My cousin’s chemistry themed center pieces

that is awesome.

"Cannon Fire" Experiment

Big purple flames, loud bangs and flashes!


  • KMnO4, 0.5 g
  • 6% H2O2, 30 mL
  • Ethanol, 20 mL
  • Evaporating dish

 Add H2O2 and ethanol to evaporating dish (don’t mix). Ignite the mixture. Then add the KMnO4. The flame will be purple and larger, and a series loud bangs is caused by the pockets of O2 rapidly produced.

Net ionic equation: 2MnO4– + 3H2O2 → 2MnO2 + 2H2O + 3O2 + 2OH–

Note: video does not belong to me. Simply spreading the awesomeness of highly exothermic science!


Watch a Live Feed of Tonight’s Northern Lights

Are you too far south or in too bright of a city to catch the spectacular auroras that have been streaking across the sky lately?

Not to worry. The Canadian Space Agency’s AuroraMAX Camera — located in the city of Yellowknife, near the Arctic Circle — can fulfill all your Northern-Light-viewing needs every night from now until late May (the camera shuts down during the Arctic summer, when the midnight sun prevents aurora viewing).

Read more on Wired

Source: ACS Molecule of the Week

Skatole, or 3-methylindole, is a foul-smelling constituent of mammalian feces; it is produced by the decomposition of tryptophan in the digestive tract. It has a floral aroma at low concentrations, contributing to the pleasant smell of flowers such as jasmine and orange blossoms. Skatole also occurs naturally in substances as diverse as beetroot and coal tar.

Note: Grey = carbon, white = hydrogen, blue = nitrogen




Things Miss Frizzle Would Drive

The car for those that LOVE chemistry far too much.


10 g Boric acid + methanol + a couple drops of concentrated sulfuric acid in a water cooler jug… Swirled around to produce flammable boric acid trimethyl ester, B(H3CO)3. Drop a burning splint and rapid combustion + a loud whoosh noise is what you get :) It’s green because boron compounds burn with a green flame.

Here is the production of the ester:

B(OH)3 + 3 CH3OH —> B(H3CO)3 + 3 H2O

Boric acid + methanol —> boric acid trimethyl ester + water

The reason for adding concentrated sulfuric acid is to shift the equilibrium to the right toward the ester because sulfuric acid is very hygroscopic (moisture absorbing) and it removes water from the system.

Oh look, it's a ghost!

Here, two types of cells in the cerebellum are shown: glia and Purkinje neurons. The cells can be distinguished because of a method that relies on the body’s immune system and its antibodies — proteins that recognize and latch onto “foreign substances.” Biologists now use antibodies to reveal where certain proteins are found in the brain. Here, red is an antibody staining of a protein that’s found in glia cells, while green reveals a protein called IP3, of which Purkinje neurons are chockfull.


Fire-breathing Experiment

All you need is a source of fire and corn starch.

1. Inhale and put corn starch in mouth. Do not inhale corn starch or you will possibly get a lung infection and die. INHALE BEFORE PUTTING IN MOUTH.

2. Blow corn starch out through source of fire. It’s better to blow slightly upward than downward. 

3. You must blow the starch out in a fine powdery mist. Keep your lips tight and blow as hard as you can. If you blow out clumps of corn starch, it will not burn because there is not enough oxygen in between each particle.