From Chris Ewels

The British Carbon Group (a special interest group of the RSC, the Institute of Physics and the Society of Chemical Industry) is organising an image competition, including a category for under-18s.  

There is a ?150 prize in each category and there will be a prize-giving ceremony in December 2008. The deadline for applicants is 31st October 2008. 

Pictures may be submitted on any aspect of carbon science including ’at work’, photographs, electron and optical micrographs, carbon materials in action, or virtual representations of any facet of carbon science. 

More information is available here from the website.

C Ewels
Nantes, France


From Peter Borrows

A small correction to Colin Russell’s first rate article about Kelvin (Chemistry World, December 2007, p.60). Kelvin did not go to Peterhouse College, Cambridge. He went to Peterhouse, Cambridge.  

A small point, but as chemists we should know it is important to take care over nomenclature. Indeed there is a plaque on the door of his rooms there, which are still used by undergraduates today, but are perhaps less spartan now. 

P Borrows CChem FRSC
Amersham Old Town, UK

From Robin Perutz

Colin Russell tells us, with no apparent qualification, that at 0K ’one cannot get any colder and nothing moves at all’. It’s a pity to see two fallacies in one sentence that bear on our understanding of such a fundamental concept. When temperature is understood as a ratio, the unattainability of 0K becomes understandable, as do the ideas of extremely low temperature. Zero-point energy influences many molecular properties including entropy and kinetics. 

R N Perutz CChem FRSC
York, UK


From Alan Turner

In your article on the link between acrylamide and cancer (Chemistry World, January 2008, p24) you quote typical doses of 40g and 9g of acrylamide a day. I think that it should read 40 and 9 micrograms a day - I imagine that a daily dose of 40g of acrylamide would soon see anyone off.  

Carry on the good work with Chemistry World

A Turner CChem FRSC
Solihull, UK


From Ann Robinson

Regarding your article ’Death and the Chemist’ (Chemistry World, December 2007, p88), I seem to remember an attempt, some years ago, to document the longevity, or otherwise, of members of the chemical profession. Yet the data collection initiated was discontinued because of inadequate numbers of deaths. 

This may have been an initiative of the Royal Institute of Chemistry, before amalgamation with the RSC, or could have been a response by the society to the introduction of workplace health and safety legislation. 

The fundamental problem for a proper epidemiological study was (and still would be) adequate qualitative and quantitative definition of exposures. Does anyone know of any formal records of chemists’ longevity? 

A E Robinson CChem FRSC
Toronto, Canada


From Peter Baker

I wonder if I was the only reader to be dismayed by the note (Chemistry World, January 2008, p21) that the world’s largest biodiesel plant will be opened in 2010 using palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia.  

Is there no one out there listening?  

P B Baker CChem FRSC
London, UK


From Jack Barrett

Caroline Moore’s most welcome interview with Pekka Pyykk? (Chemistry World, December 2007, p26) was hopefully a reminder to those who nominate candidates for Nobel Prizes for Chemistry that one for him is extremely overdue. His work has had a very great impact on our understanding of the chemistry of the elements (see J Barrett, Atomic Structure and Periodicity, RSC Tutorial Chemistry Text No. 9, p91. RSC, 2002) and in particular has explained the relativistic effects upon the contractions in the atomic radii that are observed along the d- and f-series of elements in the periodic table - for example, that mercury is in the liquid state at room temperature and that gold metal is yellow.  

J Barrett CChem MRSC 
Arundel, UK