31 August 2012

Chemistry and Biology in 3D

View Molecules in 3d

Sometimes, you need a "Wow" factor in class. In chemistry textbooks, pictures of typical molecules, even in colour, can be rather ho-hum. Fortunately, there are many websites where students can view and move around the molecules mentioned in class. However, you can take it up another notch. You can show your class these molecules in 3d.

My favorite molecule viewer is Jmol (which can be found at I won't go through a tutorial on how to use it; I will assume you can get the basics just by playing with it.  I do want to show one feature hidden deep in the options. You can display molecules in 3d

A use for those funny glasses

Of course, to see in 3d, you need those funny, two-colour glasses. If you don't have a set hanging around, a quick internet search will find you some.

Start Jmol and load your favorite molecule like below (bonus points if you can figure out what it is).

With your curser on the molecule (do not use any of the toolbar options), right-click and you will see the options below.

You will need to chose the appropriate options depending on the glasses you use. If you can get a classroom set and have a computer projector in your room, this is a "Wow" factor for your kids.

And also for Biology

You can also use this site to show your students DNA in 3d with the same impact.

You can do the same rotations and zooming that you can do with simple molecules. A neat tool to help students visualize these aspects of chemistry and biology.

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