Have you ever wondered about Cheeze Whiz? why new cars have a distinctive smell? or what makes golf balls so springy?
Chemical and Engineering News, published by the American Chemical Society, has a wonderful section that you will certainly appreciate.
"What's that stuff?" is a collection of entertaining stories about the stuff we encounter in everyday life. Each article combines chemistry with history and fun facts in a way that entices the reader to stay awhile and read every one.
Since the stories are written for non-chemists, they make a perfect companion to chemistry courses ranging from high school and beyond.
Many of the articles would be great in non-chemistry courses, too. For example, the articles on chocolate, Jell-O, ice cream, margarine, MSG, licorice, and chili peppers would be great assignments for any nutrition or cooking class. Microbiology students would enjoy reading about food preservatives and pasteurized foods. Environmental science students could read about bug sprays, plastic bags, cement, asphalt, and artificial snow.
Even artists, cosmetology, and fashion students would find something here to spark their imagination. Stories on sunscreen, ink, fireworks, hair coloring, self-tanners, and lipstick are sure to appeal.
With articles on topics that range from Silly Putty to Lycra, and catnip to champagne, this site is sure to answer some questions along with raising a few new ones.
What is kitty litter anyway? Now, I'm going to have to find out.
Thanks - I forwarded to my kids - one is a Chem E student and one is in Jr. High. I think they will both enjoy the link.
The Cheez Whiz article was a little disappointing. I still feel mystified by Cheez Whiz after reading it.
Also, I couldn't stand the way it kept saying "process cheese" instead of "processed cheese". Is "process cheese" really acceptible? It was driving me nuts.
I agree that the term "process cheese" does NOT sound like proper English. But I looked at the Kraft site and that's what Kraft calls it. So even though it sounds awful, the term is correct.
I see this sort of thing with marketing literature quite often. An engineer or a scientist will make a typo and before long it becomes engraved in stone.
"Process cheese" is okay if you think of it as meaning "cheese made by a process" (which really doesn't say much, does it? I mean, a cow is a process, right?). "Processed cheese" on the other hand, means that cheese has gone in the one end, been subjected to a process, and comes out, changed, at the other end. Yeah, I also prefer "Processed cheese" because if they don't *start* with cheese, I don't want to know what they do start with. (And, no, I don't mean milk).