Who Doesn't Like Soil Science?
January 18, 2009 7:07 AM   Subscribe

Who Doesn't Like Soil Science? Well, OK, a lot of people. But there is a cool collection of 3-D models of significant compound in the field at the Virtual Museum of Minerals and Molecules. Hosted at the University of Wisconsin, it currenly has 26 exhibits ranging from simple (I like graphite) to complex (plastocyanin should please everyone with its useful copper-holding functions).You can rotate the models in all directions and emphasize particular substructures to get a better look at them. Fun for anyone who like soil, chemistry, or playing with 3-D molecule models.
posted by GenjiandProust (11 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Metal Gear Science!
posted by Artw at 8:59 AM on January 18, 2009

This is awesome, GenjiandProust. Thanks - I'm going to spend a while looking at these molecular models now.

By the way, go here - the mods'll fix this for you pretty quick.
posted by koeselitz at 9:06 AM on January 18, 2009

posted by Artw at 9:09 AM on January 18, 2009

JMOL appears to be a bit buggy - the radiobuttons say "Spacefill", but actually it's showing ball and stick. Clicking onto something else and then back onto spacefill fixes it.

(needs flash version)
posted by Artw at 9:11 AM on January 18, 2009

Mod note: Fixed post up a bit. Carry on.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:55 AM on January 18, 2009

C60 looks great in stick, stick ball, and fillspace, but fillspace display space is too small.

Just for kicks: Also known as "Buckminsterfullerene" after R. Buckminster Fuller-- an American architect, author, designer, futurist, inventor, and visionary.
posted by quanta and qualia at 10:29 AM on January 18, 2009

This is an outstanding resource, thank you for posting it. I'm sure it takes a great deal of work to create these, but the end result is worth it. Let's hope they continue to add more molecules.

Wow, how I would have enjoyed having a resource like this 25 years ago in organic chem class! I don't have too much of a problem with 3D visualization or organic compounds, but some of the complex inorganic lattices still give me trouble. I've always wanted to have a better understanding of crystallography, and those kind of structures are tough to represent well on 2D paper.

Hey Artw, did you check out Buckminsterfullerene? It looks just like a soccer ball!
posted by Tube at 10:30 AM on January 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

The concrete on is not quite right, but I think it's more a poor choice of artistic convention for ionic bonds wrong rather than a "mix 2 parts earth to one part fire and then add one part water and say three Our Fathers" wrong.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:45 AM on January 18, 2009

Seems like a good place to mention the exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History "Dig It! The Secrets of Soil."
posted by gudrun at 12:48 PM on January 18, 2009

annnnnnd now it's time for the biochar links.
posted by eustatic at 4:04 PM on January 18, 2009

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