Does Space Trash Ever Naturally Breakdown?

From Reactions. Remember when Elon Musk launched a car into space? It’s not just peacefully drifting through a vacuum–it’s hurtling around the sun at 63,592 mph, being bombarded by solar radiation. It might be in pieces. But, not the same pieces it would be in if it was down here on Earth. The environment of…

Why Don’t We Have Synthetic Blood Yet?

From Reactions. Blood from a lamb, into a human – this sounds like a horror movie, but it’s actually the first recorded blood transfusion… four hundred years ago. In this video we look at how far we’ve come, and the century-long quest for the Holy Grail of transfusion medicine: synthetic blood. 00:00 Introduction 01:08 Why…

Why Can’t I Distill Liquor At Home?

From Reactions. Have you ever wanted to make your own bourbon? Don’t! The process might be relatively simple- heat a fermented liquid and keep only the boiled alcohol – but it is dangerous and illegal without a license. This video discusses how to separate one type of liquid from a slurry of others through boiling…

Why They Don’t Make Grade B Maple Syrup Anymore

From Reactions. Are you a grade B maple syrup fan? Well, you can’t get it anymore. To understand why, we have to look at the science behind the whole process, from sap to syrup. On the way, we’ll cover hydrometers, reverse osmosis, boiling point elevation, and George’s dislike of Maillard reaction diagrams. #maillard #foodscience #maplesyrup…

The Art of Blowing Stuff Up

From Reactions. How do you demolish a massive building – in the middle of a populated city – in a matter of seconds… safely? Counterintuitively, you do it with explosives. We explore how chemistry, engineering, and more than a little artistry come together to safely bring down massive structures. #implosion #controlledDemolition #dynamite #nitroglycerine You might…

The Toxic Gas That Provides (Almost) All of Our Food

From Reactions. Anhydrous ammonia can cause headline-grabbing disasters, but it’s also responsible for 50% of the food on your table. It all boils down to nitrogen, and the process of turning the inert dinitrogen in our air into useful fertilizer. So what is this stuff, how is it used, and how is something so dangerous…

What Does “Octane” Mean?

From Reactions. Is it worth it to put premium gas into your car? And what’s even the difference between the regular and premium gas? It all has to do with the octane rating, which we’ll explain with fire, ice-cream, and a bit of chemistry trivia. #octane #engine #premiumgas You might also like: Fuel Cell Cars:…

Can We Make Pop Rocks at Home?

From Reactions. Take the PBS Digital Studios audience survey: https://to.pbs.org/2021survey Pop Rocks are just sugar and high-pressure CO2, but making them at home is way harder than it looks. In this video, we use three different methods to try and capture carbon dioxide in sugar: a middle-school chemical reaction, a state transition, and biological production!…

I Ate Gold To Prove a Point

From Reactions. Why are some heavy metals deadly while others keep us alive? Check out Tiny Matters, a new science podcast from the American Chemical Society, hosted and produced by former Reactions writer and host Sam Jones: Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/tiny-matters/id1599757941 Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/5bfRJU0XPaGKJ7Os4vJQFk Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/show/tiny-matters Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Podcast/B08JJMYZ3Q And to help us get Tiny Matters on the…

Better Pizza Through Chemistry

From Reactions. This week we show you how two simple changes can turn cardboard-y pizza into award winning pie (okay, award-winning might be a slight exaggeration, but we awarded ourselves a win, so deal with it). Here’s our simple recipe for making stellar pizza at home: Mix 1 package (0.25 oz) of dry yeast into…

Science of Concrete & the Surfside Condo Collapse

From Reactions. Even earthquakes aren’t supposed to bring down concrete buildings. So how did the Surfside Condominium—a modern building built in 1981—fail? You might also like: How Can Fertilizer Explode? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SeT3N3A19c Are We Standing on a Quadrillion Tons of Diamonds?: https://youtu.be/JB-dOm2k6NY The Great MOLASSES Flood of 1919: https://youtu.be/iMPGm3OSvMg How Carbon Capture Works: https://youtu.be/wu3hoo3p4Kk Credits: Executive…

Why is There Plastic in Our Rain?

From Reactions. Every year more than 1,000 tons of plastic rains down onto national parks and wilderness in the western U.S. Where does that plastic come from? And is it also in rain that falls on Washington, DC? #microplastic #pollution #plasticrain You might also like: How Plastic Recycling Actually Works: https://youtu.be/zO3jFKiqmHo Can Plastic Be Composted?:…

We Tried to Preserve a Strawberry Forever. Things Got…Ugly

From Reactions. To learn more about preservatives, check out George’s book http://www.rebrand.ly/Ingredients You’ve heard of the epoxy hot dog, but how about the epoxy strawberry? On this week’s episode we’re going to try to make a strawberry last forever. #preservatives #epoxyhotdog #epoxystrawberry You might also like: The Science of Kombucha https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxARRckS9dA Are Food Calories Bulloney?…

How Does Sunscreen Work? Can it Really Prevent Wrinkles and Cancer?

From Reactions. To learn more about sunscreen, check out Ingredients at http://www.rebrand.ly/Ingredients Does slathering on sunscreen do anything beyond preventing a sunburn? Can it actually stop us from getting wrinkles or skin cancer? #sunscreen #skincancer #sunburn #wrinkles You might also like: The World’s Most Unavoidable Carcinogen: https://youtu.be/7ZXvngquyT4 How Do Anti-Wrinkle Creams Work?: https://youtu.be/2ueEEwg7bck What is…

How Lead (Maybe?) Caused the Downfall of the Roman Empire

From Reactions. Ancient Rome’s emperors did some pretty bizarre stuff—bursting into uncontrollable fits of laughter, appointing a horse as a priest, dressing in animal skins and attacking people… the list goes on. Why did they act this way? Possibly… lead poisoning. In this week’s episode, we unwrap the possibility that lead caused the Roman Empire’s…

Pub Chemistry Trivia to Help You Interact With Humans

From Reactions. Excited to get back out in the world but worried you’ve forgotten how to talk to other humans? We have some chemistry trivia to help ease you back in. #trivia #chemistry ++ Note: A viewer pointed out (thank you Ryan Herold!) that we said pickle fermentation produces vinegar (acetic acid) but it actually…