Prussian blue, also known as Berlin blue, Turnbull blue, or Paris blue, is a dark blue pigment used by painters, and was the first modern synthetic pigment. It is famous for its complexity and has several uses, including being the shade of blue used in traditional blueprints. Famous paintings making extensive use of Prussian blue include Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night and  The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai. 

In medicine, Prussian blue is used as an antidote for certain kinds of heavy metal poisoning, particularly thallium and radioactive isotopes of cesium (such as the Goiânia accident).

Just the Science GCSE

The woman thought I was crazy when I cleared out their stock of flashcards in the Paperchase flagstore totting ham court road .
1600 flashcards.

Been through approx 500 since GCSE and I’m only half way!
Still have history, the last tiny bit of R.S., Human Geography and further maths to go 😫

At least they look pretty

Distilling some fresh, absolute (water and oxygen free) tetrahydrofuran from sodium and benzophenone.

Traces of water/oxygen/other dissolved gases and impurities are most commonly removed from etheral solvents by refluxing them with a little benzophenone and metallic sodium or potassium. From benzophenone (diphenyl ketone) and alkali metals benzophenone ketyl radical forms what has an intense blue color in etheral solvents and it’s quite reactive.

What happens here? Ph2CO + Na -> Na[Ph2CO]

And what is that ketyl thing? This:

R and R’ is a phenyl in this case and next to the negative charge somewhere there is a sodium ion.

When is the THF pure? When it’s deep blue, so a lot benzophenone ketyl radical is in the solution.

Nomenclature Corner: Carboxylic Acids

The typical sophomore organic course covers the basics of IUPAC nomenclature for simple molecules: linear chains of 5 carbons and greater are denoted by numerical prefixes from Greek and Latin, while groups smaller than that are given historical prefixes: “meth-”, “eth-”, “prop-”, and “but-”.

However, chemistry has a tendency to retain a lot of trivial names. The series of linear carboxylic acids, while easily named with IUPAC nomenclature, all have a separate set of historical names with varying usage frequency. These names, up to C10, are:

  • C1: Formic, “ant” - Formic acid is found in ant venom, and was originally isolated via the distillation of ant bodies.
  • C2: Acetic, “vinegar” - Acetic acid is the primary component of vinegar (after water).
  • C3: Propionic, “first fat” - Propionic acid is the first carboxylic acid to have physical properties similar to the archetypical fatty acid; Although miscible in water, addition of salt will cause a separate organic layer to form (unlike formic or acetic acid).
  • C4: Butyric, “butter” - As with many four-carbon compounds, butyric acid has the smell of rancid butter.
  • C5: Valeric - Valeric acid naturally occurs in the gardan valerian, V. officinalis.
  • C6/8/10: Caproic/Caprylic/Capric, “goat” - All three of these carboxylic acids have an unpleasant goat-like smell.
  • C7: Enanthic, “wine bloom” - The smell of enanthic acid is similar to wine that has gone bad.
  • C9: Pelargonic - Pelargonic acid is found in geraniums, genus Pelargonium

As the number of carbons in the carboxylic acid increases, the frequency of the common name in the chemical fields tends to decrease: C1 and C2 acids are exclusively known as formic and acetic acid, C3~C5 acids are called by either name, and C6+ acids are generally known by their IUPAC name. Biochemical and biological fields use the trivial names more frequently (for example, cholesteryl pelargonate and testosterone enanthate). Lactones and lactams are also sometimes named using these trivial names (γ-valerolactone, ε-caprolactam, etc.).

Survival 101 in: Organic Chemistry

Organic chemistry is hard, no doubt about that. It is the first weed out course of the biology and chemistry majors, BUT it is a great course if you come in with a positive mindset and you are willing to work for the grade you deserve. Some people are naturally gifted in academics, but I certainly wasn’t. I worked my butt of for my A and B+ in Orgo I and II. Here are my general tips (everyone learns differently!) on surviving organic chemistry: 

  1. I spent double the class time to study- My classes were 50 minutes a piece, three times a week (2.5 hours in lecture), but I spent a good 4-8 hours on homework, review,  and practice quizzes and tests.
  2. I would read over my notes and rewrite them right AFTER lecture- This was to ensure I was building up long term memory for the tests. It is more effective to train your brain for long term memory to look over your notes right after lecture.
  3. Read the textbook before lecture- Reading before lecture is a good habit to get into early on for the sake of knowing what is going on in class. Maybe you might not understand it the first time reading it, but then the professor clears up any questions you had. It is a very good habit to start in any course, particularly science.
  4. I used old practice tests and quizzes and used worksheets to practice A LOT- Granted, these were given to the whole class by my professor, but she changed the questions on the current exams. She liked to give us her style of asking questions in worksheets and old exams so we could get used to it. Most questions she changed, but she had freebies. If your professor doesn’t do this (most don’t anyways), either ask some of the older chemistry students if they have old quizzes and tests to use or you can find other course websites on the web that have practice exams and quizzes (my masterpost has some of the website I found).
  5. Utilize your professor’s office hours if you have ANY questions-Even if you think it is the most trivial question, just ask it. The professors are there to help you, and they will not judge you. Most enjoy students coming to office hours to ask questions and get help. They will remember you more than the Joe-Shmo kid who barely showed up to class but got 100′s on all the exams.
  6. Use different colored pens for reactions- This helps a lot because there are so many bloody electron pushing arrows and functional groups. You want to distinguish the functional group from the rest of the carbon chain in one color and use electron pushing arrows in a different color (more of that will occur about week 3-4 in lecture).
  7. Have lots of paper for practice problems AND do all the practice problems- This is a key tip if you are like me who needs visuals and needs to work with my hand to store information long term. Some people don’t need to do the homework, but I did all of the homework and had so much paper (Alas, my organic chem I notes are no where to be found :’( ). 
  8. Lastly, have confidence in your work- You are starting to enter difficult courses, but be proud of how far you have come. Do not doubt yourself in the exams (those are when right answers get turned into wrong answers-this occurrence happened 80% of my undergrad career).

I would love everyone to enjoy Organic Chemistry as much as I do, however it is a class you either love or hate. If you are taking it this semester, I wish you the very best and make sure you practice, practice, practice! 


This is a neat rock, found in the Opawiskie Mountains on the border of Poland and the Czech Republic.

The rock is metamorphic. You can clearly make out a foliation – a pattern of aligned minerals running from the left to the right. If you look closely, there are larger chunks within this rock, many of which have been rotated and are at a small angle with the foliation direction.

Those chunks are clasts, remnant of what this rock was before it was metamorphosed. This is a metamorphosed conglomerate, a sedimentary rock made of large sedimentary chunks.

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