The History of Chemistry

86: Turnabout is Fair Play

September 17, 2023 Steve Cohen Episode 86
86: Turnabout is Fair Play
The History of Chemistry
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The History of Chemistry
86: Turnabout is Fair Play
Sep 17, 2023 Episode 86
Steve Cohen

We turn to an oddity in the world of chemistry that became more widely known in the 1980s: non-equilibrium thermodynamics, and especially oscillating reactions. A couple of examples were known in the 19th century, but the first model for how such reactions might go was created by Alfred Lotka and Vito Volterra early in the 20th century. We hear about Liebhafsky and Bray's oscillating reaction, and then Boris Belousov's reaction, studied further by Anatol Zhabotinsky. Around this time, Ilya Prigogine also started to research the general topic of non-equilibrium thermodynamics, which helps to explain such oscillating reactions. By the 1960s and 1970s, scientists began explaining the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction via the Brusselator, FKN, and Oregonator mechanisms. We end with the first attempts to devise new oscillating reactions, and how these reactions help to explain fingerprints, zebra stripes, leopard spots, and other biological structures. Become my Patreon supporter, and download a supplemental sheet with diagrams of some of the topics I discuss.

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We turn to an oddity in the world of chemistry that became more widely known in the 1980s: non-equilibrium thermodynamics, and especially oscillating reactions. A couple of examples were known in the 19th century, but the first model for how such reactions might go was created by Alfred Lotka and Vito Volterra early in the 20th century. We hear about Liebhafsky and Bray's oscillating reaction, and then Boris Belousov's reaction, studied further by Anatol Zhabotinsky. Around this time, Ilya Prigogine also started to research the general topic of non-equilibrium thermodynamics, which helps to explain such oscillating reactions. By the 1960s and 1970s, scientists began explaining the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction via the Brusselator, FKN, and Oregonator mechanisms. We end with the first attempts to devise new oscillating reactions, and how these reactions help to explain fingerprints, zebra stripes, leopard spots, and other biological structures. Become my Patreon supporter, and download a supplemental sheet with diagrams of some of the topics I discuss.

A Little Bit de Todo
A Little Bit de Todo is a podcast about a little bit of everything, for curious minds...

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Support the Show.

(Cont.) 86: Turnabout is Fair Play