Molecular images oversimplified and Bohr's gold 

Science textbook illustrations routinely omit what equipment and materials were required to produce them, but I just learned something odd and interesting from David S. Goodsell’s book Our Molecular Nature.
When studying a molecule, researchers typically need large supplies and must choose a source that is rich in the particular molecule. For instance, much of the work on myoglobin has been performed on the protein from sperm whale muscle, because whale muscles contain large quantities of the protein to store oxygen during their extended dives.
Fascinating, no? Pretty pictures often take liberties in their presentation of data, but sperm whale muscle and myoglobin? Who knew? (Except Dr. Goodsell, of course.)

And weblog-post part two, learned from Philip Ball’s book The Ingredients: During World War II, when two German Jewish physicists asked Niels Bohr to guard their Nobel Prize medallions, Bohr and a colleague melted the gold into a colloid suspension and kept it in unmarked jars in their laboratory, to prevent Nazis from seizing it. After the war, they recovered the gold and recast the medals.

Wow -- both of those stories are really fascinating! Thanks for sharing them. :-)

*Ahem*... Have you gone to see "MirrorMask" yet?

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