You can admit that you dozed off a bit in chemistry class. It’s OK, science can be dry. But take the same material and show it in a new way, and even the driest of science leaps to life.
BeautifulChemistry is a collaboration between the Institute of Advanced Technology at the University of Science and Technology of China and Tsinghua University Press. Using a 4K UltraHD camera, the collaboration has captured intimate looks at chemicals reacting without looking through scratched-up goggles and test tubes. It turns out there were absolutely incredible things happening in CHEM101, you just couldn’t see them.
Here is what happens in a reaction between zinc and lead nitrate — a metal forest grows:
When solid bits of chemical emerge from a solution — called precipitates — it can be like hail from a thundercloud. Here is silver nitrate and sodium chloride (table salt):
Calcium chloride in a solution of sodium silicate produces reverse icicles:
Cobalt chloride in a solution of sodium silicate is an azure alien rebuilding itself:
Dancing florescent droplets reform a bright pink mothership:
The BeautifulChemistry team was inspired by German biologist Ernst Haeckel, who was an absolute master in making the natural world appear beautiful (seriously, look at these). They wanted to do for chemistry what Haeckel did for organisms:
We hope to follow the footsteps of Haeckel, using digital media and technology to bring the beauty and wonder from the chemistry world to a wide audience. In addition, we want to achieve a unique aesthetic of chemistry, making chemistry approachable and lovable. If our effects could get more kids and students interested in chemistry and change people’s negative opinion towards chemistry, we would be extremely satisfied.
I think they’ve succeeded.
You can watch the full video, including many more reactions, below: