Aspartame

Aspartame-Amino Acid Sweetener
Molecule Monday

Aspartame has been in the news again. Pepsico, which dropped aspartame from its diet Pepsi formulation over a year ago has reintroduced it. The motivation to remove it was driven by the bad press aspartame had received over the years which was thought to have impacted sales. It turns out that the aspartame version has a loyal following which persuaded Pepsico to backtrack. For more on what the controversy is all about…
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Diamond is composed solely of carbon. It gets its strength from having 4 bonds to every other carbon except the ones on the edges.

Molecular Models-Not Just for Chemistry

Molecular models are a staple for teaching organic chemistry to students from high school to university and beyond. For others, they are considered an anachronism in today’s world of computing, especially with advances in virtual reality. While there is some truth to these viewpoints, physical models still have many other practical uses. Below we will describe four different uses.

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Cholesterol-A Steroid; Who Knew?
Molecule Monday Fast Fact

Food and drug ads have likely made you anxious about your cholesterol levels but the health of your blood vessels is only part of the story. Did you know that testosterone, progesterone  and performance enhancing steroids are all essentially different versions of cholesterol? You can try to avoid them in your diet all you want but you can’t eliminate them from your body without disastrous consequences.

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Miracle Medicine; Maybe?

Medical Marijuana-Miracle Drug?
Molecule Monday-THC & More

Marijuana has been enjoying a renaissance of late. Once reviled as a gateway drug to heroin to name but one, it is being rehabilitated as a panacea for ailments ranging from anxiety to Alzheimer’s. With jurisdictions around the world including Canada & the US verging on legalization, is the hype justified?  Continue reading

Crab Nebula

Super Heavy Metal Armor for Iron Man,
Captain America, The Enterprise?

Some elements you never heard of were given new names this week.  Elements 113, 115, 117 and 118, were named  nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson respectively. These elements were all synthesized in carefully designed experiments using sophisticated particle accelerators.

You’ll never see them on food labels or traded as commodity metals. In fact, they are so short lived they last just long enough for scientists to confirm they briefly existed.

Does that mean the miraculous metals of science fiction are impossble? Will there ever be a Vibranium of Captain America’s shield or the Duranium and Tritanium of Star Trek’s Enterprise? Will science find a way to make something like them? First, a brief survey of the elements we know and how they came to be.

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