Story of Nitrogen, Story-Embedded Science
Science, it sounds fascinating and difficult at the same time. Yeah, we ARE fascinated by whole state-of-art outcomes, not from how they works and what’s going on deep down there. Perhaps, this is the reason for Science fiction movie being constructed with fascinating glitches of science. Such as, a real hollow man can’t see anything at all.
But, it is also true that deep inside those headache-inducing principles of science, there still are some theorem that may catch your eyes. And this story, story of Nitrogen, is all about it.
I’m confident that almost everyone knows Nitrogen is quite a common compound in the world, that is abundant in the air. The most common usage of nitrogen gas would be your favourite potato chips, protecting it from being cracked inside the package. So what? Let’s roll.
The story starts with haughty chemical consultant, who’s thinking himself having a superior career than ordinary chemists do, by not undergoing dirty (?) and risky experimental works. Unexpectedly, at the end of his work inspecting problem with lipstick production line, he accepts a request from plant manager to supply some unpopular chemical for him. Of course the consultant gladly accepted without knowing how to make it, and looked into it later on. The requested chemical was a strong dye which consists carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and Nitrogen. He found out that most likely starting material was dung (let’s say excrement, since it sound better….) from animals such as chicken or snake, and that’s where his work started to get twisted.
Easy there, nitrogen element is totally different form nitrogen gas, component of DNA or zero-calorie sweeteners. What he needed wasn’t excrement itself, but nitrogen in it.
What he tried first was chicken, but it was a real ‘dirty’ task, so he tried to get the one from snake. Eventually, he was scorned at an animal store, being told the excrement of snake was a really expensive material which pharmaceutical companies highly demand. After all, he turns into the common experimental task, what he was thinking himself superior by not doing such thing.
Let’s see how different forms of nitrogen appeared in this story haughty chemist. We all know nitrogen gas, a cheap excrement containing nitrogen, and an expensive source of nitrogen. doesnn’t It sound like a real alchemy huh?
Well, I didn’t laugh with that consultant story, but at least, I could see this:
‘Even a same element can be turned into a totally different thing, depending on its form.’
May be, this was what the author wanted to tell. But excrement stuff is not a bright choice I guess…..
Suggested, you could seek “what is ‘organic chemistry’ and its significance?”
Movie Hollow man, from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/1/18/Hollowman-pic.jpg/200px-Hollowman-pic.jpg
Furtilizer, from http://www.flickr.com/photos/48625620@N00/414755309/#
The Original Story: Nitrogen – from Penguin Books, The Periodic Table