Letters: March 2023 | Idea

Letters: March 2023 |  Idea

an actual gem

Andrea Sella’s articles on historic facets of chemistry are at all times Chemistry World. Perhaps it is as a result of I realized my chemistry at a time when most of the components he described had been nonetheless in use. Relating to early discoveries round mild polarization, I’ve at all times been fascinated by a big Icelandic spar (calcite) crystal within the museum in Canterbury. Two pictures produced from one object had been like magic. A couple of years in the past I discovered an outdated guide. Miners’ Handbook, undoubtedly a necessary information for researchers trying to make a fortune within the New World. Along with having tables for calculating the horsepower of water wheels, he launched me to the dichroscope for detecting chirality in minerals and gems. Primarily based on a calcite crystal, glass is a really great tool for distinguishing between stones and paste as it’s anisotropic.

Additionally within the prospector’s toolbox was a direct view spectroscope. There are a number of, my favourite is labeled ‘Rainband Spectroscope’. It was an help for climate forecasting earlier than the times of nationwide climate forecasts. He labored by inspecting weak absorption bands brought on by water vapor within the crimson a part of the spectrum. I primarily use it to detect lanthanide components in glass. Samples containing neodymium exhibit putting shade adjustments when considered with white mild from totally different sources. Armed with a couple of historic chemistry instruments, the world of antiquities is right for these inclined to scientifically search out treasures that the informal observer can’t see.

Perhaps Sella can characteristic the etalon filter in a future article. It shows the photo voltaic disk within the H alpha spectral line, permitting the photo voltaic protrusion to be seen. Now that is actually magic!

Michael Baldwin CChem FRSC
Sittingbourne, United Kingdom


The walrus background in Donna Strickland’s portray linked to her love of British police dramas is ironic once we contemplate her Nobel prize. I’ve been an novice radio operator license (G7LSZ + SA6BID) for years; A part of the territory that comes with it’s data of find out how to construct radio tools and different facets of radioelectronics. Chirp is the variation of the frequency of a pulse as a operate of time. Whereas the chirping of a laser pulse helps the amplification course of, I do know some animals use chirping pulses of their sonars, which isn’t at all times welcome. It is regular to wish to make the spectral width of pulses (dots and contours) as slim as potential in radio transmitters for Morse service, so chirp is taken into account a flaw. The classical purpose could be a provide voltage change brought on by the present drawn by radio frequency energy amplifiers inflicting the frequency of the transmitter to vary.

Mark Foreman CChem MRSC
Gothenburg, Sweden

Full help for half time

I learn the letters about part-time {qualifications} with some curiosity. I owe my attention-grabbing and numerous profession to a stable basis in chemistry derived from a full-time job in addition to part-time coaching. I additionally certified by part-time examine which led to Grad RIC in 1976.

I left Hull Technical School with A-levels in chemistry, physics, and math and joined Reckitt and Colman of their dwelling division labs. They actively promoted day by day evacuation to the Technical School. I took ONC chemistry, physics and math courses, adopted by HNC chemistry and physics courses. I then spent a interval operating a small mechanical and hand instrument engineering enterprise with my father and a colleague whereas persevering with my part-time research for Grad RIC chapters 1 and a pair of.

A couple of years later I turned a technician within the bodily chemistry division on the College of Hull, the place I studied gasoline kinetics, and over two years earned my grasp’s diploma by attending part-time examine programs and presenting a thesis. As I used to be ending this up, I utilized for a job as an experimentation officer on the College of Kent. On the finish of the contract interval, I used to be allowed to show this work, which I had efficiently submitted, right into a doctoral thesis.

Close to the tip of the contract, I met Dot, who can also be a graduate biochemistry technician. After making use of for a job within the growth division on the BP Salt Finish Chemical compounds plant, we obtained married and moved to Hull. In the course of the interview I used to be requested if my Grad RIC and part-time qualification route was pretty much as good because the full-time programs on the universities of London, Oxford and Cambridge, the place many of the graduate consumption that 12 months appeared. I stated that I assumed mine was really higher as a result of I had the benefit of a wider vary of real-life on-the-job coaching and strategies in addition to theoretical data.

I’ve efficiently utilized for each Chartered Chemist standing and the FRSC award throughout my time at BP. I’m now retired, however I nonetheless consider that my preliminary coaching via part-time work alongside actual day-to-day functions of sensible chemistry in examine labs gave me a set of abilities and a mindset that will be troublesome to amass in a purely educational setting. .

Mike Clarke CChem FRSC
Hedingham Fort, United Kingdom

cracking course of

I wish to amplify the advantages of methane pyrolysis, as David Greenslade revealed in his final letter. If we summarize the enter vitality to warmth the methane to 1000°C and the decomposition vitality to kind carbon and hydrogen, an extra of over 400 kJ per mole of methane is produced by the vitality launched from the combustion of this hydrogen. In different phrases, vitality was produced from methane with out creating any carbon dioxide. This could examine very favorably with another means of manufacturing hydrogen.

Steam reforming requires the removing of carbon dioxide in deep geological layers. It makes us hostages of geological luck that can end in a large launch of carbon dioxide sooner or later. Notice the disastrous launch of carbon dioxide from Lake Nyos in Cameroon in 1986 that killed round 1700 folks.

Roger Newman CChem FRSC
Dursley, United Kingdom

Chemistry World welcomes letters that should be brief (usually lower than 300 phrases) and on time. These chosen for publication are topic to enhancing for readability and size. Letters needs to be marked ‘for publication’ and despatched to chemistryworld@rsc.org.

We don’t routinely settle for letters.


We incorrectly labeled alpha-linolenic acid as alpha-linoleic acid within the article on omega-3s (Chemistry World, February 2023, p51). Due to Peter Halls for bringing this to our consideration.

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