?

biolumin

Recently, the residents of the Australian island Tasmania witnessed an amazing phenomenon . The water in River Derwent turned brilliant blue, thanks to the millions of dinoflagellates – bioluminescent plankton that glows when disturbed. This article will explain you what bioluminescence is and how living organisms, including dinoflagellates, use it.


How did scotch tape lead to a Nobel Prize?

graphene

The two most commonly known forms of carbon that share the same simplest formula “C” are diamond and graphite. But did you know that there are more, including the one that was discovered using a scotch tape by a scientist who made frogs levitate?


Why is green the color of poison?

poison

Have you ever wondered why poison is so often associated with the color green? Take movies or video games, for example: even the vials containing poison would frequently be made of a green glass. Sure, there are poisonous plants and all, but look no further than the 18th century, when some toxic green pigments forever ruined the reputation of the color.


Everest in syringe – an experiment you can make at home

Everest

The weekend is coming. Here is a simple idea of how to make an amazing experiment at home, along with your kids and using makeshift materials. Do you remember the question of whether it takes more or less time to cook an egg on top of Mount Everest? Let’s check it out right now!


Weekly subscription hands-on chemistry sets

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We are finally ready to reveal our first product: a chemistry set that you can use at home! However, it will be very different from anything that’s currently on the market. We’ve identified the three main problems we see in existing chemistry sets and have fixed them in our product. You can also sign up to be notified when the product is released.


Secrets of Hydrogen Combustion

Hydrogen Combustion

We all know the chemical formula of water: H2O. And most of us will be able to write the equation of the chemical reaction that produces water: 2H2 + O2 = 2H2O. But only a few people out of every million can explain how this reaction occurs in reality. Watch the video that explains everything.


Why people watch horror movies?

fear

When an animal is scared, it either fights or flights, but people have found a way of enjoying fear – horror movies. They are one of the most popular genres in modern cinematograph, from the famous “Dracula” and “Psycho” to some brand new movies. What keeps people watching horrors?


DNA-based technologies that will change your life

image

Tomorrow will mark 62 years since the day Watson and Crick built the model of DNA, shortly following the announcement that they had solved “the secret of life”. What if the structure of DNA was never discovered? Would the world be any different? What did the discovery lead to? And now, after years of scientific revolution fueled by it, are there more DNA-based technologies to come?


What if Oscar Awards were made of antimatter?

oscar1

The winners of the 87th Academy Awards have been finally announced. Carefully crafted Oscar statuettes have been handed out to the talented bunch that pleased movie critics the most and made the audience happy. Do you know what the Oscars are made of? How are they made? And, to stir the imagination and bring some physics in, what if they were actually made of antimatter?


What Does The British Queen Have To Do With Chemistry?

queen1

A week ago, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 63 years of reigning on the British throne. Do you know what this event has to do with chemistry? I’ll give you a hint: the Robe of Purple Velvet, a traditional coronation dress of the British Monarchs


A microscope in your pocket

microscope

Smartphone apps are nowadays completely indispensable to most of the people. They are handy, easy to use, widely available and hence very popular. However, until today we have known only some networking and IT-related apps, which are on the one hand useful, but on the other hand do not meet all the customers’ needs. What if we could translate smartphone-computing, apps and cloud technology to such a vital area as medicine? We are not talking about medical handbooks. What if we could examine DNA molecules using our smartphones? This sci-fi idea has recently become a reality.


A hope to fight antibiotic-resistant infections

Molecule of ampicillin

A new study published in Nature this week describes a new class of antibiotics that bacteria are not yet resistant to. This is an important break-through because the last class of antibiotics was found nearly 30 years ago. How do antibiotics work? How do bacteria acquire resistance to antibiotics?


Why do many drugs have multiple actions?

Aspirin

If you read the notes that come with the drugs, prescribed by your doctor, you may have noticed that many of them are usually used to cure multiple medical conditions. For example, aspirin, that became available in form of tablets exactly 100 years ago, is used as a mild painkiller, anti-inflammatory drug or to reduce fever. There are some indications that aspirin can even help to prevent heart attack and stroke. What is the mechanism by which aspirin acts and how could one biologically active compound be used to help in different medical conditions?


How can we improve the effectiveness of vaccines against influenza?

sted

This week 17 years ago Hong Kong government ordered the entire population of 1.4 million chickens to be killed. The reason for their action was the spread of novel and potentially pandemic and deadly new type of bird flu, termed H5N1. What is influenza and why we still cannot find effective treatment against it?


The amazing properties of rubber and the amazing story of its invention

isoprene

What do you feel when the goal of your life, which you devoted the last 15 years to, has been achieved? What’s next? The life story of Charles Goodyear, the inventor of rubber, who was born on this day, is just as unusual as the physical properties of rubber itself. Why do most bodies expand when heated and tires, on the contrary, shrink


Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2014 - how can we see the hidden depth with an optical microscope?

sted

A microscope allows you to see very small species. the microscope has its limitations – if you try to look at an object that is less than 1/5000 of a millimeter, you cannot achieve a contrasting picture. See how scientist developed new tool to overcome this limitation and won the Nobel Prize


Why are not sweeteners as tasty as a real sugar?

Sucrose

Today is December 22nd, the day when Constantin Fahlberg was born. He was the inventor of saccharine, one of the most popular sweetener. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar but it has no food energy (calories) and hence does not lead to obesity. Why do we need sweeteners? What is chemistry behind them?


Was this night the longest night in Earth's history?

Moon

This night December 21st-22nd, was the longest night of the year. However, was it also the longest night in Earth’s history as many websites reported?


Painkillers prevent aging?

Telomere

Recent article in PLOS Genetics demonstrates that Ibuprofen, commonly used anti-inflammatory drug, helps to enhance longevity. How does it work? To understand the mechanism of Ibuprofen action we need to know a bit more about mechanisms of aging.


Reveal fingerprints using super glue

Superglue molecule

This day 102 years ago, the first fingerprint record was taken in USA. Read how to use super glue to reveal latent fingerprints at home. And why superglue sticks to your fingers so much.


How many people can live on Earth?

Ecology

How many people can live on Earth? Everyday we spend some amount of natural resources. All humanity spends resources faster than nature can restore them. How many people should live on Earth for it resources should never end?


Does methane on Mars indicate the presence of life?

Mars

Is methane on the Mars the evidence of life? Science journal published an article containing information about huge amounts of methane in the atmosphere of Mars two days ago. Moreover, scientists claim that methane does not only exist but also being produced on Mars. Can this discovery suggest existence of life on a Mars?


20 years ago, scientists created the element 111 - Roentgenium

Roentgenium

20 years ago, scientists created the element #111. Who would care about an element that lived less than one second? Read how our life is obligated to another element whose life is billions of times shorter.


Hydrogen bubbles explosions

Hydrogen bubbles explosions

We are workin on a video that explains hydrogen burning process. The video will start with a hydrogen bubble explosion and then go deeper to the molecular level where you can see separate molecules and atoms and understand how the burning process happen. While we prepared the video we shoot a lot of hydrogen bubble explosions using a high speed camera. Here is a compilation of the best explosions. Enjoy! No science, just heavenly beauty of fire :)


Mistakes we made in the video about smoke + a challenge about your stomach

Hydrogen nuclear transfer in crystal

Last week we released our first video. As you may remember, in the end we asked you to find mistakes in this video. Today, we will look into the mistakes we made. Some of them we made on purpose for artistic reasons. Some moments that other chemists pointed out to us as mistakes were not mistakes indeed – several details here were so counterintuitive that many people did not believe that the action process happened exactly as we described it. I will also show how scientists find molecule structures.


Smoke without a fire under a virtual microscope with 100,000,000x magnification

Smoke of ammonium chloride

This is about an old chemical trick regarding how to move smoke from one corner of a room to another. We’ll unveil the secret and explain the chemistry reaction behind this trick on the molecular level using a virtual microscope with 100,000,000x magnification. And finally our thoughts as to why we have chosen this chemistry experiment for our first video.


What kind of programmer I am looking for

More than half of Quake was written by John Carmack alone

About our restricting principles, such as “we never partner up with anyone “, “no bonuses”, “we don’t buy anyone and don’t sell ourselves to anyone “, “no bullshit”, “no discounts “, “we turn down any state support “, “we don’t hire non-scientific people (even designers and marketing managers)”, and many others; a dev-lead position who will have to create an entire set of our programs: a library for emulating chemical reactions, a 3D visualizer of molecular reaction dynamics (most probably, using Unity3D), a virtual chemical lab, a website with tasks and social mechanics, the entire software package for the tablet to be included with the set; this developer will not be working on all of this alone, but he will be the first one to lay the foundation for all these programs.


Looking for a greenhouse

Greenhouse

One of the things than you face in smaller companies is that you have to do everything on your own. Small problems that were magically solved in an instant in a large company – travel arrangements, office supplies, computers, contracts and such – become a major pain in the neck here. I want to find a company that I can “outsource” all of my secondary activities to. And if there is none out there, I’ll create it.


What we are going to do + 3D designer

How differential works

On the importance of proper visuals in science and education; position of a 3D designer well-versed in physics and chemistry; answer to the problem about washed clothes drying up in frosty air; and a new problem about a turning train.


Here goes! Looking for a quantum chemist

Inner life of a cell

Finally! The company has been registered, a temporary office rented, now it’s time to start looking for people! First of all, I am looking for a quantum chemist in Saint Petersburg. As a bonus, I am sharing an awesome question about laundry and frost.