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11 May 02:34

Carl Sagan on the Enchantment of Chemistry, with Stunning Illustrations by Artist Vivian Torrence

by Maria Popova

“We too are made of starstuff.”


Carl Sagan on the Enchantment of Chemistry, with Stunning Illustrations by Artist Vivian Torrence

I have always been fascinated by transformation — the seemingly magical process, sometimes delicate and sometimes violent, by which a something becomes a something-else. This, perhaps, is why I chose chemistry as a concentration in my science-intensive Bulgarian high school. When I came to the United States for university, I was bewildered to realize that the college-level American textbooks of my high school curriculum were not necessarily a reflection of my teachers’ academic overambition but of the fact that high-school-level chemistry textbooks were simply a rarity bordering on a nonentity in America, where chemistry was not a required subject in the high school curriculum.

Carl Sagan (November 9, 1934–December 20, 1996) laments this fact in his poetic foreword to Chemistry Imagined: Reflections on Science (public library) — a beautiful and unusual book, part primer and part lyrical serenade, by the Nobel-winning chemist Roald Hoffmann, intended to ignite in young people a zest for the enchantments of chemistry through the intersection of art and science. A believer in the fertile common ground between poetry and science, Hoffmann — himself a poet as well as a scientist — weaves original poems about the processes, phenomena, and history of science throughout his elegant expository prose. Accompanying his writing are intricate collage paintings by artist Vivian Torrence, who came to the project through the gates of wonderment, governed by her conviction that modern science is “a symbolic search, using the powers of logic and intellect as the driving force to find what is real.”

“Patterns” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.

Although as a scientist, Sagan had always been animated by an electric love of chemistry’s charms — his explanation of how stars are born, live, die, and give us life is a classic — he must have composed his foreword from a far more personal place. At that particular point in time, the mutations of myelodysplasia — the rare form of cancer that would eventually take his life — were already coursing through his body. Chemotherapy would soon be his lifeline. In order for his body not to reject the bone marrow transfusion he received from his sister, Sagan would take seventy-two pills labeled “BIOHAZARD” in a single sitting — chemistry at its most acutely double-edged.

“A Hands-on Approach” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.

In these final years of his life, Sagan brings his singular gift for science and romance to the foreword:

Except for the two simplest, hydrogen and helium, atoms are made in stars. A cascade of thermonuclear reactions builds hydrogen and helium up into ever larger and more complex atoms which are then spewed out into interstellar space as the star ages and dies. There they drift for ages, occasionally coming close enough to one another to make a bond. Then two or more atoms make a commitment to go through life together. These bonds are the business of chemistry. In an eon or two a maelstrom of self-gravitating interstellar matter gathers up solitary atoms, and those bonded with their fellows, and plunges them into a forming planetary system. Four and a half billion years ago, that is what happened in our neck of the galactic woods. Our warm and well-illuminated little world is one result. All the atoms of Earth (hydrogen and helium still excepted) derive from these distant and ancient interstellar events — the silicon in the rocks, the nitrogen in the air, the oxygen atoms in a mountain stream; the calcium in our bones, the potassium in our nerves, and the carbon and other atoms that in exquisite detail encode our genetic instructions and job orders for making a human being. We too are made of starstuff.

There is hardly an aspect of our lives that is not touched fundamentally by chemistry: electronics and computers; food and nutrition; depletion of the protective ozone layer; mining and metals; medicine and pharmaceuticals; every disease including AIDS and cancer, schizophrenia and manic-depressive syndrome; drugs, legal and illegal; toxic water; and much of what we call human nature. We are, at least in large part, the way we are because of the atoms and molecules that make us up, and how they interact. In a deep and fundamental way chemistry makes us us.

There is something of William Blake in Torrence’s stunning drawings, which bring to life Hoffmann’s narrative tracing the history of chemistry from the rudimentary ideas of the Ancient Greeks, who first theorized the atom, to the transmutations of the medieval alchemists, in whose hands science and superstition commingled, to the catalytic breakthroughs of eighteenth-century science, which inspired titans of poetry like Goethe and Coleridge, to the advent of spectroscopy in the nineteenth century, which revolutionized our understanding of the universe, to the atomic age of the twentieth century, which forever changed our relationship to nature.

“Radium” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Greek Air” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Greek Earth” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Greek Fire” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Greek Water” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Natural Cycles” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“The Periodic Table” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Amazing Growth” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Energy and Form” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Theory and Practice” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“The Chemist” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Simply Burning” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“The Philosopher’s Stone” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Celebrating Solutions” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Phlogiston” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Air of Revolution” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Intermediary” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Chinese Elements” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Blood Counts” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Seeing to the Center of Things” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Affinities” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Possibilities and Pragmatics” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Chemical Arts” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“The Grail” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“On the Crystal Scale” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Steps and Processes” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Formulation” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.
“Forces Constant” by Vivian Torrence from Chemistry Imagined by Roald Hoffmann.

That treasures like Chemistry Imagined fade out of print fills me with sadness for a system that is supposed to steward books and infuse the body of culture with substantive literature, but instead prioritizes what is easily marketable over what is lastingly meaningful. Complement this particular forgotten treasure, which is well worth a trip to the library or the second-hand bookstore, with Edward Livingston Youman’s splendid Victorian diagrams of how chemistry works, the story of how Mendeleev discovered his periodic table in a dream, and Berenice Abbott’s arresting black-and-white photographs of scientific processes and phenomena, then revisit Sagan on the power of books in protecting democracy and his timeless, increasingly timely wisdom on moving beyond “us” vs. “them” in bridging the divides of culture.


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03 Dec 00:09

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28 Nov 11:03

thenatsdorf: Cat “powers up” before attack. [full video]



thenatsdorf:

Cat “powers up” before attack. [full video]

19 Sep 12:19

It’s hard to choose ....

03 Sep 21:12

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16 Aug 02:59

flippyspoon:uh that’s genius



flippyspoon:

uh that’s genius

12 Aug 01:47

thegoddesschi: thisacelovessabriel: listsoflifehacks: Secret...





















thegoddesschi:

thisacelovessabriel:

listsoflifehacks:

Secret Recipes To Try At Home

@drakenflagreon

Hooooomagawd

08 Aug 18:41

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04 Aug 17:42

solitaryfossil: sonypraystation: kathy with the scorching...





solitaryfossil:

sonypraystation:

kathy with the scorching tea

LOL - Kathy!

Did it work?

16 Jun 19:58

kaorijoy: peopleareaproblem: dimedog:“So this is Jack and he...



kaorijoy:

peopleareaproblem:

dimedog:

“So this is Jack and he has some sort of type of laryngeal paralysis? At least thats what the vet told me.”

Jack: [in the voice of a disillusioned 60-year old man] “Mow. Maow.”

Human holding camera: “This is Jack.“

Jack: “Whoa. Maow.”

Human: “His voice is a little deeper than most cats.”

Jack: “Eugh.”

Human: “Hey buddy.”

Human: [whistles and tuts] “Say hi? Say hi?”

Jack: “Meow.”

Human: “Good boy!”

@captioned-miscellaneous-videos

Lord this cat sounds like George takei.

07 Jun 02:12

50 Essential Recipes for Memorial Day Weekend — Recipes from The Kitchn

by Kelli Foster

Memorial Day weekend is on the horizon, and we couldn't be more excited for this unofficial start to summer! This is your signal to fire up the grill, dust off your cooler, and get your favorite picnic blanket ready — because it's time for backyard BBQs and cookouts galore.

As for what to cook, you can't go wrong with the classics: juicy burgers, creamy coleslaw, and don't forget the pasta salad! We're also including some dishes you might not have considered but that are destined to become favorites. From veggie kebabs to no-bake cakes to pitcher drinks for all, these are the 50 essential recipes that will make your Memorial Day weekend amazing.

READ MORE »

26 Apr 01:00

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23 Apr 18:43

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06 Apr 23:47

bigchiefatl: ladiosa-jade: 🎯 Facts



bigchiefatl:

ladiosa-jade:

🎯

Facts

02 Apr 02:17

guribot:when did video games get so realistic





guribot:

when did video games get so realistic

25 Mar 22:13

Reminder: You Can Get Free Digital Audiobooks From Your Library

by Thorin Klosowski

Your local library has all kinds of perks, but one I continually forget about is its collection of digital audiobooks. Considering how much audiobooks usually cost, this is a great little benefit.

Read more...

21 Mar 02:12

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20 Mar 22:52

The day in the news











The day in the news

20 Mar 03:11

gen4 3.2”, The New Intelligent Display Modules

by elab

4D Systems, the manufacturer of intelligent graphics solutions, has announced a new 3.2” smart display module as part of the ‘ gen4 ’ series, which had been designed specifically for ease of integration and use, with careful consideration for space requirements and functionality.

These modules features a 3.2” color TFT display with options for Cover Lens Bezel (CLB), Resistive Touch and Capacitive Touch. The display is capable of Touch Detection, microSD memory Storage, GPIO and Communications, along with multiple millisecond resolution timers, and Audio Generation. gen4 modules have 30 pin ZIF socket for a 30 pin FPC cable, for easy and simple connection to an application or a motherboard.

The gen4 display modules are powered by the 4D Systems Diablo16 graphics processor that offers an array of functionality and options for any Designer / Integrator / User. Diablo16 is a custom embedded 4DGL graphics controller designed to interface with many popular OLED and LCD display panels.

gen4 display modules features:

  • Powerful 3.2” Intelligent LCD-TFT display module powered by DIABLO16.
  • 240 x 320 Resolution, RGB 65K true to life colours, TFT Screen with integrated 4-wire Resistive Touch Panel (on DT model only).
  • 6 banks of 32750 bytes of Flash memory for User Application Code and Data.
  • 32Kb of SRAM purely for the User.
  • 16 General Purpose I/O pins for user interfacing, which include 4 configurable Analog Inputs.
  • The GPIO is variously configurable for alternative functions such as:
    • 3x I2C channels available.
    • 1x SPI dedicated for SD Card and 3x configurable SPI channels available.
    • 1x dedicated and 3x configurable TTL Serial comm ports available.
    • Up to 6 GPIO can be used as Pin Counters.
    • Up to 6 GPIO for PWM (simple and Servo).
    • Up to 10 GPIO for Pulse Output.
    • Up to 14 GPIO can be configured for Quadrature Encoder Inputs (2 channels).
  • 30pin FPC connection, for all signals, power, communications, GPIO and programming.
  • On-board latch type micro-SD memory card connector for multimedia storage and data logging purposes.
  • DOS compatible file access (FAT16 format) as well as low level access to card memory.
  • Dedicated PWM Audio pin driven by WAV files from micro-SD card, and for sound generation, for an external amplifier.
  • Display full colour images, animations, icons and video clips.
  • Supports all available Windows fonts.
  • 4.0V to 5.5V range operation (single supply).
  • Module dimensions:
    • (D): 95.7 x 57.1 x 6.3mm.
    • (D-CLB): 98.8 x 72.6 x 7.4mm.
    • (DT): 95.7 x 57.1 x 7.5mm.
    • (DCT-CLB): 98.8 x 72.6 x 8.3mm.
  • 4x mounting tabs with 3.2mm holes for mechanical mounting using M3 screws.
  • RoHS and REACH compliant.
  • CE Compliant – please ask for CE declarations from our Support Team.

The intelligent gen4 displays can be programmed via Workshop4 IDE. It provides an integrated software development platform for all of the 4D family of processors and modules. The IDE combines the Editor, Compiler, Linker and Downloader to develop complete 4DGL application code.

gen4 modules are available in 4 models:

  • gen4-uLCD-32D (non Touch, without Cover Lens Bezel)
  • gen4-uLCD-32DT (Resistive Touch, without Cover Lens Bezel)
  • gen4-uLCD-32D-CLB (non Touch, Cover Lens Bezel)
  • gen4-uLCD-32DCT-CLB (Capacitive Touch, with Cover Lens Bezel)

The module is available on the official website with a range of $55 to $79 including interface board, 150mm FFC cable, and a quick start guide. Starter kits are also available from $75 to $99.

The post gen4 3.2”, The New Intelligent Display Modules appeared first on Electronics-Lab.

20 Mar 03:08

aku-no-homu: つよい by @nekoninja_core

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Anatomically Correct Spider-Man

Corridor humorously imagines how Spider-Man, functioned more like a real spider...(Read...)

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09 Dec 00:47

Forward!

by Greg Ross

http://publicdomainreview.org/collections/the-difficulty-of-ruling-over-a-diverse-nation-1578/

“The difficulty of ruling over a diverse nation,” a 1578 engraving by Antwerp-based artist Pieter van der Borcht the Elder.

James A. Garfield wrote, “All free governments are managed by the combined wisdom and folly of the people.”

From the Public Domain Review.

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weloveshortvideos: The moment your dreams die.



weloveshortvideos:

The moment your dreams die.

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paisleyasfuck: same

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dougiefromscotland: thevortexofourminds: Buster his timing...





dougiefromscotland:

thevortexofourminds:

Buster

his timing was peerless

15 May 02:18

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10 May 16:13

gifsboom: Lemme just take a picture of you real...



gifsboom:

Lemme just take a picture of you real quick.

(via SmileyFace-_-)