A life of magic chemistry: autobiographical reflections of a by George A. Olah

By George A. Olah

The interesting autobiographical reflections of Nobel Prize winner George Olah How did a tender guy who grew up in Hungary among the 2 international Wars pass from cleansing rubble and relocating pianos on the finish of global warfare II within the Budapest Opera apartment to successful the Nobel Prize in Chemistry? George Olah takes us on a amazing trip from Budapest to Cleveland to Los Angeles-with a stopover in Stockholm, after all. An cutting edge scientist, George Olah is actually extraordinary, whose outstanding learn into super robust acids and their new chemistry yielded what's now generally called superacidic "magic acid chemistry. a lifetime of Magic Chemistry is an intimate examine the various trips that George Olah has traveled-from his early learn and instructing in Hungary, to his movement to North the US the place, in the course of his years in undefined, he persisted his learn of the elusive cations of carbon, to his go back to academia in Cleveland, and, ultimately, his stream to la, the place he equipped the Loker Hydrocarbon study Institute to discover new ideas to the grave challenge of the world's diminishing usual oil and fuel assets and to mitigate worldwide warming via recycling carbon dioxide into hydrocarbon fuels and items. Professor Olah invitations the reader to benefit from the tale of his outstanding path-marked through labor, mind's eye, and unending quests for discovery-which finally resulted in the Nobel Prize. Intertwining his examine and instructing with a distinct own writing sort actually makes a lifetime of Magic Chemistry a fascinating learn. His autobiography not just touches on his exhilarating existence and pursuit for brand new chemistry but additionally displays at the broader which means ofscience in our perpetual look for knowing and data.

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Newton, one of the greatest physicists of all time, is said to have spent more time on his alchemist efforts and experimentation than on his physical studies. Was this only scientific fascination, or had his C H E M I S T RY ࡗ 25 position as Master of the Royal Mint added to his interest? Not only could he have wanted to safeguard the purity of the gold coins of the realm, but the thought may have crossed his mind that perhaps he could also produce the gold itself by transforming much less valuable mercury.

Little did I expect to repeat G R O W I N G U P I N H U N G A RY ࡗ 45 this experiment with superacidic ‘‘magic acid’’ years later, when, unexpectedly, no bubbles were formed (see Chapter 8). After going through some of the routine experiments described in the manual that came with the chemistry set, we boldly advanced to more interesting ‘‘individual’’ experiments. The result was an explosion followed by a minor fire and much smoke, which destroyed the chemistry set and ended the welcome for our experimentation.

One aspect was practical, aimed at making gold from common base metals or mercury and thus providing unlimited wealth for those who could achieve it. ’’ These days we consider alchemy a strange and mystical mixture of magic and religion, at best an embryonic form of chemistry but more a pseudo-science. But as Jung pointed out, alchemy was not simply a futile quest to transform base metals into noble gold. ’’ It was thus in a way a religious quest —not necessarily just a scientific one. Matter and spirit were inseparable to medieval alchemists, and they strove to transform them through these procedures, which sometimes amounted to sacramental rites and religious rituals as much as scientific research.

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