Nikola Tesla

Tesla was known for discovering amazing things and then forgetting to write them down.

You know his name, but how much do you really know about Nikola Tesla? The writers over at The Oatmeal want you to be aware of all of Tesla’s glory, and put together quite the comic to demonstrate it.

This from The Oatmeal:

Over one hundred years ago, a Serbian-American inventor by the name of Nikola Tesla started fixing things that weren’t broken… Tesla’s contributions were not incremental; they were revolutionary.

Learn more about this underdog and his inventions and contributions to science, which included: alternating current, hydroelectricity, cryogenic engineering, the remote control, neon lighting, and wireless communication just to name a few.

Check out the comic here.

Although The Oatmeal paints Thomas Edison – Tesla’s competitor and often times rival – as “a non-geek who operated in geek space,” we at ECS are still proud to have had him as a member of the Society.

If you’re looking for more humorous renditions of Tesla’s storied past, check out this Drunk History rendition via Funny or Die.

Just about exactly fifty years ago – this month, as I recall – I walked into the office of the chemistry department chairman at SMU and asked to become a chemistry major. It was among my better decisions. The fit has proven to be perfect.

(These comments were presentedby Larry R. Faulkner at the ceremony commemorating Honorary Membership in The Electrochemical Society for Allen J. Bard and John B. Goodenough, University of Texas at Austin, Texas, November 23, 2013.)

I have loved the science and its history. I have loved its relevance to the world at large. I have even loved the fact that chemists are workaholics. It’s notable, in fact, that when I went to see the department chairman back in 1963, it was about eight o’clock in the evening. The light was on in his office, as it was practically every night. While he didn’t warmly welcome my interruption, he still helped me – and Professor Harold Jeskey became an important mentor and a lifelong friend.

Read the rest.

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The Potentiostat and the Voltage Clamp

The Clackboard icon

From the Winter 2013 issue of Interface.

In the history of science and technology, there have been many instances when two or more persons have independently created an invention or concept at almost the same time, but for various reasons, one inventor takes precedence or credit.

(This was originally published in Interface, the ECS magazine. It was written by Jackson E. Harrar.)

Examples are the telephone, the integrated circuit, calculus in mathematics, and the theory of evolution. Once the invention or concept is introduced, further development soon proceeds along a single path. A rare instance is an innovation that was developed by two different scientists in two different fields at almost the same time, and then widely used for many years in these two fields without the investigators being aware of the other application.

This happened in the case of the potentiostat and the voltage clamp, which are basically similar instruments, but whose actual applications are quite dissimilar.

Read the rest.

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Post Your Jobs Here

Redcat Blog

Free postings for businesses.

For a limited time, businesses can post jobs for free on the ECS Redcat Job Board.

Here are some of the latest for those looking:

Group Leader in the area of Power Storage; Batteries and Supercaps
CIC Energigune – Alava, Spain

Lead Electroplating Application Engineer
ClassOne Technology – Atlanta, Georgia

Researcher – Lithium-ion batteries (electrolytes) (2065)
Hydro-Québec (IREQ) – Varennes, Canada

Researcher – Lithium-ion batteries (2064)
Hydro-Québec (IREQ) – Varennes, Canada

Postdoc – Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Berkeley, United States

Electrochemistry Product Specialist 14-27
Metrohm USA – Tampa, Florida

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Solid State Hydrogen Storage Gets Boost

Powder Metallurgy Review

“Hydrogen will be an important fuel of the future and its safe storage will be key to its success.”

This from Powder Metallurgy Review:

GKN Powder Metallurgy and McPhy Energy SA have announced a technology partnership agreement to accelerate the deployment of cost competitive solid state hydrogen storage.

Industrial markets already consume large volumes of hydrogen and in future the gas will play an important role in storing renewable energy as well as in CO2 free hydrogen fuel cell vehicle development. Solid state storage is stated as being a safe way to store large quantities of gas with high density at low pressure.

Read the rest.

PS: ECS has a technical division that will interest you.

5 Useful Electrochemistry Websites

Websites of Note

Websites of Note are gathered by Zoltan Nagy.

This is the latest Websites of Note, a regular feature in the ECS magazine Interface researched by Zoltan Nagy, a semi-retired electrochemist.

Physical and Interfacial Electrochemistry – M. Lyons, Trinity College
Ion-solvent interactions. Ion-ion interactions. Electrochemical thermodynamics. Electrode-solution interface. Electrode kinetics. Material transport. Hydrodynamic electrodes. (Lecture notes)

Surface Electrochemistry and Reactivity – J. M. Feliu and E. Herrero, Universitat d’Alacant
The surface of the metal substrate. Platinum single crystals. Charge displacement and anion adsorption. Adatom adsorption. Foreign adatom layers. Potential of zero total charge.


Electric Bacteria

Electric bacteria connect to form wires.

Here a fascinating piece from being passed around the home office at the moment.

Stick an electrode in the ground, pump electrons down it, and they will come: living cells that eat electricity. We have known bacteria to survive on a variety of energy sources, but none as weird as this. Think of Frankenstein’s monster, brought to life by galvanic energy, except these “electric bacteria” are very real and are popping up all over the place.

I love this quote near the end:

The discovery of electric bacteria shows that some very basic forms of life can do away with sugary middlemen and handle the energy in its purest form – electrons, harvested from the surface of minerals. “It is truly foreign, you know,” says Professor Kenneth Nealson. “In a sense, alien.”

There’s a video with the piece that shows the bacteria lassoing food. Watch and read.

Professor Nealson, the focus of this story, has published with us in the past. Read some of his work in The ECS Digital Library.

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Atom-scale Manipulation Breakthrough

Bromine atoms

20 bromine atoms were positioned on a sodium chloride surface using the tip of an atomic force microscope at room temperature.

In the early days of this blog, Annie Goedkoop, Director of Publications for ECS, has been a great source for posts. Her latest from Engineering and Technology Magazine is about a discovery ECS member and past meeting attendee, Ernst Meyer, and his team are working on:

The first successful systematic atomic manipulation on an insulating surface at room temperatures has been achieved and presented by international researchers at the University of Basel, thereby taking the manipulation of atoms to a new level.


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Where Do Good Ideas Come From?

NPR Ted Radio Hour

NPR take several talks that fit into the episode’s theme, replay parts of them, and often interview the speakers to get more insight.

The Ted Radio Hour is an NPR show that features TedTalks (shame on you if you have never listened). NPR take several talks that fit into the episode’s theme, replay parts of them, and often interview the speakers to get more insight.

A recent episode caught my ear —What is Original?

When is copying flattery, when is it thievery, and when is it sheer genius? In this hour, TED speakers explore how sampling, borrowing, and riffing make all of us innovators.

In particular was the section with writer Steven Johnson’s TedTalk — Where Do Good Ideas Come From?

Earlier this year, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk decided to give away his company’s patents for free. It might seem like a strange business move, but Musk said he wanted to inspire creativity and accelerate innovation. Writer Steven Johnson says this is the way great ideas have been born throughout history.

ECS blogger Dan Fatton commended Tesla recently. Turns out people are seeing that Open Access, a concept ECS is dedicated to, is where good ideas come from.

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Have You Seen Reddit?

Reddit Science Logo

What are people talking about?

Here’s something you might not have considered — Reddit. It calls itself a “platform for internet communities where your votes shape what the world is talking about.” There are a range of topics on Reddit, some not for the faint of heart. But you can find some science sub-Reddits. Here’s the general science one to get you started. It has close to 6 million subscribers. That’s a lot of power.

You also might be interested in the AMAs (Ask Me Anything) in the right column. They’re Q&As with scientists.

It’s just for fun, but be warned, it can be a deep rabbit hole once you start.

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