Badass Historical Chemists: Alice Hamilton Versus Absolutely Everyone

Alice Hamilton was one of those people who used science to shape morality. Basic concepts like sanitation, worker safety, and proper chemical disposal exist because she proved there was no other choice. She was also one of the first to speak out about the growing threat of Nazi Germany.

Source: Badass Historical Chemists: Alice Hamilton Versus Absolutely Everyone

On the FBI watch list well into her nineties. That’s impressive!

Badass Historical Chemists: Locusta

Locusta was one of the first recorded professional chemists. She was employed by several royal Romans, and even established a school for other chemists. Here’s why it was best not to piss off either her or her students.

Source: Badass Historical Chemists: Locusta

Some people believe she was the first recorded serial killer. Not everyone she poisoned was for profit. It’s a toss up as to whether she poisoned them for fun or for practice.

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

…A chemist by training with a doctoral degree in food science, Behnke became Pillsbury’s chief technical officer in 1979 and was instrumental in creating a long line of hit products, including microwaveable popcorn. He deeply admired Pillsbury but in recent years had grown troubled by pictures of obese children suffering from diabetes and the earliest signs of hypertension and heart disease. In the months leading up to the C.E.O. meeting, he was engaged in conversation with a group of food-science experts who were painting an increasingly grim picture of the public’s ability to cope with the industry’s formulations — from the body’s fragile controls on overeating to the hidden power of some processed foods to make people feel hungrier still. It was time, he and a handful of others felt, to warn the C.E.O.’s that their companies may have gone too far in creating and marketing products that posed the greatest health concerns.

Source: The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

It’s an incredibly long read about the various ways the food industry worked to make products more appealing.  The “vanishing caloric deficit” is said to be present in Coca-cola, that you can drink lots without feeling full.  That’s besides the desire to have more…

We Had A Cure For Leprosy For Centuries, But Couldn’t Get It To Work

People in China discovered the cure for leprosy in the 1300s, and yet for six hundred years, the cure didn’t actually work. We’ll tell you why a known cure wasn’t good enough, and how to make it good enough.

Source: We Had A Cure For Leprosy For Centuries, But Couldn’t Get It To Work

Now you know, should you come down with leprosy.  It is possible to get it from armadillos…

It’s a shame about how brief Alice Ball’s life was.  There aren’t many instances of science advancement by women, so it’s nice to see one.

Why Are Chemists Willing To Risk Their Lives To Make “Satan’s Kimchi”?

A few days ago I wrote about sodium azide, a nasty chemical that has been put to a nice use. As usual, io9 commenters one-upped me by bringing up dioxygen difluoride — also known as Satan’s Kimchi, or FOOF. Learn all about the chemical that requires you risk life and limb just to synthesize it.

Dioxygen difluoride is made up of two fluorine atoms and two oxygen atoms – earning it the nickname FOOF. It sounds simple, but fluorine isn’t an easy chemical to work with under any circumstances, and it can’t be forced into this particular combination without a 700 degree heating block.

Source: Why Are Chemists Willing To Risk Their Lives To Make “Satan’s Kimchi”?

No actual kimchi (how much vitamin K?).  The article only mentions that the nickname came from the blog “Things I Won’t Work With“.  I think someone deserves: