Poetic licence, Any Pioneering ancestors? and Corrigenda

Poetic licence

Chloe Parnell, by e-mail

I am writing after having just returned to the UK after teaching chemistry in New Zealand for a year. During this year, I began writing chemistry poems that mirrored teaching and learning topics. The great thing about them is they often use rhyming to illustrate key points or provide the students an easy way of remembering often tricky concepts. The poem reproduced below is entitled The difficulty with remembering the difference between amphiprotic and amphoteric: 

Have you ever been confused
With properties of water?
Have you ever noticed that
It's amphiprotic sorta'?

If it's with an acid
It likes to take the proton
If it's with an alkali
Put its hydroxide coat on.

This can cause confusion
It's an acid, and a base;
Hydronium, hydroxide
It's a property that's ace!

Now here's a puzzle for you
What about a solid?
That likes to be an alkali
Or indeed an acid.

We call this matter amphoteric
ZnO can take this merit
And its friend AlOH
With hydroxide makes aluminate.

Water splash

Source: kubais/Shuttersotck

I bet you still feel confused
These two words; you look bemused.
Amphoteric and amphiprotic
Make proton movement look hysteric.

In summary of both these terms
To reflect on what we learnt
Here's one more verse for you to say
Write it down? Yes you may!

If its ends with an 'eric'
It gives solids all their merit
If you see it ends in 'protic'
It's for water - now just note it!

Any Pioneering ancestors?

Marelene & Geoff Rayner-Canham, Grenfell College, Memorial University, Corner Brook, NL, Canada

Do you or any of your pupils have a pioneer woman chemist in the family? We have identified over 800 British women who were professionally active in chemistry between 1880 and 1949, of whom at least 100 made significant contributions to chemistry or chemistry teaching during that period.

As can be seen from the biographical there is a lot of information still to discover about many of these individuals and we would like to enlist your help. Your pupils could search to find if there is anyone with their own family name(s) listed or you might assign names from pioneers who attended your school or came from your geographical area. We would be most grateful for any information that you or your pupils unearth. Please send your discoveries to mrcanham@swgc.mun.ca.

For any new information that we add to the website, we will add the name and school of the discoverer.


From P.G. Nelson, Hull

In Education in Chemistry, 2010, 47 (3), 83, on page 85, column 2, line 2, the bond between Al and N should be triple. In Table 2, the value of for the 2-3 bond in naphthalene should be 0.60. In reference 4, the Chemical Society Special Publications are: no. 11, 1958; no. 18, 1965.