What is this blog about?
Science communication. The portrayal of science in the media is not always very accurate or easy to understand, so I thought it would be an interesting project to try and explain some of the things I’ve been seeing in films and shows. Currently, I’m watching Breaking Bad and Fringe.
Who are you, and are you qualified to write about this?
I’m a science officer with the British government, used to be a lecturer at a large university in South Korea, and did my MSci and PhD in chemistry back in the UK. I’m therefore highly qualified as a scientist; less so as a science communicator.
What are weak interactions, and why is the blog named after them?
In particle physics, the weak interaction (often called the weak nuclear force) is a fundamental interaction responsible for some nuclear properties. In chemistry, however, the term refers to various intermolecular forces that are not as strong as chemical bonds. Typical examples include hydrogen bonding, Van der Waals forces and ionic forces.
This blog is about science communication, and when I came up with the idea I envisaged readers drifting in and altering their perceptions slightly by learning something. This process is analogous to chemical interactions such as crystallisation, where weak intermolecular forces direct incoming molecules into more favourable positions.
What’s the molecule at the top of the page?
It’s a zoomed-in view of an adenine molecule and a thymine molecule associating with each other by hydrogen bonding. This weak interaction is how DNA’s sugar-phosphate backbone forms its characteristic double helix, and is analogous to the storage and transfer of information.
Can you write about this show/film/article I saw/read?
Very likely, if I can get hold of a copy of it and I have enough free time. Leave a comment on this page with some information about it and I’ll take a look if I can.
I don’t understand something you’ve written. Can you explain it in more detail?
Yes – just leave a comment on the relevant post or page with some more details and I’ll go back and rewrite sections to make them easier to understand. I don’t expect to get all my explanations right first time, so all feedback is helpful.
Can you tell me how to make crystal meth?
No. I don’t know how to, and even if I did it’s a bit of a silly idea.