BeautifulChemistry.net started as a collaboration between University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) and Tsinghua University Press (TUP). The goal of this project is to bring the beauty of chemistry to the general public.
The first version of BeautifulChemistry.net was launched on 9/30/2014. In this version, we used a 4K UltraHD camera and macro lenses to capture chemical reactions in astonishing detail without the distraction of beakers or test tubes. At the molecular scale, we used computer graphics (CG) to showcase some of the most beautiful chemical structures selected from a large volume of scientific literature. By the end of 2015, over 310 thousand people had visited our website, and our chemical reaction videos had been viewed over 5 million times.
The current website, launched on 12/31/2015, is the second version of BeautifulChemistry.net. In this version, we added a new “History” section. After doing carefully research on historical references, we used photorealistic CG renderings to reproduce some of the most important historical chemical instruments. In the “Structure” section, we included more chemical structures and gave each structure a brand new look. In the “Reaction” section, we created a new music video about chemical reactions. We are also shooting a new short movie of chemical reactions using a microscope. Finally, the new website is now running on Squarespace, which allows us to add new content easily and frequently.
More than 100 years ago, German biologist Ernst Haeckel published his famous work Art Forms in Nature, which was very popular in his time. His exquisite, Art Nouveau style illustrations brought exotic marine and microscopic life forms to the eyes of the public. We hope to follow the footsteps of Haeckel, using digital media and technology to bring the beauty and wonder of chemistry to a wide audience. In addition, we want to achieve a unique aesthetic of chemistry, making chemistry approachable and lovable. If our efforts could get more kids and students interested in chemistry, we would be extremely satisfied.
Yan LIANG, Ph.D. (USTC)
Author, Photographer, Scientific Visualization Director, Designer
Qi ZHENG (TUP)
Project Manager, Digital Platform Director
Digital Technology Director
Xiangang TAO (USTC)
Chemical Reaction Advisor
Wei HUANG, Ph.D. (USTC)
Chemical Reaction Advisor
We would like to thank Mr. Hui LIU for his generous donation, with which we were able to complete the high-quality CG images and animations of historical chemical instruments. We would like to thank for the financial support from USTC Young Scholar Innovation Fund, with which we are able to working on a new short movie about chemical reactions captured under a microscope. We would also like to thank Dr. Rongting ZHOU, chair of the Department of Sci-Tech Communication and Policies at USTC, for his kind support to our project. Finally, we would like to thank the artists from Shanghai Imagehost Digital Technology Co., Ltd (IHDT) for their amazing CG production and constant striving for perfection.
We would like to thank Dr. Jian QIN (University of Chicago), Felice FRANKEL (MIT), Dr. Xiaoming SUN (Beijing University of Chemical Technology), Dr. Hailong JIANG (USTC), Dr. Mingming MA (USTC), Dr. Shun WANG (Shanghai Jiao Tong University), Yifan ZHANG (Institution of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences), Dr. Charles XIE (Concord Consortium), Dr. Yang WU (Tsinghua University), and Dr. Feng LI (Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences) for their helpful advice during project development. We would also like to thank the Chinese Chemical Society for the inviting us to present our project at the 29th Chinese Chemical Society Congress. Finally, we would like to thank the Chemistry Experiment Teaching Center at USTC for providing us chemicals and labs for shooting chemical reactions.