Chemistry For Your Life

By Melissa and Jam

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Category: Natural Sciences

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A podcast helping you understand the chemistry of your everyday life.

Episode Date
Why does orange juice taste bad after you brush your teeth?
It's the lesson we've all had to learn the hard way. The pain our mouths feel when we take a treacherous swig of the post-brush poison. This week, Melissa and Jam delve into all of our childhoods to figure out the chemistry of this infamous mixture. Why does it taste so bad? Who's fault is it, the toothpaste or the orange juice? Also while we're at it, why is it called toothpaste? Nevermind, I'm not sure we'll be able to get to the bottom of that part.
Apr 02, 2020
How does soap kill COVID-19?
Ok so we've known for awhile how soap works in a general use sense, like how it cleans dishes (see episode 1). But these weird times call for a deeper look at soap. How can it kill a virus? Or more importantly, how can it kill a little, wretched, mischievous virus like COVID-19? Like really, how? How is it that we can use soap to both get spaghetti sauce off a plate, and kill a dangerous virus? We're always told to wash our hands well, and that it's important, but if you think about it for a second, it's crazy that we put something on our hands, and rub them together under water, and then we're good to go. Right? Let's get into it.
Mar 26, 2020
Why do apples turn brown when you cut them?
Do you like apples? Ever wonder why they turn brown when you cut them? This week, Melissa and Jam explore this very question. What's going on in these apples? Where does the brown come from? Is it a good or bad thing? Does it taste different? Is the brown actually apple tears from the pain of being cut?
Mar 19, 2020
Bonus: Methane doesn't have a smell (and other questions)?
In his month's bonus episode, Melissa and Jam respond to comments and questions about methane, bad smells, bleach, computers seeing colors, crystal formation, and more!.
Mar 16, 2020
Why is the sky blue but sunsets aren’t?
This week, Melissa and Jam explore the oldest question in the book. But we're not going to answer it. Just kidding. Why the HECK is the sky blue? And also why are there times that it isn't? Sunrise? Sunset? Nightime? Sky, what are your mysteries? Tell us your secrets. Hide not your face from me.
Mar 12, 2020
How do thermoses keep coffee hot?
That's right, we are sort of talking about coffee this week. Or rather, how to keep it hot. Nowadays we all have some version of a thermos for our coffee, tea, water, or what-have-you. Today Melissa and Jam try to get to the bottom of how those work. How do they keep things hot and cold? What's between the two layers (or whatever) and how is it so good at insulating? Is it a vacuum? Can someone please tell me what the heck is going on?
Mar 05, 2020
How do hand warmers get hot?
This week, Melissa and Jam investigate reusable hand warmers. How do they get hot? Where does the heat even come from? How do reusable ones even work? Is it real? How can heat just come out of nowhere like that?
Feb 27, 2020
How does bleach remove color?
How does bleach bleach stuff? Oh and also, what even is color? This week Melissa and Jam investigate these questions. What's the molecular makeup of color and then how does bleach alter that? How does bleach have enough power to ruin that hoodie you just bought? How could you have been foolish enough to handle bleach while wearing your new hoodie?
Feb 20, 2020
Bonus: Does cold exist (and other questions)?
In his month's bonus episode, Melissa and Jam respond to comments and questions about cold/cool, water temperature's effect on boats, vapor pressure, smells, hair, and how this podcast even got started.
Feb 17, 2020
Why do bad smells smell bad?
Melissa and Jam continue to sniff out the chemistry of smell, focusing this week on bad smells. Why are we so good at smelling bad smells? Why do they haunt us at night? Why are some bad smells so strong and long lasting, while many great smells are subtle and temporary. What’s in a smell? "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." I think that quote applies here right?
Feb 13, 2020
How do we smell things?
What's that smell? This week, Melissa and Jam explore the chemistry of smell. Now a lot of smell science has to do with our physiology and neurology. We'll talk some about that, but the chemistry has to do with the actual smells in the air. What are they? How do they get into the air? How can we detect them with our noses and brains? Why does rain have a smell, and why does it smell good? Let's find out.
Feb 06, 2020
What’s really happening when our hair gets damaged?
This week, Melissa and Jam travel even further down the rabbit hole of hair chemistry. How does our hair get damaged? How do we curl, straighten, and perm our hair? What's going on there at the molecular level? Let's find out!
Jan 30, 2020
What gives curly hair its curl?
This week, Melissa and Jam dive into the chemistry of something that may not seem like chemistry at first: hair. Curly hair to be specific. What makes hair curl? Also what is hair in the first place? Why can hair be so radically different? Alright curly girls, curly guys, and curly folks, let's find out.
Jan 23, 2020
Bonus: Growing crystals, bobby pins, and how should we address the Hulk?
In his month's bonus episode, Melissa and Jam respond to comments and questions about how to grow crystals, details about snowflake formation, a little tiny bit of discussion about blackholes, and more!
Jan 20, 2020
Does carbonation have a taste?
This week, Melissa and Jam discuss part of an often requested topic: carbonation. Does it have a taste? Like why does carbonated water taste different than flat water? And what is carbonation in the first place? Does it give you unusually long life? How is it so refreshing? We answer some of those questions.
Jan 16, 2020
The sea is rising? Should I be scared? (with Renee Collini)
This week, Melissa, Jam, and very special guest Renee Collini (Melissa's sister) delve into the important topic of sea-level rise. What causes it to rise? What affect will it have on the world? How should we feel about it? Is there anything we can do as regular people?
Jan 09, 2020
What do rainbows and mirages have in common?
This week, Melissa and Jam explore three very different, but related, light phenomena. We'll discuss situations when light can be bent, slowed down, and even broken. It's gonna be lit.
Jan 02, 2020
How do snowflakes form and look so cool?
This week, Melissa and Jam explore the wintry chemistry of snowflakes. How do they form? How are they all unique? How do they look so gosh darn cool? Why don’t we see them here in Texas very much?
Dec 26, 2019
What are antioxidants and are they even good for you?
This week, Melissa and Jam explore the chemistry of antioxidants. What are they? Is it just magical stuff they put in sport drinks and workout supplements? Can you find it in snake oil?
Dec 19, 2019
Bonus: Do solar farms kill birds (and other questions)?
Welcome to the new home for our Question and Response episodes! This week we respond to comments and questions about solar energy, artificial sweeteners, growing crystals, and more!
Dec 16, 2019
How can sunlight turn into electricity?
This week, Melissa and Jam explore the chemistry of solar energy. How do we capture energy from the sun and turn it into electricity? Is it as super insanely cool as it seems? Are we living in the future already?
Dec 12, 2019
Why does water form droplets?
This week Melissa and Jam explore the chemistry of water and intermolecular forces. Why does it form into droplets? Why can you fill a glass of water just above the rim and it not spill over? How are some things water proof or water resistant?
Dec 05, 2019
What happens to water in space (and other questions)?
This week Melissa and Jam do the last Question and Response episode. We'll continue to do Questions and Responses every month, but after asking listeners for their preference, Q&Rs will now air as bonuses, rather than in place of a standard episode. Tune in this week as we tackle some fun questions about water in space, boiling water in a microwave, sugar on freezing roads (instead of salt), and using stainless steel to curb the smell of garlic.
Nov 28, 2019
What’s up with foil?
This week Melissa and Jam explore the chemistry of aluminum foil. Why doesn’t it feel hot when we take it out of the oven? How does it cool down so quickly? We harken back to a previous episode about specific heat a few times in this episode, listen to that one by clicking a link in our full show notes.
Nov 21, 2019
Why does toast get toasty (among other things)?
This week Melissa and Jam explore some of the chemistry behind cooking. What happens when you sear a steak? What's going on when you toast toast? Why do so many foods turn golden-brown when cooking? Let's dig in.
Nov 14, 2019
Why do onions make you cry?
This week Melissa and Jam explore the chemistry of onion tears, the emotional reaction we all have, against our will, when cutting onions. Grab some tissues, this one's gonna burn.
Nov 07, 2019
Can chemistry make Halloween even spookier?
This week Melissa and Jam explore a Halloween-themed topic, perfectly-timed for the fact that our episode air date happened to land on Halloween exactly! Can you change the color of fire using only chemistry, safety, personal protection equipment, and no magic? Listen to find out. And check us out on any of our social media accounts to see the experiment take place!
Oct 31, 2019
What makes artificial sweeteners artificial?
This week Melissa and Jam explore the chemistry of artificial/alternative sweeteners. What are artificial sweeteners? How can something be sweet but not packed with calories? Are we cheating? Did we hack nature when we made them? Is nature going to get back at us some day? Are we doomed?
Oct 24, 2019
What even is sunscreen and how does it screen the sun?
This week Melissa and Jam explore the chemistry of not being burned by the big, ominous, flaming ball of radioactive insanity that lights up our skies each day. Did you know that to some people, radiation burns are no big deal? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ It's actually a very big deal and the sun is constantly trying to kill us all. Save yourselves.
Oct 17, 2019
How do geckos stick to walls?
This week Melissa and Jam continue in the category of "sticky" things by exploring how geckos stick to walls. How do they do it? Is it magic? Is it like spider-man? Is it intermolecular forces?
Oct 10, 2019
What's the scientific word for sticky?
In this episode, Melissa and Jam explore the complex, but highly familiar and relatable concept of stickiness. It started as a lighthearted question from the end of "Why didn't Jam's pot ever boil?" and turned into its own episode.
Oct 03, 2019
You got more questions?
Question and Response #02 We've received even more questions! Melissa and Jam take more listener questions regarding topics from across the first 9 episodes, attempting to clarify some things and dive a little bit deeper. We talk about "magic shell," moving bonds, high altitudes, "types" of waves, the potential effect of microwaves on nutrition, and we even have a slight correction this time!
Sep 26, 2019
Baking soda and baking powder: what’s the difference?
Baking powder? Baking soda? I mean they're both white powders with the word "baking" in it. How different could they be? Well, one can cause miniature kitchen volcanos and the other does what? Listen this week as Melissa and Jam talk about acids, bases, baking soda, baking powder, and how they can make all the difference in your busy life as a single parent of three.
Sep 19, 2019
Why didn't Jam's pot of water ever boil?
Remember that one time (in episode 6 "Why do we put lids on pots to boil water?") when Jam had a situation where his big pot of water would never boil? And he (quite ironically) took a lot of heat for it? Well on this episode Melissa sets out to solve this mystery and hopefully redeem Jam's tarnished reputation with his family and the American people.
Sep 12, 2019
What the heck is going on inside microwaves?
Melissa finally explains to Jam how microwaves work after making him wait for an entire week. What the heck is going on inside microwaves? How does it do it's thing and make our food tasty? Is it magic?
Sep 05, 2019
Why do we put lids on pots to boil water?
Melissa and Jam discuss the curious habit of putting a lid on a pot in order to boil water. Does it help? Does it speed things up? If so, why?
Aug 29, 2019
You got questions?
Question and Response #01 Melissa and Jam take listener questions regarding the topics from episodes 1 and 2, Soap and Specific Heat, attempting to clarify some things and dive a little bit deeper. They also answer some general questions about how the podcast is made and why Jam goes by Jam.
Aug 22, 2019
What are trans fats and are they evil?
Continuing the conversation from last week's margarine episode, Melissa and Jam talk about some of the possible unexpected results of hydrogenation, including trans fats. We also announce the winners of our t-shirt giveaway!
Aug 15, 2019
What IS margarine anyway?
Melissa and Jam discuss margarine and what the heck it is, and how it's different from butter, and if it is actually made in the "country" in a "crock" or not.
Aug 08, 2019
Why are sand and water different temperatures at the beach?
Melissa and Jam discuss the difference of temperatures, aka specific heat.
Aug 01, 2019
How does soap get things clean?
Today Melissa and Jam talk about the chemistry of soap, and how it does its magical work.
Aug 01, 2019
What is Chemistry For Your Life?
A new podcast is coming your way. On chemistry for your life, we seek to help you understand the chemistry of everyday life.
Jul 09, 2019