Fritz Haber, a German by nationality and a chemist by occupation. Contributed to saving the worlds food production going by using a special process to make ammonia that could be used in fertilizers. This would increase the worlds food production that was needed incredibly, due to the rise in population and of course the world war.
This process was eventually named the “Haber process”, after the man who won the Nobel prize for chemistry in 1918 and he definitely, most certainly earned it.
So, what is this Haber process?
Well, in a nutshell, it uses this thing called dynamic equilibrium.
Dynamic equilibrium is simply a state of balance between two things. In this case, we have a reaction between hydrogen and nitrogen in the ratio 3:1, the reaction is reversible which means it goes forward and backward from the reactants to the products. But this is a problem because not all of the nitrogen will convert into ammonia, and then the reaction will reach a dynamic equilibrium.
Below is the equation for the reaction, the half arrow sign simply means “reversible”.
NITROGEN is extracted from the air through fractional distillation!
And Hydrogen can be extracted from hydrocarbons such as methane!! (easier to do than water)
Dynamic equilibrium is reached when the reaction is over, and the maximum amount of ammonia is produced.
Have a happy Easter, full of happy eggs
It is probably not uppermost in your mind when you dye eggs for Easter that you are depending on an invisible structure called the cuticle being present for the eggs to colour properly. But the amount of change in colour you see depends on how much cuticle is present on the egg.
Having colourful Easter eggs is good news, but more importantly this same cuticle prevents bacteria entering the egg. This reduces the chance of bacteria reaching the developing chick if the egg is fertile and keeps the non-fertile eggs we eat safe.
Industry and BBSRC-funded scientist are developing tools which are better, although less colourful, to measure the amount of cuticle on an egg. This will allow genetic selection to improve the cuticle and improve egg safety.
Research from: The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, Lohmann Tierzucht and Aviagen
Image of the green eggs from Norrie Russell.
Images of the bowl of dyed eggs from Hannah Dunn.
Close-ups of butterfly wing scales! You should definitely click on these images to get the full detail.
I’ve paired each amazing close-up (by macro photographer Linden Gledhill) with an image of the corresponding butterfly or moth. The featured lepidoptera* are (in order of appearance):
- Madagascar diadem Hypolimnas dexithea (photo by Michel-Georges Bernard)
- Comet moth Argema mittrei (photo by Axel Strauß)
- Sunset moth Chrysiridia rhipheus (photo from Wikimedia Commons)
- Giant Blue Morpho Morpho didius (photo by Didier Descouens, Muséum de Toulouse)
- Rippon’s Birdwing Troides hypolitus (photo by Robert Nash, Ulster Museum)
*Lepidoptera (the scientific order that includes moths and butterflies) means “scaly wing.” The scales get their color not from pigment - but from microscopic structures that manipulate light.
For centuries, researchers have studied the brain to find exactly where mechanisms for producing and interpreting language reside. Theories abound on how humans acquire new languages and how our developing brains learn to process languages.