Such a great Chemistry – thanks and farewell, Chad Jones

This week at Real Scientists, Chad Jones of @TheCollapsedPsi podcast fame tackle some big questions in science and science communication head-on.  One of the biggest issues in science communication is combating popular perceptions of  scientific terms, for example: Is everything a chemical?

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Chad coordinated a huge discussion about this (will be available in the Storify shortly) and even put together a Youtube video for a longer explanation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2QQht2aLhA&feature=youtube_gdata_player

It’s one of the bugbears of scientists: pointing out that “everything is a chemical”  technically speaking, rather than substances communal perceived to be toxic chemicals,, but as Chad points out, it’s not always true to make that generalisation.  It’s of the challenges of science communication.

Chad also took us round his lab and allowed us to virtually play with his lab toys, like this 4.7 T magnet:

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You can never have too many magnets on Real Scientists.  So please thank Chad for his huge week tweeting for us with such clarity and verve, especially while unwell, and for sharing your work and music with us.  You can follow Chad’s continuing adventures on twitter at @TheCollapsedPsi and his podcast and blog.

EXTRA!

This week also saw the revelation of what the Insect Isengard/Insect Stonenhenge structures discovered by graduate student Troy Alexander were all about, as promised by last week’s Real Scientists curators, Phil Torres and Lary Reeves.

© Wired

© Wired

The structure is a carefully guarded egg sac by an as yet unidentified spider.  The hatchling finally emerged just before Phil and Lary left Tambopata, as the entire structure collapsed to reveal a tiny spider.  It’s an amazing structure, but still more amazing given the amount of effort that’s required to make this structure, as spiders don’t usually put this much effort in to take care of single babies, but, rather, produce many to increase chances of a few surviving. You can read all about the exciting discovery at Wired and io9.

Supra-man – Chad Jones joins Real Scientists

After an exciting week in the field – and how good is the Amazon as a place for field work – we must return, as always to the lab to really get to the essence of things [Ed: biased author of post is a molecular biologist].  We are delighted to welcome our next curator, physical chemist Chad Jones of Brigham Young University in Utah.  Chad/@TheCollapsedPsi is a graduate student and podcaster, co-hosting the podcast The Collapsed Wave Function can be found via his blog of the same name.

had earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at Weber State University. His brother “told me I wasn’t smarty enough to get a BS in Chemistry. I wanted to prove him wrong.”  Chad went on to Brigham and Young to pursue higher studies,  where he researches gas phase conformations of supramolecular complexes. What to know what supramolecular complexes are? Tune in to the tweets 🙂

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As well as bringing up three boys, who “are currently experiencing the unique upbringing that comes with having a science nerd for a father;” Chad ended up in science because:

“..because I became passionate about it during my college years. I never saw myself as a scientist. I thought I was going to be a musician. Things changed. I think sometimes people think they have to say things like “ever since I was a boy I wanted to be a …” to prove they are passionate about something. To me the opposite is true. If your dreams and passions today are the same today as they were 15 years ago that could be a sign that you’re not working on them at all.  Passions change. Dreams change. Career ambitions change.  Some people do have the same dream job from childhood to adulthood. That’s great for them, but you shouldn’t be ashamed of that’s not the case for you”

Chad started his blog in 2011, and since then has won awards for his science communication, written articles and become an expert in the subject of chemistry for Answers.com. He is a passionate advocate for science education and communication and we are privileged to have him on board at Real Scientists.

And what does Chad like to outside the lab?

“Music is still a hobby of mine. I don’t imagine myself add a famous rock star anymore, but I still like to play guitar when time allows. Not nearly as much as in high school. I played guitar 6-10 hours per day for many years. I would skip school to play and write songs with friends. I also like biking and hiking. Utah has some beautiful mountains that many here just ignore.”

Please welcome Chad Jones/@TheCollapsedPsi to Real Scientists!