Sci.chem FAQ - Part 1 of 7

1 view
Skip to first unread message

Bruce Hamilton

Jan 15, 2004, 4:06:54 AM1/15/04

Archive-name: sci/chem-faq/part1
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 22 October 1999
Version: 1.17

FAQ: Sci.chem
Editor: Bruce Hamilton

This FAQ is posted monthly to the Usenet groups sci.chem, sci.answers and
news.answers, and the latest version should be obtained from any of those
groups, or from the Dejanews or Altavista WWW sites that also offer Usenet.
It can be obtained by FTP from the FAQ archive site at in the
pub/usenet-by-hierarchy/sci/chem directory, where other chemistry-related
FAQs are also archived as ascii files in their sub-directories.

The FAQ is also available, along with many other Usenet FAQs, on the WWW at, in both ascii and simple hypertext formats. Due to propagation
delays, some WWW and archive sites may not contain all parts of the latest
version, but a WWW search engine should locate those parts at other sites.


- revised WWW sections.
- updated various email addresses,
- updated references


Subject: 1. Dedication

This FAQ is dedicated to the memory of the late Larry Lippman, who departed
from this group ( and life ) in 1991. His superb posts on a wide range of
chemical topics were both informative and entertaining. He established the
sci.chem tradition of friendly, authoritative, and accurate answers to
many chemistry-related questions.


Subject: 2. Introduction and Intent.

This FAQ is intended to provide answers to chemistry-related questions that
have appeared several times in sci.chem. It is also intended to guide the
curious to written and electronic information sources for the major areas
of chemistry that are discussed in sci.chem. The curious reader is
encouraged to explore those treasure-troves, and this FAQ, prior to posting
their question to sci.chem. I have assumed that most posters will have
access to institutional or public libraries, and most of the references
should be available from them, either on the shelves, via private loans
from staff in chemistry departments, or via library Interloan services.

I have also assumed readers have a basic knowledge of how to use a technical
library, and how to locate chemistry information sources. If you are lost
in your library, ask the nearest librarian :-). As sci.chem is a chemistry
discussion group, posters should have at least used any available basic
reference texts to ensure their question is coherently presented. The first
steps are yours, we will then endeavour to help you walk, and perhaps even
run, safely through the minefields of chemistry :-).


Subject: 3. Table of Contents

Part 1.

1. Dedication

2. Introduction and Intent

3. Contributors
Jason Bruce Chin
Jim Corton
Neil Flatter
Bruce Hamilton
Vince Hamner
Theodore Heise
Knut Irgum
Jim Oliver
Yogi Shan
Mark Perks
Dave Young

4. Table of Contents

5. Sci.chem
5.1 What topics does sci.chem cover?.
5.2 What guidelines are available about posting to sci.chem?.
5.3 Should I post my homework question?.
5.4 Should I answer an obvious homework question?.
5.5 I'm offering or seeking employment. Can I post here?.
5.6 Can I post here if my news feed doesn't include the correct group?.
5.7 Can I post here if my library doesn't have the specified reference?.
5.8 Can I post articles I found in Usenet or on the Internet?.
5.9 Should I post the email address of an expert I found?.
5.10 Should I post corporate advertising material?.
5.11 Should I state why I require the requested information?.
5.12 What other chemistry-focused newsgroups exist?.
5.13 What questions are best answered elsewhere in Usenet?.
5.14 Why is the sci.chem.* hierarchy not rational?.
5.15 How do I create a sub-group for my pet topic?.
5.16 Where are the sci.chem archives?.
5.17 Who was Larry Lippman?.

6. Common terms and abbreviations frequently used in sci.chem.
6.1 Abbreviations used in this FAQ.
6.2 Common Terms used in this FAQ.

Part 2.

7. General Chemistry-related Information on the Internet
7.1 How can I access databases such as Chemical Abstracts?.
* 7.2 What chemistry-related material is on the WWW?.
7.3 What information is available commercially on-line?.
7.4 What information is available free on-line?.
7.5 What chemical patent information is available on-line?.
7.6 Which FTP sites contain chemistry-related material?.
7.7 What chemistry-focused mailing lists exist?.
7.8 How can I contact Chemical Societies electronically?.
7.9 How can I contact large chemical companies?.
7.10 How can I contact chemical suppliers?.
7.11 How can I contact equipment suppliers?.
7.12 How can I contact US government agencies?.
7.13 Where can I find compilations of science humour?.
7.14 Where can I purchase scientific software?.

8. Laboratory and Chemical Safety Information on the Internet
8.1 Where can I find Material Safety Data Sheets?.
8.2 Where can I find detailed safety & toxicity data?.
8.3 Where can I find occupational exposure limits?.
8.4 Where can I find hazard information for a chemical?.
8.5 Where can I find laboratory safety guides?.
8.6 Where can I find other safety information?.

9. Traditional ( Non-Internet ) General Chemistry Information Sources
9.1 When can I find Chemical Abstracts?.
9.2 Where can I obtain chemical patent information?.
9.3 Where can I purchase chemicals?.
9.4 Where can I purchase laboratory equipment?.
9.5 What reference texts should I search first?.
9.6 Where can I find physical and spectral properties of chemicals?.
9.7 Where can I find production data for commercial chemicals?.
9.8 Where can I find the composition of a proprietary chemical?.
9.9 Where can I find out about the history of Chemistry?.
9.10 Where can I find out about the discovery of an element?.
9.11 What inspirational books about chemistry should I read?.

10. Traditional Laboratory and Chemical Safety Information Sources
10.1 Where can I find Material Safety Data Sheets?.
10.2 Where can I find detailed safety & toxicity data?.
10.3 Where can I find occupational exposure limits?.
10.4 Where can I find hazard information for a chemical?.
10.5 What is the most poisonous compound?.
10.6 Where can I find laboratory safety guides?.
10.7 Are contact lenses a hazard in laboratories?.

Part 3.

11. Traditional Specialist Chemical Information Sources
11.1 Where can I find spectral libraries/databases?.
11.2 Where can I find polymer chemistry information?.
11.3 Where can I find analytical chemistry information?.
11.4 Where can I find environmental chemistry information?.
11.5 Where can I find physical chemistry information?.
11.6 Where can I find inorganic chemistry information?.
11.7 Where can I find organic chemistry information?.
11.8 Where can I find industrial chemistry information?.
11.9 Where can I find pharmaceutical chemistry information?.

12. Nomenclature
12.1 What are CAS Registry Numbers?.
12.2 What are the correct names of recently-discovered elements?.
12.3 What is the nomenclature system for CFCs/HCFCs/HFCs?.
12.4 How can I get the IUPAC chemical name from traditional names?.
12.5 What does "omega-3 fatty acids" mean?.
12.6 What is Conjugated Linoleic Acid?.
12.7 What are "heavy" metals?.
12.8 What is the difference between Molarity and Normality?.
12.9 Where can I find the composition of common named reagents?.

13. Illicit and Government-Controlled Substances
13.1 What news groups/mailing lists discuss illegal drugs?.
13.2 Where can I obtain a list of illegal drugs?.
13.3 What is the chemical structure of common illegal drugs?.
13.4 How do I obtain chemical information on illegal drugs?.
13.5 Where are the synthesis instructions for illegal drugs?.
13.6 Should I post detailed recipes for illegal chemicals?.
13.7 What news groups/mailing lists discuss explosives?.
13.8 What is the chemical structure of common explosives?.
13.9 How do I obtain chemical information on common explosives?.
13.10 What news groups/mailing lists discuss pyrotechnics?.

14. Academic Course Information
** 14.1 Where do I find information on US courses?.
** 14.2 Where do I find information on other nations' courses?.

Part 4.

15. Chemical Demonstrations
15.1 Are there any good compilations of demonstrations?.
* 15.2 What are good outdoor demonstrations for under 12s?.
* 15.3 What are good outdoor demonstrations for over 12s?.
* 15.4 What are good indoor demonstrations for under 12s?.
* 15.5 What are good indoor demonstrations for over 12s?.
15.6 How do I safely perform the Glowing Pickle experiment?.
15.7 How do I make Slime?.

16. Laboratory Procedures
16.1 What are the best drying agents for liquids and gases?.
16.2 What is the effect of oven drying on volumetric glassware?.
16.3 What does the Karl Fischer titration measure?.
16.4 What does the Dean and Stark distillation measure?.
16.5 What does Kjeldahl nitrogen measure?.
16.6 What does a Soxhlet extractor do?.
16.7 What is the best method for cleaning glassware?.

17. Preparation of chemicals
17.1 Where do I find laboratory-scale procedures for organics?.
17.2 Where do I find laboratory-scale procedures for inorganics?.
17.3 Where do I find industrial chemical process details?.

18. Sensory properties of chemicals
18.1 How do light sticks work?, and how can I make one?.
18.2 How do hand warmers work?, and how can I make one?.
18.3 What are the chemicals that give fruity aromas?.
18.4 What is the most obnoxious smelling compound?.
18.5 What is the nicest smelling compound?.

Part 5.

18.6 What is the most bitter compound?.
18.7 What is the sweetest compound?.
18.8 What salts change the colour of flames?.
18.9 What chemicals change colour with heat, light, or pressure?.

19. Physical properties of chemicals
19.1 Rheological properties and terminology
19.2 Flammability properties and terminology
19.3 Supercritical properties and terminology
19.4 Formation of gaseous bubbles in liquids
19.5 Why is Mercury a liquid at room temperature?.

20. Optical properties of chemicals
20.1 Refractive Index properties and terminology
20.2 Polarimetry properties and terminology

21. Molecular and Structural Modelling
21.1 What hardware do I need to run modelling programmes?.
21.2 Where can I find a free modelling programme?.
21.3 Where can I find structural databanks?.
21.4 Where can I find ChemDraw or ChemWindows?.

22. Spectroscopic Techniques
22.1 Ultra-Violet/Visible properties and terminology
22.2 Infra-Red properties and terminology
22.3 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance properties and terminology
22.4 Mass Spectrometry properties and terminology
22.5 X-Ray Fluorescence properties and terminology
22.6 X-Ray Diffraction properties and terminology
22.7 Fluorescence/Phosphorescence properties and terminology

23. Chromatographic Techniques
23.1 What is Paper Chromatography?.
23.2 What is Thin Layer Chromatography?.
23.3 What is Gas Chromatography?.
23.4 What is Column Chromatography?.
23.5 What is High Pressure Liquid Chromatography?.
23.6 What is Ion Chromatography?.
23.7 What is Gel Permeation Chromatography?.
23.8 What is Capillary Electrophoresis?.
23.9 How do I degas chromatographic solvents?.
23.10 What is chromatographic solvent "polarity"?.

24. Extraction Techniques
24.1 What is Solvent Extraction?.
24.2 What is Solid Phase Extraction?.
24.3 What is Supercritical Fluid Extraction?.
24.4 What traditional process extracted perfume from flower petals?.

25. Radiochemical Techniques
** 25.1 What is radiochemistry?.

Part 6.

26. Electrochemical Techniques
26.1 What is pH?.
26.2 How do pH electrodes work?.
26.3 What are ion-selective electrodes?.
26.4 Who supplies pH and ion-selective electrodes?.

27. Fuel Chemistry
27.1 Where does crude oil come from?.
27.2 What are CNG/LPG/gasoline/kerosine/diesel?.
27.3 What are oxygenates?.
27.4 What is petroleum ether?.
27.5 What is naphtha?.
27.6 What is white spirits?.
27.7 What are biofuels?.
27.8 How can I convert cooking oil into diesel fuel?.

28. Pharmaceutical Chemistry
** 28.1 Does Thalidomide racemise in humans?.

29. Adhesive Chemistry

30. Polymer Chemistry
30.1 How can I simply identify common plastics?.
30.2 What do the plastics recycling codes mean? .

31. Others
31.1 How does remote sensing of chemical pollutants work?.
31.2 How does a Lava Lamp work?.
31.3 How do I make a Lava Lamp?.
31.4 What is Goretex?.
31.5 What causes an automobile airbag to inflate?.
31.6 How hazardous is spilt mercury?.
31.7 Did molasses really kill 21 people in Boston?.
31.8 What is the active ingredient in mothballs?.
31.9 Is vinegar just acetic acid?.
31.10 What are the different grades of laboratory water?.

Part 7.

31.11 What is Sarin nerve gas?.
31.12 What are Dioxins?.
31.13 What is Red Mercury?.
31.14 How do I remove stains and deposits?.
31.15 How do I remove rust?.
31.16 How do I remove silver tarnish?.
31.17 How do I electroplate or anodise materials?.
31.18 How fast do solvents pass through human skin?.
31.19 What is the pH of Coca-Cola?.

32. References


Subject: 5. Sci.chem

5.1 What topics does sci.chem cover?.

Sci.chem is an unmoderated discussion group, and it covers the discussion
of all scientific aspects of chemistry. It is not intended to be an
educational resource that replaces your local library - which should still
be your first port of call when seeking information. Because sci.chem was
created in the 1980s, there is no Charter that would define topics for
discussion in the group, however common sense suggests that posts should be
focused on aspects of chemistry not discussed elsewhere on Usenet. Newer
groups in the hierarchy do have Charters.

There are no eligibility requirements, anybody can post to sci.chem, but
remember that far more people read the groups than actually post. There are
very many knowledgeable lurkers who prefer to email their assistance, rather
than publicly post to the group. When posting, it is a good idea to always
assume that there will be readers who know more about the topic than you,
but that should not inhibit you from presenting your perception.

There is no talk.chemistry group, consequently discussion often drifts away
from the narrow focus of the science of chemistry. There are several groups
that also cover specialist areas ( refer Section 5.12 ), and prospective
sci.chem posters should check to ensure their post would not be more
appropriate in one of those groups. Please do not crosspost to all chemistry
groups, and please do not post to groups that you are not currently reading,
asking for email replies. When responding to posts in widely-crossposted
threads, examine the "Newsgroups" line, delete irrelevant groups, and set
the "Followup-To" header. Posts to cross-posted threads that have no ongoing
" chemistry " requirement should have the "Followup-To" header diverted back
to the original group.

Because sci.chem is an unmoderated discussion group inhabited by a diverse
range of humanity, posted "facts" are not always correct, and may not always
be corrected, so don't blame us if your teacher marks your answer wrong :-).

5.2 What guidelines are available about posting to sci.chem?.

Sci.chem is a discussion group, not an alternative to your nearest library.
We expect posters to have explored some of the chemical resources usually
available in libraries ( refer Section 9.5 ) and on the Internet ( refer
Sections 7.2 and 7.4 ) prior to posting questions to the group. Posting basic
questions, without performing any preliminary work, is likely to invoke posts
suggesting ( with varying degrees of politeness ) that you visit a library or
perform a WWW search.

Sci.chem is also not part of a global facility for teachers to point their
students towards as an alternative to a library. Teachers should not ask
students to post unsupervised questions to the group as part of assignments.
Teachers should recognise the positioning of the group as a resource to be
utilised only if more appropriate resources, such as libraries and Internet
WWW searches, have failed to identify suitable sources of information. The
teacher should also use DejaNews to ensure questions have not been answered
previously on Usenet. Teachers should ensure that students asking a question
in sci.chem also post, along with the question, a summary of what they have
discovered so far, and where they have already searched.

Teachers should also realise that sci.chem also reflects the diverse range of
humanity that can post to it, consequently some posts may not match the image
of chemistry that they wish to present to their students.

Most of the general guidelines about posting to Usenet that appear in
news.announce.newusers are also appropriate for sci.chem. It is important
that the grammar and spelling of posts to sci.chem are of sufficient quality
to ensure that readers can easily, and unambiguously, understand your
request or contribution. If a poorly-written post appears, some readers are
more likely to flame, ridicule, or ignore you, rather than carefully consider
your request or contribution. Minor typos and spelling errors only require
cancelling, or a follow-up post correcting the error, if the error is
likely to create confusion.

If you are posting, or viewing, drawings of chemical structures in ascii,
please use a fixed-pitch font, otherwise the structure will appear different
than intended, resulting in confusion. If you are posting via WWW access, or
posting WWW information, please ensure all HTML markers are removed from your
posts to the group. Do not post binaries to the group, even if they are
relevant to a thread. Post them to a binaries group, or make them available
on the WWW, and post a message to the group pointing to the location.

Please do not use sci.chem for test posts, or to discuss problems with your
Internet Services Provider, or any other totally irrelevant topics, as there
are bound to be more appropriate Usenet groups. There are plenty of *.test
groups which are monitored by programmes providing automated responses to
confirm that your test post has successfully propagated throughout the

If you believe the "noise" content of sci.chem is too high, learn to use
the filtering features of your newsreading software. Most software has the
ability to create killfiles or only display posts that match certain criteria
- such as the number of groups in the Newsgroups line. Such features can make
posts from individuals, and much of the widely cross-posted junk, disappear.
If your software does not support those features, there may be alternative
software available from your provider.

Please do not post messages complaining about what you perceive as noise in
the group, as such posts usually just generate additional noise. If you wish,
you can email posters asking them to desist from posting the material that
offends you, but don't be surprised if you are also offended by their

Some news-reading software can not display, or post, long articles ( like
this FAQ ), and you may have to ask your system administrator or ISP for
alternative software. A consistent inability to display large posts is
usually a problem with your reading software, not a mistake by the posters.

5.3 Should I post my homework question?.

In general, definitely not. Your homework question is designed to challenge
you to understand an aspect of chemistry, and your teacher will have
ensured that there are appropriate resources available to you at your
institution. The library is always an excellent place to start, and the
librarians are skilled at finding information - if you ask for assistance.

Before posting to the group, consider if a similar question could have
arisen in the past, and check DejaNews using relevant keywords. However,
if you find that the library and other available resources can not fully
satisfy your curiosity, then carefully outline your problem, list the
information resources you have investigated, and post only to the most
appropriate group. If it is the wrong group, somebody will point you to the
correct one. Do not expect to receive the actual answer, most readers will
carefully consider your request, and usually frame a response to ensure that
you need to perform some work before you can answer your own question. The
most obvious technique is to respond with a similar worked example which is
sufficiently different to ensure that you can not simply plug in numbers and
arrive at your correct answer. Often posters will point to specific library
resources for you to locate and read.

Also, remember that posters are not obliged to provide only correct answers,
they can deliberately introduce errors to ensure direct copying without
comprehension results in the wrong answer - it is not their homework :-).
Teachers can identify dramatic changes in students' writing styles, and a
quick search using Alta Vista or DejaNews can readily confirm their
suspicions. Do not expect sensible or accurate responses if you post from
anonymous servers.

5.4 Should I answer an obvious homework question?.

In general, definitely not. Teachers will set homework assignments that
do not require sci.chem responses. The poster was too lazy to consult the
resources that their teacher would have ensured were available locally, and
also too lazy to disguise their homework question. Continual answering of
obvious homework problems will merely attract more homework questions to the
group from other lazy students.

If the question does have some interesting aspects that you wish to comment
on, then the best course of action is to respond by answering a similar
question. If you change the question sufficiently, the poster will have to
understand the concepts you are offering, and then apply them to the
original question. This approach does require a little more effort and
imagination on your part, but it also encourages any interested students,
whilst also discouraging any lazy students.

In some homework questions, a small hint may be useful to point the student
towards a reference, or the correct answer, especially if their post
indicates that they are completely off-course. Hints are also a very useful
technique when you can not decide if posts are slightly modified homework

Some questions about chemicals in the home and workplace may arise from
curious adults who don't have a formal chemical education, and such questions
are certainly appropriate for sci.chem - so please ensure that the question
is actually a homework question before igniting your flamethrower.

5.5 I'm offering or seeking employment. Can I post here?.

Sci.chem is the most popular chemistry-related group, and thus would provide
the largest target audience. However, the appropriate group for advertising
vacancies and seeking employment is Please post
CVs, Resumes, and Job Descriptions there, and frequently review the group. will have a very small readership, so it may be
worthwhile for those offering employment to also select a few relevant groups
and post a brief pointer to the post listing essential information. If you
have posted your resume or CV to m.j.f.c, then you just have to wait and hope
those with vacancies are reviewing the group. Do not post pointers to your CV
or Resume to other groups. Posting your CV/Resume to sci.chem may annoy some
readers who could be prospective employers in the future, so you have to
assume that those currently offering employment will review m.j.f.c. Also,
remember that all posts ( including CVs and Resumes posted to m.j.f.c ) may
be archived at sites such as DejaNews, and thus available for scrutiny by
future employers, unless you use the X-No-Archive header.

5.6 Can I post here if my newsfeed doesn't include the correct group?.

No. The onus is on you to obtain access to the correct group. As hard disk
storage prices are plummeting, you should be able to encourage your access
provider to carry more groups :-). If your employer restricts you to sci.*
comp.* and other boring groups, you may have to seek out a commercial
access provider. Be assured that you are not the first to encounter this
problem, and there are various ways you can access newsgroups using other
Internet facilities besides direct Usenet access. Check out the news.*
groups for information on alternative methods of Usenet access.

5.7 Can I post here if my library doesn't have the specified reference?.

No. Once again the onus is on you to obtain the texts. We have tried to
ensure that there are several choices to help minimise the problem. The
advantage of expending effort to obtain the reference is that it is likely
to provide a more comprehensive answer, and will enhance your understanding
of the subject. If the reference is obscure, then a carefully-constructed
post requesting the specific information you require is acceptable, but
you should also state that you have tried to obtain the information, and
perhaps suggest email replies if you believe other readers will not be
interested. Chemistry teachers and other chemistry professionals may also
have their personal copies of some of the reference texts, and may permit
you to use their copy, if asked politely.

5.8 Can I post articles I found in Usenet or on the Internet?.

No. Most countries have signed the Berne Convention, and adjusted their
national laws to reflect the concept that copyright ownership is the
property of the author of any piece of work. Thus any redistribution or
reproduction of that work has to have the author's express permission.

The act of posting to Usenet does carry an implicit acknowledgment that
followup articles will requote parts of the original for clarity, and
perhaps will be subsequently crossposted to additional groups and archived
at DejaNews or other archive sites. If an author of a post or article does
not want their post archived, your software may permit you to select the
"X-No-Archive" header and, if the software does not support that header,
you can also add it manually as the first line of a post, but some archive
sites may still ignore that header and archive the post.

The copyright of the article is still owned by the original author, and
consent is required before distribution extends outside of Usenet - including
placing it on the WWW. Most posters will readily give permission if asked.
Commercial WWW sites also have specific copyright notices just to remind
readers that the material can not be redistributed. "Fair Use" is a very
specific and limited concept, and does not permit significant copying of
copyrighted material - it expects the user to selectively edit and repost
only the minimum necessary material. Two FAQs ("Copyright Myths" and the
more detailed "Copyright" ) are posted to news.newusers.questions,
news.admin.misc, and some other groups that discuss intellectual property.

5.9 Should I post the email address of an expert I found?.

Not without their consent. Email the expert and ask if you can identify them
in sci.chem. In general, people who email information to you will want
complete control over their exposure on Usenet. Often they do not want a
lot of email requesting assistance, and in some countries ( such as New
Zealand ) people have to pay for both incoming and outgoing email. If the
email address is posted publicly - as in this FAQ, email the person and ask
if you can repost their address in a different forum.

When sending unsolicited email, remember that you are accosting a stranger,
and he/she is not required to respond, although most will respond to polite

5.10 Should I post corporate advertising material?.

No. Sci.chem is a discussion group. However, if your corporate material will
help resolve an issue being discussed, post a brief note pointing to where
the information can be obtained. If you believe that knowledge of your
corporation would help Internet users, you should arrange a World Wide Web
home page or email address, and then ensure the address is included in
compilations of chemistry-related material available on the Internet.
Continual repeat posting of inappropriate commercial material is likely to
annoy sci.chem readers. One method of raising the profile of your site is to
add a pointer to your signature file, and make useful contributions to
relevant discussions. Some readers may then visit the site out of curiosity.

5.11 Should I state why I require the requested information?.

Generally, yes. Knowing why somebody is requesting information often helps
those considering responding to the request. It also helps to ensure that
responses will help solve the problem, rather than lead off on a tangent,
interesting though it may become. You should also indicate your level of
expertise, and where you have looked, as that prevents well-intentioned
people wasting time suggesting sources you have already tried.

If you require the information for a commercial or historical enterprise,
you should alway state that. The ability to download and edit information
is even more convenient than photocopying, and original copyright can easily
be inadvertently omitted. If you note that there may be a possible commercial
outcome, responders will try to ensure that the original source is fully
credited. A polite request to the copyright owner will usually result in
approval for your enterprise.

5.12 What other chemistry-focused newsgroups exist?.

Sci.chem is the most popular group covering diverse chemistry topics.
Other chemistry-focused groups include;-
alt.drugs.chemistry - discusses the chemistry of all drugs. - chemistry employment opportunities.
rec.drugs.chemistry - discusses the chemistry of recreational drugs.
sci.chem.analytical - discusses analytical chemistry.
sci.chem.coatings - discusses all aspects of surface coatings.
sci.chem.electrochem - discusses electrochemistry topics
sci.chem.electrochem.battery - discusses electrochemical cells.
sci.chem.labware - discusses laboratory equipment.
sci.chem.organomet - discusses organometallic chemistry. - discusses organic synthesis - moderated.
sci.engr.chem - discusses chemical engineering and industrial chemistry.
sci.techniques.mag-resonance - discusses magnetic resonance.
sci.techniques.mass-spec - discusses mass spectrometry.
sci.techniques.xtallography - discusses crystallography

Other groups cover specific topics that also have significant chemistry
components, including:-
alt.drugs.* - discusses all drugs.
rec.drugs.* - discusses recreational drugs.
rec.pyrotechnics - discusses pyrotechnics.
alt.cesium - cesium is discussed, along with much else. - the history of science, including chemistry.

There are also chemistry groups in many national hierarchies. Some of these
groups are distributed fairly widely, and may be available from your ISP,
even though they may be in a language other than English.

There are also several other chemistry-related FAQs available, including
the sci.chem.electrochem FAQ maintained by Zoltan Nagy, and the Mass
Spectrometry Internet Resources FAQ maintained by Kermit Murray.

5.13 What questions are best answered elsewhere in Usenet?.

a. Anything concerning Usenet and Internet abuse, guidelines or behaviour.
- Start in the news.* hierarchy, such as

b. Anything concerning the provision of Internet services by your provider.
- Start in the specific, in-house, discussion groups - this includes
any apparent, sudden lack of posts in sci.chem.

c. Anything concerning illicit drugs.
- Start in the alt.drugs.* hierarchy and the rec.drugs.chemistry group,
as the various FAQs point to diverse chemical information sources.
- Refer to sections 13.1 - 13.6 of this FAQ for some available choices.

d. Anything concerning Ludwig/Archimedes Plutonium.
- Start at sci.physics, as they directed him to sci.chem :-). If you don't
like his posts, killfile him. Please don't start a campaign to remove
him, as all that happens is the group usually get flooded with junk.
For those interested in his theories, try the following WWW site.

e. Anything concerning bubbles in newly-opened drinks.
- Start with sci.physics, the solubility behaviour of dissolved gases when
the pressure is reduced is predominantly a physical effect, although
section 19.4 briefly touches on the subject.

f. Anything scientific concerning the Ozone Hole and Climate Change.
- Start with sci.environment, in particular with Robert Parson's superb
FAQ on ozone, and Jan Scloerer's Climate Change - The Basics, both
available at the FTP site for Usenet FAQs. Non-scientific
discussions should always be moved to talk.environment.

g. Anything concerning explosives.
- Refer to sections 13.7 - 13.10 of this FAQ for the available choices.

5.14 Why is the sci.chem.* hierarchy not rational?.

As the sci.chem group has up to 80 posts/day, some specialists believe they
would be better served having their own group. They draft a charter, submit
it to the news.advice group, who ensure it is consistent with the overall
structure of Usenet and, after discussion, the group is voted on. If the
group passes it is created. Groups appear only if some motivated people
arrange to form them. That is why the structure is not rational.

There is currently no formal structural plan for the hierarchy and, given
the diverse nature of current contributions, it is proving difficult to
develop such a plan - as no one wishes to compromise the diversity of
sci.chem. If you learn to use the features of your newsreader correctly,
the current size of sci.chem is easily handled, and most threads of interest
can be captured as they pass.

5.15 How do I create a sub-group for my pet topic?.

First of all, discuss your idea extensively in sci.chem and other relevant
groups and mailing lists, ensure you have sufficient support for your
proposal, and take note of all comments, whether positive or negative.
The next stages are well documented in a FAQ available in news.groups.
Basically, you email, who will help you prepare
the charter and Request For Discussion, and may even provide a mentor to
guide you through the process.

If the proposal has an additional vote that could affect another group by
renaming or changing the hierarchy, return to that group and consult the
participants to ensure there is support for any proposed changes prior
to issuing the RFD. Group advice is not mandatory, so if the added vote
is contentious, drop it. Post the RFD twice, and remind people to ensure
they cross post to news.groups, even if they do not read that group, as
that is where all post-RFD discussion is supposed to occur. Take note of
the discussion in news.groups and other groups where you posted the RFD,
and modify the RFD, if appropriate, and post it again. Then follow the
guidelines for the actual vote, others will administer the vote and create
the groups, if they pass.

5.16 Where are the sci.chem archives?.

Given the nature, number, and diversity of sci.chem posts, no formal
archives exist, however the Usenet archives at DejaNews on the WWW will
contain most of the articles for the last couple of years,
There are also several other WWW sites that offer access to, and
keyword searching of, recent Usenet posts. One site is Alta Vista.

The total number of articles that you will see in sci.chem will depend
on how your system administrators have set the News system. If they set
a short Expire time, and set the software to ignore the Expiry date line,
you may actually miss some articles that have long propagation times.

The best solution is to politely ask the administrators to increase the
Expire time - usually they are more sympathetic to requests to increase
Sci.* expire times than they are to requests for longer Alt.* expire times.
Sometimes they just can't oblige, so you may have to read the group more
frequently, but please check DejaNews before posting requests for old

It should also be remembered that Usenet archive sites like DejaNews
will retain all of your posts - unless you set the "X-No-Archive" header
appropriately. Some posting software does not have the facility to set
such headers, but it can be added manually to the first line of a post.
It has been reported that some employers now review such archive sites for
posts when evaluating job applications. Although DejaNews honours the
"X-No-Archive" header, that does not mean that all archiving sites will,
so your posts may still be hiding somewhere on the Internet.

5.17 Who was Larry Lippman?.

When sci.chem was formed (1988?), there were only a few posts per week, and
a considerable number were requests for information. Larry Lippman soon
established his superb practical and theoretical chemical credentials, and
set about responding to those plaintive pleas for information. His posts
were excellent examples of informative, educational responses delivered in
a friendly, helpful style. His posts demonstrated how knowledgeable sci.chem
posters could respond to requests in such a way that all readers would
understand, regardless of formal chemical training. He died in late 1991
in his early 40s. Unfortunately, only a few of his posts to sci.chem have
survived. If you have any of his posts I would appreciate a copy, as I am
collecting them to be made available as a single "Lippman posts" file.


Subject: 6. Common terms and abbreviations frequently used in sci.chem.

6.1 Abbreviations used in this FAQ and sci.chem

ACGIH = American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists
ACS = American Chemical Society
AOAC = Association of Official Analytical Chemists
AOCS = American Oil Chemists Society
APHA = American Public Health Association
API = American Petroleum Institute
ASTM = American Society for Testing Materials
BP = British Pharmacopoeia
CA = Chemical Abstracts
CAS RN = Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number ( usually as [x.y.z] ).
C&EN = Chemical & Engineering News ( journal )
CMR = Chemical Marketing Reporter ( journal )
DIN = Deutsches Institut fur Normung
EP = European Pharmacopoeia
GMP = Good Manufacturing Practice
IP = Institute of Petroleum
IPCC = Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
ISO = International Standards Organisation
ISO 9000 = The 9000 series (esp.9001) Quality System Standards
MSDS = Material Safety Data Sheet
RTECS = Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances
TLV = Threshold Limit Value ( defined by the ACGIH )
USP = United States Pharmacopoeia

6.2 Common Terms used in this FAQ.

These terms apply to well-known reference texts. Note that those with a "*"
are also available from commercial database suppliers and/or as CD-ROMs.
The electronic versions may be accessible via an institution library, if the
library does not have the hardcopy version available.
* Beilstein = Handbuch der Organischen Chemie [1].
* Bretherick = Handbook of Reactive Chemical Hazards [2].
* Chem.Abs. = Chemical Abstracts [3].
Cotton and Wilkinson = Advanced Inorganic Chemistry [4].
Fieser & Fieser - Reagents for Organic Synthesis [5].
* Gardner = Chemical Synonyms and Trade Names [6].
Gmelin = Handbuch der Anorganischen Chemie [7].
Goodman & Gilman = The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics [8].
* Hawley = Condensed Chemical Dictionary [9].
* Heilbron = Dictionary of Organic Compounds [10].
* Kirk Othmer = Kirk Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology [11].
Lange = Handbook of Chemistry [12].
* Martindale = The Extra Pharmacopoeia [13].
McKetta = Encyclopedia of Chemical Processing and Design [14].
Mellor = Comprehensive Treatise on Inorganic and Theoretical Chemistry [15].
* Merck = The Merck Index [16].
Perry = The Chemical Engineers' Handbook [17].
* RTECS = Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances [18].
Rubber Handbook = CRC Handbook of Chemistry & Physics [19].
* Sax = Dangerous Properties of Industrial Chemicals [20].
Shreve = The Chemical Process Industries [21].
Ullmann = Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry [22].
Vogel = "Inorganic" = Quantitative Inorganic Analysis [23].
= "Qualitative Inorganic" = Qualitative Inorganic Analysis [24].
= "Organic" = Practical Organic Chemistry [25].
= "EPOC" = Elementary Practical Organic Chemistry [26].


Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages