Picture-Perfect Chemistry

With school back in full swing, the winter holidays are fading into memory (spurred on by the appearance of Valentine displays on December 26). Christmas, more than any other holiday for me, is an occasion to bring out the camera. Lots of photo opportunities: the craziness of unwrapping gifts, capturing the kids in their holiday finery, saving memories of families coming together.

But when the camera came out this season, I had something extra brewing in the back of my brain—the ACS ChemClub 2013–2014 photo contest. When I help work out the language and details of these annual contests, I sometimes imagine what I would put together as an entry if I were a ChemClub student member. What did I see in my December surroundings that shouted “Chemistry!” to me that I could try to capture with my camera and admittedly amateur skills?



Offer me a box of assorted chocolates, and a cordial cherry would not be the first I’d reach for. But the chemistry—oh, the chemistry. The April 1987 issue of ChemMatters has a nice description of how enzymes are used to make the liquid center of these candies. The rest of the family loves them, so while I took just one for a photo op, they enjoyed the rest of the box. Maybe that sort of photo would fit in the contest’s “Chemistry in Your Life” category.

Years ago we swapped our large ceramic bulb Christmas tree lights for tiny LEDs. Besides reducing the possibility of the bulbs drying out the tree or overheating, the energy consumption is greatly reduced. I love to sit and enjoy their colorful glow (that beautiful visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum) in the dark—an entry for the “Colors of Chemistry” category?















Find further inspiration for the “Close-Up Chemistry” category at a special board on the ACS ChemClub Pinterest page, along with general ideas at the newly-launched Chemical & Engineering News site “Chemistry in Pictures.”

Contest details were in the ChemClub December 2013 resource packet and can also be found on the ChemClub Advisors page. Don’t delay—the contest ends March 15.

Where do you see chemistry? Show us. Capture it. Share it.

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