Occasionally I do this when I need battery materials: Crack open a D cell battery and pull out the anode.
The anode is a gooey cylinder at the center of the battery. In the second picture I’ve peeled off one layer of cellophane and one layer of paper from the anode. Inside it’s just a shiny jelly of zinc particles. Zinc is a high energy material, so by dissolving it you can get power. That’s how a battery works, basically.
There’s a cathode too, which is made of manganese oxide. It’s a black powder caked around the inside of the cell. You can also see the nail or pin sticking up at the center. This is the electrical contact to the zinc jelly.
Karl Kordesch, the chemist who invented the alkaline battery, died in 2011.
Have I ever told you guys about the time that I got a very long and formal email from my friend D. Janes about Women in Chemistry and how their numbers are increasing and it’s important we keep up the trend?
And I had no idea why he was sending me such a long, formal, sincere email, which was completely out of character? And so I replied and said “I think women who do chemistry are pretty hot!” because that’s the kind of thing he might expect from me?
But then did I tell you how the President of the American Chemical Society was D. James and the email was actually from him?
And I sent him that reply I thought I was sending to my friend D. Janes? Who was writing me long formal emails for some reason? Did I ever tell you that?
Today marks the beginning of National Women’s History Month, which this year celebrates women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
At Brookhaven Lab, we have many inspiring women engaged in innovative scientific research, including chemist Joanna Fowler, who received the 2009 National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in science.
Fowler, pictured above with President Barack Obama, is the Director of the Radiotracer Chemistry, Instrumentation and Biological Imaging Program at Brookhaven National Laboratory. She is world renowned for her work in brain research and the study of diseases like addiction, which she investigates using an imaging technique called positron emission tomography (PET).
You might remember her from her photo with that cool chemistry setup in our post on her contributions to PET imaging. In 1976, Fowler and her colleagues synthesized 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), a radiotracer used in PET. Today, FDG is widely used in hospitals and research centers throughout the world to diagnose and study neurological and psychiatric diseases and to diagnose cancer.
The photo with the cool chemistry setup is the best ever
KcD drew the periodic table as characters for her senior thesis project at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. So of course I immediately clicked though to see what osmium looked like. The project website is here. (Kc you could have just asked what I look like okay?)
helenepertl asked: Hello. Do you know of where I could find more pictures of complicated chemistry lab installations such as the one that was on your blog earlier? Are there any websites, I mean, for that kind of porn.