The etymology and meaning of methyl, ethyl, propyl, butyl

Chemistry study often feels like learning a new language due to its extensive vocabulary. Understanding word origins can greatly improve memory retention. Early chemistry nomenclature includes memorizing roots like methyl, ethyl, propyl, and butyl, representing 1 to 4 carbon chains in functional groups. This article offers a thorough explanation for those studying or interested in the origins of these roots. For more information including explanation of the diagrams, see Structure of Organic Molecules.

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Penrose Tessellation Cookie Cutters

Over the holiday break, I took a little time for a side quest that engaged my creativity while involving mathematics, 3D modeling, and baking. I designed a pattern based on Penrose tiles and made it into cookies.

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Lunar Eclipse 2022

This photograph is a time-lapse of the total lunar eclipse on May 15, 2022, taken in the Paradise Valley of the Yellowstone River in southwestern Montana just north of Yellowstone National Park. The moon rises in near-totality in the East, ascending like a firework above the Absaroka Range. 

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No Borders on Stolen Lands International Juried Exhibition

I just received news that my latest work of digital art entitled “No Borders on Stolen Stars” has been accepted into the No Borders on Stolen Land International Juried Art Exhibition.

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Antiqua Vesicae

This photograph depicts the union of sun and earth in life through photosynthesis. Facilitated by solar energy, algae build silica frustules which eventually sink to the seafloor, becoming diatomaceous earth, the chalky substance which traces out the vesica piscis shape found in this image.

Now available for purchase. 

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The Etymology and Meaning of Anode and Cathode

The terms “anode” and “cathode” were first published by Michael Faraday, F.R.S. in 1834. A delightful (and highly recommended) historical account of how these words were conceived by Faraday and his associates can be found in Faraday Consults the Scholars: The Origins of the Terms of Electrochemistry by Sydney Ross [1]. As scientists have learned about how electrochemistry works, the definitions have evolved somewhat. The following is a brief summary of their etymology and their meaning as it stands today in electrochemical circuits. In the course of my own study of electrochemistry, I thought other students may find this information helpful in keeping everything straight.

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Cooking chicken with a powerful slap

A question has been going around social networks: If kinetic energy is converted to thermal energy upon impact, how hard do you need to slap a chicken to cook it? One response suggested raising the chicken’s temperature to 400 °F, which is far too hot, and it used an “average slap energy” that was not explained. Here then, is my analysis.

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