Chemistry Professor Michelle Francl Helps Develop a Chemistry Set for the IPad

Posted May 1st, 2014 at 12:18 pm.

chemistry app

From BlueCadet’s design for the app

When the Chemical Heritage Foundation and app developer BlueCadet teamed up to create a virtual chemistry set for the iPad, one of the experts they called on to make sure they got the details right was Bryn Mawr Chemistry Professor Michelle Francl.

Francl writes about the app and her involvement in the project in her latest Culture of Chemistry blog post.

From the blog:

“I played a small part in the development, researching some of the more obscure reactions to be sure of the details of what happened.  Among the more fascinating things I learned was that when sodium metal reacts with liquid bromine, there is no reaction until the beaker is tapped (the source I consulted actually gave a minimum required force), then the reaction is explosive.  I’m trying to imagine (1) how someone discovered this and (2) what the experiments to determine the force must have looked like!”

Francl was a CHF fellow in 2012 and during that time she was inspired by the group’s collection of vintage chemistry sets to write a piece for Nature Chemistry on the allure of the kits to generations of budding scientists. She has also written about the explosive power of discovery in at-home experiments for Slate.

Bryn Mawr’s Chemistry Department combines high quality, visible research programs with excellent teaching. Students have the opportunity to work side by side with faculty as researchers. The chemistry major program of study includes introductory and advanced courses in the core areas of biological, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. Advanced courses are informed by the research areas of bioinorganic, nanomaterials, medicinal, computational, organic materials, and nucleic acid and protein chemistry.


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