The Tragic Case of the Los Angeles Wannabe Chemist

Chemistry, Technology
I wrote how I was, in younger years, badly gassed by the carcinogenic, heavy-metal compound chromyl chloride during a home chemistry experiment. Another article I wrote was about how I mistakenly produced, not an organic ester as intended, but a powerful tear gas. In both cases, I aptly demonstrated my lack of knowledge as a wannabe chemist. My "unfortunate" experiments did not prove tragic. Another fellow was not so fortunate... In fact, his experiment cost him – and sixteen others – their lives. Not to mention, those badly injured, and the many surrounding buildings it destroyed. Introducing Wannabe Chemist Bobby Magee Does the name remind you of the Janis Joplin song Me and Bobby Magee? Well our Bobby, or more precisely, Robert M. Magee was the son of James W.…
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Mineral Acids – Common Oxy Acid Terminology

As a youngster, I decided to become a chemist when I grew up. And that is how it turned out. To become acquainted with my chosen profession, I had to learn its naming systems or nomenclature. This included the naming of common mineral acids. So called mineral acids contain hydrogen, at least one additional element (often from the right hand side of the periodic table), and varying amounts of oxygen. Mineral Acids with No Oxygen If no oxygen is present, the acid name usually employs the prefix hydro– and the suffix –ic. Thus HCl is named hydrochloric acid.¹ HBr is hydrobromic acid. Some other examples include hydrogen sulfide (H₂S), hydrogen iodide (HI), and hydrogen telluride (H₂Te). A little confusion arises when the element has a valence greater than -2, as…
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