Is Eating Beef Liver Bad for You? Or is That an “Old Scientist’s” Tale?

Food, Health
[caption id="attachment_23806" align="alignright" width="480"] Fried beef liver. Image courtesy of Lani Cooks, all rights reserved, used with permission.[/caption] “And in this corner…” so starts the boxing match. But, what does that have to do with liver? It illustrates people’s feelings about fried liver. They migrate to one corner or the other in a food boxing match. They love it or they hate it. What’s the chemistry of liver – and how does it impact your health? For liver to have any effect at all, you have to actually take a bite – so let’s first consider some of the typical statements people make about this food. First, let's consider those people who stick up their nose at the mere mention of fried beef liver. Those Who Stick Up Their Nose…
Read More

Comparing Hemoglobin and Chlorophyll

Biology, Medicine
[caption id="attachment_7766" align="alignright" width="440"] Hemoglobin tetramer ribbon CC-by-SA3.0 Zephyris[/caption] Are there similarities between the plant and animal world, for instance, between hemoglobin and chlorophyll? In nature, one can expect many parallels. Many animals have four feet. There are apes, lions, camels, and tortoises. Are all these related? Not really. Again, nearly all animals have two eyes in their head. Is there significance beyond the fact that this enables stereoscopic vision along an excellent line-of-sight? And so we come to the two substances most closely associated with life processes: the chlorophyll of plant life and the hemoglobin of animal life. Chlorophyll produces the food plants need for survival. Hemoglobin carries nutrients and oxygen essential to animal life. Although animals and plants are different, there are interesting parallels to be seen in…
Read More

The Iron Sandwich Compound Ferrocene

[caption id="attachment_6151" align="alignright" width="440"] Ferrocene - an Iron Sandwich Compound[/caption] Who doesn't love a ham and cheese sandwich? Or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Well, there are special chemical substances that resemble sandwiches. There is, for example, the sandwich compound ferrocene, (C₅H₅)₂Fe. It consists of an atom of iron "sandwiched" between two cyclopentadiene molecules. Sandwich Compound The classification of such metallic organic compounds is metallocene. D-orbital electrons in the iron atom add to the pi-electrons of two cyclopentadiene molecules. This stabilizes the structure, since the cyclopentadienyl anion (-1 charge) has aromatic properties. The iron atom adopts, in effect, a ferrous (+2) electrical charge. Other Metallocenes In general, metallocenes have mostly been of laboratory interest. Some do exhibit a marked level of importance. One application is in catalysis. Other metallocenes…
Read More

Does Iron Float in Mercury?

[caption id="attachment_5886" align="alignright" width="440"] Weather Float[/caption] Both substances are heavy and mercury is a liquid, so what do you say? Does iron float in mercury? Mercury is a liquid; some objects should float in it. There are two factors that must be taken into consideration in order to answer the question, Does Iron Float in Mercury? Those two factors are the density of the material under consideration and its geometry. Our focus for this discussion will center on a block of solid iron, 4 cm x 4 cm x 4 cm. Density – the Numbers A material floats if it possesses a lower density. Iron’s density is 7.9 g/cm³ (grams per cubic centimeter). Mercury’s density is 13.5 g/cm³. The iron presses on the mercury, but because it is lighter, it…
Read More

Characteristics of a High Mass Star

[caption id="attachment_5770" align="alignright" width="440"] Crab Nebula - NASA & ESA[/caption] A high mass star has more matter than a low mass star. More matter increases a star’s gravitational field. Gravity produces the heat that initiates fusion. Fusion occurs more readily in a high mass star. It also lowers life expectancy. It can result in a supernova event and the producing of a neutron star. Some say it can even result in a black hole. Fusion Fusion begins by combining hydrogen atoms into helium atoms. As hydrogen diminishes, it is predominantly helium atoms that fuse. Helium concentrates at the center since gravity pulls it more due to its greater mass. As the helium fuses, it forms carbon atoms. Carbon then gravitates to the center of the star. Over time, layers form.…
Read More