Science Challenge #33
Challenge Question #1.
In 1620 the Belgian physician and alchemist Jan Baptista van Helmont named this type of substance "chaos" but he spoke Flemish so the name became "gas" which is the phonetic sound of the Flemish word as spoken in English. Helmont called the specific substance that is the answer to this question "gas sylvestre" because he produced it by burning wood. A hundred years later the Scottish chemist Joseph Black produced the same substance by heating calcium carbonate and called it "fixed air". The chemical composition of this gas was discovered by the French chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier who, in 1787, with several colleagues established a standard way of naming chemical substances.
What is the standard chemical name for the substance studied by both Helmont and Black but given a different name by each of them?
Challenge Question #2.
We now know a great deal more about molecular and atomic structure than was even dreamed of in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Much of this knowledge has come about through the use of new technologies. We now have different types of microscopes and we have computers to do the often very complex analyses and computations. This question has to do with general understanding of orders of magnitude not with intimate chemical knowledge.
A water molecule - H20 - contains 3 atoms; the sugar molecule - C6H12O6 - contains 24 atoms. Hemoglobin, an active constituent of red blood cells, is a protein.
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