Sunday, September 26, 2010

Organic Chemisty and My Thoughts

           Studying organic chemistry has only differed slightly over the previous weeks.  With the organic chemistry I see so much being done with these unique molecules unlike applications of other substances we have covered.  The term organic when relating to chemistry means that carbon is a part of the make-up; I have seen many different molecules only differ by one or more side chains or shapes. 
            During the past few weeks, I have enjoyed learning about all the chemistry that makes up my world.  I have been especially surprised by the ingredients of pool balls.  I love to play pool and always wondered what they were made of.  I knew that the substance had to have a lot of qualities that would keep it true and round and overall the same weight as the others.  I have fun when I have discovered something I didn’t know before.
            I have learned so much in the past weeks seems to be my motto.  This class relates so much to my degree of history.  There is so much in history that now makes more sense because I know what people were fighting over.  I see how chemistry has changed history and the lives of people throughout history.  Once I see the overall bigger picture, the pieces of the puzzle seem to fall into place.
            Having the ability to utilize pictures, video and the internet in this course rather than just the traditional book has made this class come to life.  I can’t imagine not having all the extra mediums at my finger tips as tools. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Glorious Phenols!

Anyone for a game of pool?
     As I sit and look around, I notice all the wonderful things created by man utilizing phenols.  I cannot image our world without this remarkable compound.  The most interesting aspect of the readings this week was the story about antiseptic care and how operations that were once sure to end in infection or death are now safe and simple procedures.  The drive of a physician to create safer hospitals and surgeries is outstanding.  I am in awe of people who continue to try.  He knew there was a way and kept after it.  Thank goodness for those unique people in world and throughout history, for without them we would not enjoy the lives that we do.

     The upcoming paper due on "What's That Stuff" is very interesting so far.  I am amazed at the concept and the technology of preservation.  I have always been somewhat nervous of too many preservatives, I have never been convinced that they are completely safe.  I do feel a little more at ease while researching, the flip side of the coin may mean botulism, I'll pass!

      I have always felt that the world is full of endless possibilities and ways to live better.  This class has been proving to me why I should be in awe.  I have learned so much about different chemicals and substances so far.  It is wonderful to see and understand the uses.  My favorite part is the history that goes along with them.

     I hope in the coming weeks to find more information that will be completely interesting.  So far my favorite chapter dealt with the spices, coming in second was salt.  We will see what else is in store!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pollution. My thoughts.

     This week’s readings were interesting to me because of how new technology that was created at different points and times changed how we lived, worked and traded.  The advances of past times were considered to be fantastic and were but people were not aware of the devastating effects that they would have on people, the environment and the ozone layer.  Without the early science and the pitfalls created by them, we would not have understood and respected the chemical nature as we do today.  I am sure no one sets out to create a new technology to harm everything and everyone around it. 
What is wonderful about the age we are in is the conscientious nature of people.  People are really thinking hard about the ecological problems and looking for greener alternatives.  Back decades ago, the science was new and detrimental effects were not on the minds of the creators; they were thinking about how their technology would help people live better. 
     Chemistry definitely helps me live better, but pollution affects my field of agriculture.  We utilize chemicals to enhance our fields of hay.   We have to be very careful to not over fertilize.  If we do, the excess will run off into the river behind our farm, or in the creek that runs through the farm.  Outside of polluting rivers and streams that will have an impact on the ocean eventually, we have to worry about our own drinking water as we use a well for water.  This week’s lesson makes me think harder for other ways to maintain our farm, our livelihood but at the same time stay as green as possible.
     My everyday life is woven in chemistry.  From the dish soap I wash dishes in, to the fuel I put in my vehicle to transport me places.  I find it in my food, I find it in my fish tank that is in desperate need of maintenance, J. I also find it in simple items for my pets, such as Frontline for tick control.  Chemistry makes my life easier, better, but I don’t want an easier life at the expensive of clean air and clean drinking water.  I believe more people should embrace that concept.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Wonderful Salt!

Soap, another everyday necessity
With my field being history, I find that chemistry has played a major role, if not one of the most important roles in the creation of civilizations.  Not to downplay the importance of the basic drive of the human spirit to build and advance; but the chemistry in the everyday items we use has shaped our lives more than anything.
     From the importance and desire for spices to the essential need for ascorbic acid and sodium chloride, these few introduced the "want" for societies to grow and become higher powers; even at the sad cost of so many lives.  Ultimately if countries had an even, equal distribution of all commodities, would we have grown like we have?
     As we learned about the importance of ascorbic acid and the vital necessity of it in the prevention of scurvy, we too have learned about the importance of salt for the body.  Not only is salt a vital nutrient, it also has been vital to shaping the world.  So many applications today require this amazing compound.
     The chapter on salt was so interesting to me not only from the chemistry standpoint, but more so for me is the history of it.  Learning about the wonderful spices and salt that we take for granted today has made me realize that history is more than just about people.  It is also contained within the everyday items we use daily.