Nuclear Chemistry


Where do chemical elements come from?

October 2009 (pp 6-8)

Author: Carolyn Ruth

Chemistry Connections: Atomic theory, Nuclear, Periodicity, Reactions

Description: Describes the various processes for producing the various elements in stars of various types. Fusion, fission and “r” reactions detailed. Spectroscopy used to identify the elements in stars and gaseous clouds.

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"Follow the Carbon." Follow the What?
February 2008 (pp 16-19)

Author: Lora Bleacher

Chemistry Connections: Atomic Theory, Nuclear, Organic/Biochemistry

Description: Describes the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite of instruments on board the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), to land on Mars in late 2009 and stay there roving the surface collecting data. Instruments include laser spectrometer, gas chromatograph, and quadrupole mass spectrometer. Discussion of the value of studying carbon as an essential ingredient of life and its role in organic compounds ensues. Talks about isotopes of carbon providing information about the origin of the organic materials the SAM might detect.

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Chemsumer: The Sun Fusion at Work
February 2007 (pp 8-11)

Author: Clair Wood

Chemistry Connections: History/Biography, Nuclear, Sustainability

Description: Traces historical theories about the composition and structure of the sun. Describes in detail nuclear fusion reactions that take place in the sun and explains how elements are produced from the hydrogen and helium which are the primary constituents of the sun. The proton-proton pathways are given special emphasis. Describes the solar atmosphere—core, radiative zone, convective zone, photosphere, chromospheres and corona—and the processes that take place in each region. Concludes with a section on how the earth interacts with the sun and how the sun can be used as an alternative energy source.

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ChemHistory: The New Alchemy
October 2006 (pp 15-17)

Author: Michael McClure

Chemistry Connections: Atomic theory, History/Biography, Nuclear, Periodicity

Description: Relates the history of discovering/explaining various nuclear reactions (fusion, radioactivity, fission, transmutation). Working with transuranium elements, Seaborg proposed actinide series.

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ChemMystery: Real or Fake? The James Ossuary Case
February 2006 (pp 8-10)

Author: Lois Fruen

Chemistry Connections: Atomic Theory, Equilibrium, History/Biography, Nuclear, Organic/Biochemistry

Description: Discusses methods used to authenticate antiquities, focusing on radiocarbon dating. The process and the background science are described. Other methods described: hardness and density testing, microscopic analysis of mineral composition, mass spectrometry to measure O-18 to O-16 isotope ratios. Scientists reported the artifacts were fake, but then further research by other scientists refuted the fakery claims. The question remains unanswered. Chemistry centers on isotopic composition and presence of carbon dioxide in groundwater dissolving calcite (equilibrium equations provided).

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April 2005 (pp 10-13)

Author: Brian Rohrig

Chemistry Connections: Atomic Theory, Nuclear

Description: Defines antimatter and establishes the existence of antimatter particles for every known particle in the universe. Discusses history of discoveries of antimatter particles, their existence in the universe, the huge instruments needed to create these particles (Stanford Linear Accelerator and CERN), and the energies involved when these particles and antiparticles collide. Talks about how antimatter is created for use in positron emission spectroscopy (PET) scans of the body.

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Vanilla! It’s Everywhere!

December 2003 (pp 4-6)

Author: Gail Haines

Chemistry Connections: Nuclear, Organic/Biochemistry, Reactions

Description: Describes historical origins of the most widely used flavoring, vanilla, sources of natural and methods to synthesize vanillin, chemical methods of analysis (authenticate natural vs. synthetic). Side bar describes most sensitive test using isotopic ratios of carbon to detect substitution of synthetic vanillin for natural.

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