Monthly Archives: January 2009


Silabenzene is one of those chemical curiosities. With little use except to theoretical organic chemists, it’s a benzene molecule with one carbon atom replaced by a silicon “pendant” atom. A heterocyclic aromatic. For a long time it was believed to … Continue reading

Posted in chemistry, Imported from Livejournal | Tagged , | 13 Comments

Things I’ve learned over the past 24 hours

I used to think sweat bands were silly, but if you spend all day typing on a laptop, they’re really comfortable! Eating ramen noodles with two plastic spoons is a pursuit best avoided (though it was nice of the girl … Continue reading

Posted in Imported from Livejournal | Tagged | 7 Comments

An artificial galaxy

It might look a bit like an elliptical galaxy, but this picture is actually of London! It was taken at night time from the ISS, using a digital camera (though I can’t find the name of the astronaut who took … Continue reading

Posted in Imported from Livejournal | 4 Comments

“Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do.” — Donald E. Knuth

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I ♥ Friday…

I feel so un-cool being literally surrounded by work on a Friday night. But that’s just how I roll. (And I have a deadline). Still, all is not lost, because between bouts of incessant note scribbling and typing, Carnival of … Continue reading

Posted in academia, Imported from Livejournal | Tagged , | 10 Comments

A matter of mistaken mass?

Seemingly, everyone’s a bit uncertain about a star named MOA-2007-BLG-192L. It’s known to have a planet in tow, and everyone agrees that it’s a small planet, but exactly how small seems to be a contentious issue. The planet was originally … Continue reading

Posted in astronomy, Imported from Livejournal | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Heh heh heh…

Discovered thanks to His Badness, Phil Plait.

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Ah… There’s no better way to start the day. A hot ciabatta, a smooth black coffee, a blueberry muffin and a slightly intimidating stack of papers to read! Sitting in a sunbeam helps…

Posted in Imported from Livejournal | 8 Comments

Toys for Geeks

Ok, so I’m not normally much a tech nerd, but I have to say — OMG iPod Touch ultimate geek toy!!! This little beauty was my Christmas/birthday present (I don’t mind a joint present between the two when it’s this … Continue reading

Posted in Imported from Livejournal | Tagged | 4 Comments

How chemists can help astrobiologists…

Quite a puzzler in astrochemistry and astrobiology is where exactly prebiotic amino acids form. We know they can form in interstellar space. We’ve found them inside chondritic meteorites. All the ingredients exist in the interstellar medium. There have even been … Continue reading

Posted in astrobiology, chemistry, Imported from Livejournal | Tagged ,