Browsing: Chemistry

Today in Taking Measure we asked Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) recipient Tara Lovestead a few questions about her life and work. Tara was recognized for her extensive application of new methods to rapidly and inexpensively detect trace levels of chemicals in vapors, enabling advances in homeland security, forensics, and food safety. What brought you to NIST? After I finished my bachelor’s in nutrition at Virginia Tech, I attended The University of Colorado (CU) at Boulder for both my master’s and Ph.D. in chemical engineering. My research focused on ultraviolet (UV) light-curable cross-linking polymer kinetics — a fancy way of saying I studied things like how dental fillings harden under UV light. Upon finishing my Ph.D.,…

Of all the many useful and interesting periodic tables on the Internet—the periodic tables of the animals, vegetables, and minerals—and U.S. Presidents, Vienna® Chicago-style hot dog condiments, SQL server dynamic management objects, and paleo food—the original Periodic Table of the Elements remains my favorite. It’s not mine alone. While the multiplication table and tables of logarithms are pretty much forgotten, the meme of choice for purveyors of hot dog condiments or SQL-DMOs, is the Periodic Table of the Elements! There’s even a new Periodic Table Battleship game that has been designed to teach children the properties of the elements. You can download NIST Special Publication 966 to get the game boards for this. The NIST SP 966 code can also…

Maintaining a social media account involves keeping track of the many random celebrations that can provide an excuse to post a story that otherwise might not have a timely hook. National Peanut Butter Day (Jan. 24 for the uninitiated) is just such a day. While NIST chemist Carolyn Burdette spent a cold morning last February testing samples of peanut butter (yes, that’s part of her job), a visitor to our Gaithersburg, Md., campus was snapping a photo of a jar of the stuff, which is on display in our lobby. The image he posted to Twitter and imgur quickly shot around social media and stories soon appeared on sites including BoingBoing, the Food Network and Smithsonian magazine. “I felt a…