Category Archives: Curiosities

Magically Magnetic Gadolinium : Nature Chemistry : Nature Publishing Group

Gadolinium is one of the most important materials used by us during attempts to construct an effective magnetocaloric cooling unit. Please read the basic facts about it.

The name of the element (gadolinium) comes from the Hebrew “gadol”—a great (and its write in Hebrew).

Both gadolinium and some of its alloys or salts play a prominent role in magnetic cooling. In this refrigeration process, a magnetic substance becomes hotter when placed under certain external magnetic field, owing to the orientation of its magnetic dipoles. Inversely when the field is removed, and the substance thermally isolated, it cools down. By varying the magnetic field, and the sample’s insulation, one shuffles entropy between the material’s electronic spin system and other degrees of freedom.

Source: Magically magnetic gadolinium : Nature Chemistry : Nature Publishing Group

  • [DOI] P. Pyykkö, “Magically magnetic gadolinium,” Nature chemistry, vol. 7, iss. 8, p. 680–680, 2015.
    Title = {Magically magnetic gadolinium},
    Author = {Pyykkö, Pekka},
    Journal = {Nature Chemistry},
    Year = {2015},
    Month = aug,
    Number = {8},
    Pages = {680--680},
    Volume = {7},
    Abstract = {Pekka Pyykkö discusses the history and characteristics of gadolinium.},
    Copyright = {© 2015 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.},
    Doi = {10.1038/nchem.2287},
    ISSN = {1755-4330},
    Language = {en},
    Url = {},
    Urldate = {2015-07-26}

New amazing metal is so hydrophobic it makes water bounce like magic

New amazing metal is so hydrophobic it makes water bounce like magic

Scientists at the University of Rochester have created a metal that is so extremely hydrophobic that the water bounces on it as if it were repelled by a magic force field. Instead of using chemical coatings they used lasers to etch a nanostructure on the metal itself. It will not wear off, like current less effective methods.

fromNew amazing metal is so hydrophobic it makes water bounce like magic.

Fuel Cell Vehicles Aren’t Yet Greener than Hybrids | MIT Technology Review

If you want to help cut greenhouse gas emissions, you should probably skip the hydrogen fuel cell cars now coming to market and buy a much cheaper hybrid instead.

After decades of research and small-scale demonstrations, hydrogen cars are finally rolling into view. These vehicles use electric motors, but their electricity comes not from a battery but from hydrogen, processed in a chemical reaction that takes place inside a fuel cell.

za Fuel Cell Vehicles Aren’t Yet Greener than Hybrids | MIT Technology Review.

Standards for Scientific Grafic Presentations

Must read for everyone! Especially cited article from year 1914 [1].

There are so many beautiful tools for preparing “presentation graphics!” All they are so easy to use. So, we stop thinking about the graph and its meaning.

Over the previous hundred years, a lot of work has gone into standardizing the way scientific data is presented. All of this knowledge has been largely forgotten. I want us to bring it back to life.

source: Standards for Scientific Graphic Presentation [2].

[2] Standards for Scientific Graphic Presentation (Jure Triglav), 2014. [bibtex] [pdf]
[1] Joint Committee on Standards for Graphic Presentation, In Publications of the American Statistical Association, volume 14, 1915. [bibtex] [pdf] [doi]

A radical change in peer review

A recent pilot project by the National Science Foundation (NSF) aimed at easing the strain on its vaunted merit review system featured an unusual twist: Grant applicants were required to review seven proposals from peers competing for the same pot of money. The approach created a captive—and highly motivated—pool of reviewers for program managers within NSF’s Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation Division, saving them time. And using mail reviews rather than panels also saved NSF money. The quality of the reviews also seemed to be comparable to what is generated with NSF’s traditional approach to peer review. NSF officials are weighing whether to expand the pilot to other programs.

za pomocą A radical change in peer review.

Data looks better naked | Darkhorse Analytics Blog

Very interesting observations taken again from the blog DarkHorse Analytics on presenting graphs. Consider!

To illustrate how less ink is more effective, attractive and impactive we put together this animated gif. In it we start with a chart, similar to what we’ve seen in many presentations, and vastly improve it with progressive deletions and no additions.


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