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Erica K. Jacobsen's blog

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Sowing the Seeds of Science

Wed, 01/14/2015 - 15:26 -- Erica K. Jacobsen

“On the third day of Christmas, my mailman brought to me… three gardening catalogs.” Jumping the gun? Or marketing genius? The doldrums after the holiday were a perfect time for these pages with their promise of spring. Their arrival kicked off an evening of grand plans. Somewhere along the line, chemistry crept in.

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The Scent of a Chemistry Flashback

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 16:00 -- Erica K. Jacobsen
Marbling art project

You’ve heard the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” How many words for a smell? A single whiff of a familiar scent can whisk me back into the past. Wash my hands with Dove soap—I find myself standing in my grandmother’s house. Walk by someone wearing Eternity cologne—I’m back in high school with an old boyfriend. Spray out a foamy mound of Barbasol shaving cream—I’m standing at an exhibit booth talking about the Journal of Chemical Education (JCE). That was a fragrant flashback moment I had last month. As I followed my nose to the past, it led me to a solution for the present.

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Seeing Is Not Believing

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 16:35 -- Erica K. Jacobsen

“It sort of started to look kind of like a very pale blue.”

A friend who teaches at the middle school level told me about a science experiment he’d done with his students. The procedure suggested to students that a particular solution would turn blue, but also asked them to write down what they saw happen. The thing was, it wasn’t actually designed to turn blue.

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