The Sceptical Chymist | Blogroll: But is it art?

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Editor’s note: Now that Neil has left the Nature Chemistry fold to move over to Chemistry World, we have invited bloggers out there in the wild to compose our monthly Blogroll column. Third up is See Arr Oh.


Practical synthetic chemistry shows an artistic side with synthesized doodles, logos and colouring-book molecules.

It’s been a busy summer in the blogosphere! Between ‘arsenic life’ and the newly discovered Higgs boson, science blogs seem more relevant than ever. In all the fuss, though, they may have overlooked some promising chemical artists in their midst.

First up, let’s turn our attention to the 2012 London Olympic Games. Chemists at the University of Warwick decided to commemorate the event by synthesizing a new molecular version of the famed Olympic rings. ChemConnector’s Antony Williams explains that a chalkboard ‘doodle’ evolved into a synthesis of olympicene; the RSC’s ChemSpider SyntheticPages later published the step-by-step details. IBM-Zurich (of pentacene-imaging fame) posted a series of finely resolved atomic images to Flickr.

Next we’ll talk high fashion. At Chemistry World, Phillip Broadwith noted a neat undergraduate synthesis project: making a hydrocarbon to match a clothing label’s logo. After just three steps, Plymouth University’s Mark Cockerton and Simon Belt had their target…but still no word on whether they’ve tied up a sponsorship deal with the apparel company in question!

Speaking of synthetic art, we’d be remiss not to wish a happy belated birthday to organic chemist K. C. Nicolaou. Blogger BRSM prepared a special tribute to his penchant for flashy colours and ancient mythology in the figures that adorn his papers and the graphical abstracts that accompany them. A small group of Blogroll’s ‘usual suspects’ — including Adam Azman, Chemjobber and Dr Freddy — re-imagined K.C.’s classic molecules with new artistic twists. Perhaps these entries will finally prompt publication of that chemical colouring book.

Written by See Arr Oh, who blogs at


[As mentioned in this post, we’re posting the monthly blogroll column here on the Sceptical Chymist. This is September’s article]

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