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Hal Harris's picture

Catalyst, a Novel

Fri, 08/01/1997 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

It's not too late to do some recreational reading this summer. "Catalyst" is an enjoyable, light read, especially for chemists. How often do you find a novel that includes catalysis, NMR, mass spectrometry, TLC, some scientific misconduct, and a little sex?

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River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

Wed, 04/02/1997 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

The "river" to which Dawkins refers in the title of this little (172 page) book is the river of digital genetic information that connects us to our human ancestors and to the rest of life on our planet. I find this metaphor to be an extremely provocative one, and I suspect that it would appeal to many of our computer-addicted students.

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When Hazy Skies are Rising

Tue, 04/01/1997 - 00:00 -- Hal Harris

If you have students looking for an interesting science project, the May Scientific American has a nice one. A sun photometer can be used to determine the amount of haze in the atmosphere, and this article describes one that can be built in a couple of hours for less than $20 (although you also need to have a voltmeter).

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Teaching Chemistry Embedded in History: Reflections on C. K. Ingold's Influence as Historian and Educator

Sat, 03/01/1997 - 00:00 -- Hal Harris

The Bulletin for the History of Chemistry is the official publication of the American Chemical Society's Division for the History of Chemistry. The most recent issue is dedicated to the contributions of C. K. Ingold, one of the founders of physical organic chemistry. It records the proceedings of a symposium at the ACS meeting in Chicago in 1993.

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Observation of Interference Between Two Bose Condensates

Sun, 02/02/1997 - 01:00 -- Hal Harris

The very first of "Hal's Picks", back in 1995, was the announcement of the first experimental observation of a Bose-Einstein condensate. This can be considered as a new phase of matter, in which atoms in a cold cluster lose their separate identities, because their deBroglie wavelengths exceed the dimension of the group in which they find themselves.

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Enantiomeric Excesses in Meteoritic Amino Acids

Sat, 02/01/1997 - 00:00 -- Hal Harris

The origin of the molecular "handedness" that pervades earth's biology has been an evolutionary puzzle. Given that right and left-handed amino acids have equal energies, why do only the left-handed ones participate in biosynthesis? One hypothesis is that life started from templates that arose from extraterrestrial sources, such as meteors.