Uncovering Your Passion for Chemistry: What Drives You?

In summary, azidotetrazoles are a dangerous and unstable chemical that few researchers are interested in.f
  • #1
So it’s not so much a question solely based around chemistry as a subject it’s more about you. The individual reading this. I want to know why you have such a great interest for chemistry. Is it just something you find fun?, is it the deeper understanding of the universe you enjoy?, is it the understanding of why things act the way they do that interests you?? It’s more of a personal question but I would love to hear :)
 
  • #2
To paraphrase Mallory: "Because it's there."
 
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  • #3
I did enjoy playing with molymods in Year 11 Science (but that dates back to 2003).
 
  • #4
First love was Chemistry because mum got me a chemistry set when I was a kid and I adored it.

By the time I started secondary school I already knew all the names of the salts I used and the apparatus.

I think the Bunsen burner was methanol.

By the time I had my first “science” lesson in the school lab 1978 I felt at home.

When we got to atomic theory, equations everything seemed to make sense.

Everything was made of these things and to go from to the next you simply added more particles. Brilliant.

The Manchester connection was mentioned, Dalton probably, not Rutherford / Bohr yet.

Biology took over as the systems were more interesting to me but I do remember revising for Chemistry O level when France were playing England in the world cup in 1982.

A level Chemistry was ok, I liked the nuclear stuff, physical and Organic, inorganic put me to sleep.

Applied Biology at Uni but I took Chemistry units as electives and my first job was spectroscopy connected to a Chemistry lab.

I have to keep with a lot of regulatory stuff so Chemistry is never far away.

Would I have made a good Chemist?

If I would have decided that is what really interested me at A level then possibly.

I like the fact the organic Chemist at my first job wore jeans and rock band T-shirt under his lab coat, I wore a shirt and tie under mine!
 
  • #5
Something like this, I think I had No. 4.
Note the pink Bunsen burner!

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  • #6
So it’s not so much a question solely based around chemistry as a subject it’s more about you. The individual reading this. I want to know why you have such a great interest for chemistry. Is it just something you find fun?, is it the deeper understanding of the universe you enjoy?, is it the understanding of why things act the way they do that interests you?? It’s more of a personal question but I would love to hear :)
Yes I had a passion for it from the age of about 10. I used to enjoy mixing up household chemicals and in my early teens loved reading the ancient Mellors Inorganic Chemistry book which my dad had. I then went on to spend most of my working life mixing chemicals up in various labs to make stuff and even now at 83 I am still doing it at home with a room full of wall to wall chemicals. Yes I am very safety conscious and have never had an accident.
 
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  • #7
Yes I had a passion for it from the age of about 10. I used to enjoy mixing up household chemicals and in my early teens
Hopefully you never mixed bleach and ammonia. Oh wait, you're still alive so you didn't do that. Nevermind... :wink:
 
  • #8
Hopefully you never mixed bleach and ammonia. Oh wait, you're still alive so you didn't do that. Nevermind... :wink:

Surviving chemistry is not only a matter of knowing what to do and what to do not, it is also a matter of luck with prevailing winds. And running speed.
 
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  • #9
Hopefully you never mixed bleach and ammonia. Oh wait, you're still alive so you didn't do that. Nevermind...

Surviving chemistry is not only a matter of knowing what to do and what to do not, it is also a matter of luck with prevailing winds. And running speed.

Here's a hilarious blog post I remember:

Things I Won't Work With: Azidoazide Azides, More Or Less (by Derek Lowe)
https://www.science.org/content/blog-post/things-i-won-t-work-azidoazide-azides-more-or-less

Blog post said:
It’s time for another dispatch from the land of spiderweb-cracked blast shields and “Oh well, I never liked that fume hood, anyway”

[...]

The most alarming of them has two carbons, fourteen nitrogens, and no hydrogens at all, a formula that even Klapötke himself, who clearly has refined sensibilities when it comes to hellishly unstable chemicals, calls “exciting”. Trust me, you don’t want to be around when someone who works with azidotetrazoles comes across something “exciting”.

[...]

There are no conceivable uses for it – well, other than blowing up Raman spectrometers, which is a small market – and the number of research groups who would even contemplate a resynthesis can probably be counted on one well-armored hand.
 
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  • #10
Reminds me Ignition:

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  • #12
Two reasons for being interested in chemistry. It is a part of nature, a very important part. The most important manifestation of it is called Life.

Time to plug a little saying of mine of which I have never heard a refutation: most chemistry is biochemistry. In the sense of reactions and stuff that happens. On Earth, now, at any rate.

Another reason is it is a very important part of non-nature. We have created millions of compounds, molecules and other combinations that have never existed before, certainly in the history of the world and possibly of the universe. Some of them have striking colours, smells, other dynamic effects, attract attention, some have been produced in large quantities, some of course we now wish we didn't have. So quite a few specialists have justification as well as a fascination to be interested in that too.
 
  • #13
Hopefully you never mixed bleach and ammonia. Oh wait, you're still alive so you didn't do that. Nevermind... :wink:
Yes, I still remember a bit of a sentence I read in Mellor's Inorganic Chemistry book from 70 years ago which said that the chemist Dulong ".....lost three fingers and one eye " making nitrogen trichloride !
 
  • #14
Yes, I still remember a bit of a sentence I read in Mellor's Inorganic Chemistry book from 70 years ago which said that the chemist Dulong ".....lost three fingers and one eye " making nitrogen trichloride !
Upvoted because the same fact from the same book back then I think has stuck in my mind ever since.
 
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  • #15
Yes, I still remember a bit of a sentence I read in Mellor's Inorganic Chemistry book from 70 years ago which said that the chemist Dulong ".....lost three fingers and one eye " making nitrogen trichloride !
My supervisor suggested using a very strong acid and a wire wool filter to dissolve a product from the OC lab for NMR.

Everything just kind of disappeared, the product and the wire wool almost instantly. Mm, sorry lads we going to need more product!
She had a PhD so very strong acid wire wool probably just slipped her mind! I did not challenge her.
We had a quick laugh and she told me a story about a guy who stole some Hydrofluoric acid to 'clean' his car windscreen which had got badly scratched.
Incorrect PPE resulted in it being absorbed into his hand.
Treated for burns his hand became "floppy" the acid had dissolved the bones in his hand.
I believed her, she had a doctorate right!?

Along similar lines my chemistry teacher told us that a boy stole some Sodium because they like the demonstration where it fizzes and pops in water.
On the way home from school the Sodium which was in his pocket, started to react with the air and moisture in his skin burning him. In panic he jumped into the canal....

I really hope that was a life lesson story rather than an actual event!

1.Pay attention in chemistry class, Sodium is stored in oil for a reason.
2. Don't steal stuff!
 
  • #16
As of recently: It has given me a synthesis and analytical skillset that physics wouldn't have given me while still allowing me to study pure physics.
 
  • #17
..........................................................................................................................................................
We had a quick laugh and she told me a story about a guy who stole some Hydrofluoric acid to 'clean' his car windscreen which had got badly scratched.
Incorrect PPE resulted in it being absorbed into his hand.
Treated for burns his hand became "floppy" the acid had dissolved the bones in his hand.
I believed her, she had a doctorate right!?............................................................................
I once read that if you dropped a dead mouse into a plastic beaker of hydrofluoric acid you would finish up with a clear solution. I have always wondered how true that was. Does anyone here know?
 
  • #18
I once read that if you dropped a dead mouse into a plastic beaker of hydrofluoric acid you would finish up with a clear solution. I have always wondered how true that was. Does anyone here know?
Proteins, fats, blood, keratin have colour via chromophores. If the mechanism whereby those things absorb and emit light is completely destroyed then yes. Going into solution just on its own though does not mean colour is lost.
Pigments are insoluble and have colour, dyes have colour but are soluble.
I am more applications than colour chemistry.
@Borek
 

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