Instagram account managed by a chemistry student is here to show you what molecules look like
Find our what caffeine and aspirin molecules look like.
You may probably take an aspirin when you have a headache but do you know what its molecules actually look like?
Well, look no further than this Instagram account created by a student in Singapore who wants you to get “your daily dose of chemistry” by checking out his “a molecule a day” page.
Matthew Ng, a 17-year-old college student, uses special building kits to show the molecular structures of all chemicals, ranging from pills such as ibuprofen and aspirin to the neurotransmitters present in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin.
Aspirin, also known as acetylsalicylic acid, is a medication used to reduce pain, fever and inflammation. It is also used as a blood thinner, to prevent the formation of blood clots. Hence it is prescribed to prevent heart attacks, strokes, or angina. Aspirin is one of the most widely used medicines in the world, with around 35,000 metric tons of aspirin consumed annually. Follow for daily chemistry goodness! #aspirin #asa #bloodthinners #heart #heartattack #coronary #cardiac #antiinflammatory #pain #fever #medicine #drugs #medication #photooftheday #chemistry #art #molecule
He said: “I first started making and posting them on 25 August 2017. Since then I have been posting a molecule every day.”
Matthew was inspired by his chemistry teacher who often uses building kits to help students visualise the molecular structures of chemicals.
He said: “We find it really useful. My classmates and I love to tinker with these sets to build all sorts of molecules.
Testosterone is a naturly occurring medication and steroidal hormone. As a medicine, it is used to treat males with too little or no testosterone production. This could occur due to age or testicular dysfunction. Low testosterone production could lead to weakness, depression, and low sex drive. It is also used by transgender men as part of their hormone therapy to target the average male's testosterone level. Additionally, testosterone is commonly used as a form of doping among athletes to increase performance. Follow for daily chemistry goodness! #testosterone #sex #hormone #steroids #male #men #sexdrive #medicine #transgender #doping #athlete #photooftheday #chemistry #art #molecule
“Seeing how fascinated we were with these molecule building sets, she gave two of us molecule building kits.”
Wanting to use the kit in a meaningful way, Matthew turned to Instagram to showcase his work.
He said: “Since I loved chemistry a lot, but not everyone shares the same passion, I thought it would be cool if I could showcase the aesthetic beauty of chemistry to thousands of people all over the globe.
Caffeine, the world's most widely consumed psychoactive drug. It is found in the seeds, nuts and leaves of numerous plants native to South America and East Asia. Probably the most notable source is coffee beans, the seeds of the Coffea plant. Caffeine works by competitively inhibiting the effects of adenosine. It binds to adenosine receptors, preventing the onset of drowsiness caused by adenosine. Thanks @chemistryinthelab for the suggestion! #caffeine #coffee #psychoactive #drugs #coffeebean #high #photooftheday #chemistry #art #molecule
“This was when the idea popped in my mind to build a different molecule every day and post in on Instagram.”
Matthew also takes suggestions from his followers about the molecules they would like to see on his Instagram feed.
His posts, which include anything from hormones and food additives to medicine and drugs, are accompanied by a caption that explains what the chemicals are.
Aspartame is a very popular artificial sweetener used as a sugar substitute in a wide range of foods and beverages. Sugar-free candy, breath mints, pharmaceutical drugs and diet soda all contain aspartame. It is approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose. Contrary to popular belief, scientific research has shown no evidence that aspartame leads to cancer or neurotoxic effects. However, aspartame has also shown no long-term effect on weight loss or diabetes. Thanks anonymous for the suggestion! #aspartame #artificialsweetener #sweet #sugarfree #mint #diet #dietcoke #sugarsubstitute #diabetes #weightloss #photooftheday #chemistry #art #molecule
But there are a few that he is particularly fond of.
He said: “My favourite one was definitely one of the first few molecules that I posted, which was the Nanokid, purely because its molecular structure looks like a human!
“This, along with Phycocyanobilin, a blue pigment found in algae, were also the most challenging ones to build due to the large number of atoms and complicated structure.”
Not a joke! Nanokids and their family of nanoputians have structural formulae resembling humans. James Tour et al. synthesised these molecules as part of a sequence of chemical education for young students. Thanks anonymous for your suggestion! Follow for your daily dose of chemistry! #nanokid #nanoputian #kid #synthesis #chemistry #art #photooftheday #molecule
Matthew’s user base has been growing, almost six months after his first post.
He said: “Initial growth was slow, probably due to the academic nature of this page, but I’m really glad that this page has been discovered by so many people and growing at an increasing rate.
“Every now and then, people drop nice comments that really motivates me to continue maintaining this page. My follower count is just over 3,000 now, and increasing exponentially!”