I’ve discovered the most beautiful Chemistry website ever created via someone’s Twitter feed. It was created by several researchers at the Institute of Advanced Technology at University of Science and Technology in China. The goal of this project is to bring the beauty of chemistry to the general public through digital media and technology.
The first project of the collaboration used a 4K UltraHD camera to capture beautiful chemical reactions in specially-designed glass containers that eliminate the problems of refraction and reflection caused by rounded beakers and test tubes. I also love how the researchers play with time, slowing down and speeding up the videos at just the right moments. The video footage is then annotated and matched perfectly with background music to give a truly mesmerising result. Here are three of my favourites:
Precipitation reactions (my favourite)
Metal displacement reactions
As a visual learner and a huge fan of new ways to pique people’s interest in science, I got in touch with Yan Liang, an Associate professor at the Department of Science and Technology Communication at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC).
Yan Liang, like the visionary data-visualisation gurus David McCandless and Hans Rosling, is passionate about bringing hidden data to the public domain in a form that’s really easy to digest. When I asked him what inspired him to make these videos, he said:
“To me, science is beautiful and full of wonders. However, the beauty of science is often hidden inside research laboratories and buried in scientific literature. By creating engaging visuals and make them available to the general public, I believe more people would appreciate the beauty and wonders of science, and hopeful get interested in science.”
“The goal is to bring the beauty of chemistry to the general public. To many people, Chemistry might usually be associated with pollution, poison, explosions, etc. We want to show them the other side of chemistry, which is much less well-known. We also want to get more kids and students interested in chemistry and inspire them to learn more chemical knowledge.”
Since Yan Liang, Edison Zheng, Jiyuan Liu, Xiangang Tao and Wei Huang launched Beautiful Chemistry on September 30th, 2014, they have received over 110,000 unique visitors and over 2 million page views. The project has been a huge success, and has already inspired young people worldwide to pursue Chemistry.
“People love our videos of chemical reactions. Some people commented if they saw these videos when they were in high schools, they might work harder and learn more chemistry. A 15-year old student from Germany and others told us our videos inspired them to shoot their own videos of chemical reactions. Artists like these videos and many request our footage to make music videos.”
They’ve got some exciting plans for the future, too. Yan Liang tells me they’re planning to use microscopes to film future videos and that they’re developing a fashionable clothing line-up as well!
There are currently 33 gorgeous 4K videos on their website, and there’s even a Chinese version as well. Check out their website and subscribe to their blog here. You can see more of Yan Liang’s projects, including amazing scientific illustrations, at l2molecule.com.