Archive by date | July 2011

Element of the month: Selenium stories

It was while making sulfuric acid that Jöns Jacob Berzelius — ‘the father of Swedish chemistry’ — noticed a red residue which he first took for tellurium, as Russell Boyd from Dalhousie University notes in this month’s ‘in your element’ article (subscription required). A more meticulous investigation, however, revealed that the residue displayed different properties, resembling those of sulfur. The new element fell into place between tellurium and sulfur in the chalcogen family of the periodic table, and Berzelius named it selenium (after the Greek word for Moon) owing to its similarity with tellurium (named after the Latin word for Earth).  Read more

Reactions – Panče Naumov

Panče Naumov is at the Department of Material and Life Science at Osaka University, Japan, holds a position from the external staff of Ss Cyril and Methodius University in Macedonia, works on solid-state chemistry and photochemistry, and is particularly interested in unstable and “exotic” molecular species.  Read more

Reactions – Wilhelm Huck

Wilhelm Huck is at the Institute for Molecules and Materials at the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands and works on picoliter droplets that can be used as artificial cells to study the influence that the crowded environment commonly found in living cells has on the ‘chemistry of life’.  Read more

ICCOSS XX: Growing crystals in all shapes -and sizes

All good things come to an end… Among the many, and varied, aspects discussed at ICCOSS over the past few days, I wanted to bring your attention to halogen–halogen bonding, which seems to be becoming quite popular. When a halogen atom engages in such a bond, its charge distribution changes a little, leading to a ‘polar flattening’ of the atom. The more electronegative side of one atom naturally engages in a halogen–halogen bond with what has become the more electropositive side of the other. Can these interactions be relied on to assemble building blocks? Can they be tuned in a controllable manner by judicious choice of the halogen?  Read more