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Getting to Know Atoms: A Chemistry Infographic

By Keyao (Coco) Xia, III Form

Getting to Know Atoms: A Chemistry Infographic

Click the above image to view Coco’s infographic in more detail

How Do Candles Burn? A Chemistry Annotated Diagram

By Catie Summers, V Form

How Do Candles Burn? A Chemistry Annotated Diagram

Teacher’s Note: In 1848, physicist Michael Faraday delivered a series of holiday lectures at the Royal Institution in London on the topic of “The Chemical History of a Candle.” During the lectures, Faraday used his observations of a burning candle as inspiration for relating, to a lay audience, a veritable encyclopedia of fundamental principles of physics and chemistry.  In Honors Chemistry at St. Mark’s, we strive to recreate Faraday’s sense of wonder by performing simple experiments on a candle and interpreting the results in light, based on what we have learned about atoms, molecules, and chemical reactions. Students are challenged to determine the nature of a candle’s fuel and describe the process by which a candle’s flame perpetuates itself. In particular, Catie Summers’s eye-catching visual summary of this process reflects her efforts to link macro-scale observations with molecule-level interpretations.

Click image to view PDF of Catie’s annotated diagram.

Smartphone Chemistry Bonding : Tin (Sn)

By Jason Park, V Form

Smartphone Chemistry Bonding : Tin (Sn)

CLICK HERE for Jason’s slides for his presentation.


There are a total of 83 elements on the periodic table that are stable, or nonradioactive. Of the 83 elements, nearly 70 of the elements (84%) can be found inside of a smartphone. Amongst these seventy, numerous rare-earths contribute to a smartphone’s function. Each element is carefully researched and requires specific chemical processes. However, parts of the world that produce and supply these raw materials often face shortages and cause environmental damages. Although consumers may find a new iPhone exciting to purchase, the materials that constitute the device should be considered. (more…)

Environmental Issues of Yttrium

By Amy Wang, VI Form

Environmental Issues of Yttrium

Editors’ Note: To read Advanced Chemistry’s assignment sheet for Smartphone Chemistry and Ethics of Material Usage, click here.

Yttrium is a metal with atomic number 39, located in Group 3, Period 5, Block d. It is classified as both a rare earth element and a transition metal.


As a metal, pure Yttrium exhibits typical metallic properties, but the Y in smartphones is not in its pure form. It’s always contained in compounds.

Usage in a Generic Smartphone

Y is one of the rare earth elements (REE), a class of very special elements that all have unique properties. Y, in particular, is an integral part of a smartphone screen because it can make a compound that emits red luminescence. Since red is one of the three primary colors of light, Yttrium is widely used to make screens colorful. (more…)

A Study of Fullerenes

By Jovin Ho, VI Form

A Study of Fullerenes

A fullerene is an allotrope of carbon which denotes a series of carbon molecules that form a multitude of different shapes including hollow spheres (Buckminsterfullerenes) or cylindrical tubes (carbon nanotubes). Buckminsterfullerenes (or Buckyballs) were the first type of Fullerene whose structure was determined. In 1980, Sumio Iijima examined an electron microscope image, and found a cluster of carbon molecules which formed the core of a “bucky onion.”[1]Buckyballs are a chemical compound with the formula C60 and comprises of carbon atoms arranged in a hollow cage-like ball shape (truncated icosahedron) – not dissimilar to a soccer ball – and made up of twelve pentagons and twenty hexagons. The existence of the Buckyball had originally been predicted in 1970 by Eji Osawa after observing the structure of corannulene (C20H10) molecule which appeared to be a fragment of the full soccer ball shape that Buckyballs take. (more…)

The Circadian Clock and The Adverse Effects of Elevated CAT Level

By David Baek, VI Form

The Circadian Clock and The Adverse Effects of Elevated CAT Level

Introduction: This project probes into the molecular mechanism of the circadian clock of Drosophila Melanogaster. The circadian clock exists in all living things and regulates the daily rhythm of organisms’ metabolism, behavior, and other outputs that affect the organisms’ development (CH Ko, 2006). The circadian clock is a field that researchers and scientists have yet to fully understand due to the ambiguity of how circadian clock affect invertebrates and vertebrates. To uncover one small aspect of this obscurity, this study seeks to find the effect of sleep deprivation on antioxidant defense in fruit flies. If there were to be a link, the investigation would be significant as the effect will explain how sleep deprivation in humans can lead to the weakening of their antioxidant defense, leading to multiple cardiovascular diseases and pathological conditions such as plaque formation in vessels (Takeda, 2011) (Dominguez-Rodriguez et al, 2009). (more…)