Thursday, June 10, 2004

Ten chemical/scientific concepts that most people don't know

Here is my pseudo-response to a long-ago post and Shelby's corresponding comment (which I realize was only meant to humor me.)

1. A scientific law is a description of a natural phenomenon which is true in all areas of science. It can often be expressed mathematically.

2. A theory is an attempt to explain "why" or "how," based on lots of observation, experimentation, and revision. A theory cannot be proved, but it can be disproved. Theories do not "grow up" to become laws.

3. Thermodynamically speaking, there IS such a thing as spontaneous combustion.

4. Most people who study chemistry don't know "what happens when you mix...........?" So don't ask them.

5. Every physical thing in the entire universe is either a chemical or a mixture of chemicals. Anyone who tells you that something "contains no chemicals" is either lying or ignorant.

6. Results of radiometric dating are highly questionable. (Here is a technical article, a much less technical article, and one very convincing article. You can find these and more here.)

7. Experimental evidence does not support the idea that electrons travel around the nucleus in fixed orbits (like planets around the sun.) Though most atoms are represented in this way, it is generally believed that these representations are inaccurate.

8. NaCl (sodium chloride) is not a molecule.

9. Most "neon" lights don't actually contain any neon.

10. Dilithium crystals, (which any true Trekkie (NOT me) would know power the Starship Enterprise,) can be explained, theoretically, by the Molecular Orbital Theory, but do not, actually, exist. (Try not to be too disappointed.)

Okay, any of you chem geeks want to add anything? Feel free.

I might have to do a little blogging about numbers 1 and 2 in the future.