Halloween is just around the corner and can’t help but to be excited for this year’s Friday Halloween. The last time Halloween was on a Friday was in 2011, which was when I first came to UBC as a freshman. My friends and I were super hyped to celebrate this first “legal” social event and decided to go out to a bar. We ordered gin and tonic pretending to be grown-ups, like what we had seen in movies. What we did not expect was it glowing in fluorescent blue! It turned out that the bar we went to was using black lights in spirit of Halloween and that there are some physics going on behind the glass.
Source: Youtube by Jim Jesus
Tonic water used in the typical ‘gin and tonic’ drinks is carbonated soft drink containing quinine. This quinine, a natural white crystalline alkaloid, in turns contain phosphors, which is what ultimately contributes to the fluorescent glowing as it reacts with the ultraviolet (UV) light.
UV light is an invisible component of electromagnetic spectrum with relatively high energy. A black light, such as the one used in that bar we went to, emits UV light that can illuminate objects and materials that contain phosphors. Phosphors and the structure of quinine molecule in tonic water enable the intake of energy in the form of invisible ultraviolet light and immediately emit some of that same energy in the form of now-visible fluorescent blue light that we are seeing. This is the same principle used for your highlighters!
I found these daily-life science discoveries very amusing and still remember it to these days. In remembrance of this personal amusement, I am suggesting all of you to try this fun fluorescent drink for Halloween, or perhaps, go further to discover something even more surprising. Isn’t that what science is all about after all? Happy Halloween everyone 🙂
Source: Flickr Commons
By Sunny Sohn
The desire to stay youthful for many women has been consistent; hence keeping a youthful skin has also been a consistent concern. Thus it really disturbs me that the beauty market nowadays targets and takes advantage of these worries to sell skin products with false advertisements at shockingly expensive prices. FALSE advertisement, that’s right. Many different brands flaunt their new line of creams with this magical molecule “collagen,” which can apparently make skin plumped-up, smoother, and younger.
This is complete nonsense. It is a cold hard fact that collagen molecules are just too large to be absorbed through tiny pores of skin. It will have no benefits to skin when it is being applied in such way. Let’s take a closer look at collagen.
Collagen itself is a protein present in all body’s organs and connective tissues and mainly functions to sustain tendons, cartilage, and skin. It provides firmness and elasticity to skin and thus making it true that increasing collagen levels in body will increase the chance of skin staying more youthful. This is the scientific reasoning behind those false advertisements.
However, it is critical to note that this is only true when we increase level of collagen by eating the right, healthy food or by taking collagen supplements, but not by applying those collagen-containing creams on our faces. Like I said before, collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed through the pores of our skin, and even if the skin could absorb them, we have to remember that collagens are proteins naturally made inside our body. They would be completely “dead” and inactive by the time we rub them onto the skin. The only reason why your expensive collagen cream feels nice is because it gives cream its consistency.
Let us not forget that including collagen in skin care products is just another way of marketing. This had been proven quite a while ago, but many still seem to be unaware of this. So remember this and do not waste your time and money on collagen-containing creams, everyone! Why don’t we all try eating more soy products, vegetables, and fruits instead?
By Sunny Sohn
Collagen image: http://eyeonicr.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/soft-tissues-and-logical-fallacies/
Fruits and Vegetables image: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/20-incredible-facts-about-eating-fruits-and-vegetables-that-you-probably-didnt-know.html
Posted in Biological Sciences, Issues in Science, Science Communicators, Science in the News
Tagged beauty, collagen, healthy, marketing, pore, Science Communication, skin, skin care, youthful