Showing posts from January, 2019

Alchemy and the Road to Science

Today alchemy conjures up images of boiling cauldrons and magic elixirs, but the past reveals its lasting impact on the foundation of science. Alchemy began in ancient Egypt, sometime between the 4th and 3rd century BC, with the aim of transmuting base metals (i.e led) into noble metals, such as gold. In the 8th century AD, Arab alchemists invented the first laboratories for transmutation, creating complex methods of classification and documentation. Jabir ibn Hayyan and Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi even made breakthroughs in chemistry, discovering sulfuric and hydrochloric acid. Alchemy Stock Photos Islamic alchemy inspired the later European search for the philosopher’s stone, an object believed to turn base metals into gold and bestow its owner with eternal life. The investigation lasted hundreds of years and although unsuccessful, produced countless experiments and lengthy chronicles of their results. The pursuit of the philosopher’s stone was echoed in China by the search for t…

Around the World in 118 Elements

Look around. How many things exist in the world? Consider that every one of them is comprised of only 118 elements.  In order to understand these elements, we needed a means of organizing and categorizing them. Human beings struggled for millennia to devise such a system and In 1869,  the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev gave us the periodic table as we know it.Stock Images & Video of the Periodic Table Mendeleev created a diagram that resembles a lopsided castle. Each row and column has its own meaning. Each element appears in order according to the number of its protons. For example, H (hydrogen) comes first with 1 proton, He (helium) with 3 protons, and so forth through to Og (oganesson) with 118 protons. The vertical columns, or groups, tells us the number of electrons in the outer orbital and the rows, or periods, tell us the number of electron orbitals an element has. At 46 percent, Oxygen is the most common element on earth.  Carbon is found in all living things: people, d…

Have We Found the True Cause of Alzheimer's?

Alzheimer’s has been a mysterious disease ever since it was discovered. Considered to be a condition that fits into the dementia category, Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by physical changes in the brain that deteriorate brain function, cognitive ability, and memory in a certain pattern. People who are at least 65 years old are most often affected, however, there are also early-onset cases. The progression of Alzheimer’s happens over decades and since the brain is such a complicated organ, it has been difficult for scientists to study. The brain of the patient that had the first named case of Alzheimer’s disease was found to have amyloid (protein) plaques and tao tangles (tangles of fibers) within it. These abnormalities have long been considered by medical professionals to be one of the main causes of the disease, however recent studies suggest that the true cause could be another condition that happens initially, and this abnormal tissue growth may be a secondary symptom.Stock…

How the Stars Got Their Colors

After seeing hundreds of dazzling galaxies and nebulae in print, one might have a preconceived notion of what it’s like to look through a telescope. The reality, however, is somewhat different. Celestial objects such as galaxies, star clusters, and planetary systems are some of the most beautiful treasures in outer space. Unfortunately, they’re so far away that they mostly appear faint to the naked eye, even when viewed through a telescope. The problem is that, unlike a camera, our eyes cannot adjust their exposure time in order to soak up more light from these distant objects. For astrophotographers to get the vibrant colors of a nebula or galaxy, they need to rely on a number of techniques, including long exposures, color compositing and sometimes editing in post-production. Eagle Nebula, Messier 16. SS2596669. The famous Eagle Nebula pictured here is actually three monochromatic images mapped to different color wavelengths combined to create one image. Some might say that this mak…