Keeping Balanced with Le Chatelier

Henry Louis Le ChatelierWhat a boring day for birthdays. This one’s gonna be short.

Two actors I rather like have birthdays today. First is Sigourney Weaver who is 64 today. She’s been in a lot of really fun movies. Two I especially like are Galaxy Quest and Heartbreakers, which is almost a perfect film for me: a very sweet film about con artists. And of course there are Alien, Aliens, and Alien: Resurrection. Okay, there was Alien³ too. I own them all. Yes, I’ve got it bad. Anyway, I like her generally. The second actor is Matt Damon who is 43. Sue me! I like the Bourne films, especially The Bourne Supremacy. It has a heartbreaking denouement. And Rounders is really good. And look, I thought Good Will Hunting was okay. It was not great writing, however. I have a problem with the main character. I just don’t know of any person who was a mathematical genius and yet also had encyclopedic knowledge of everything he had ever read. That’s just not the way brains work. Still, this scene is totally great:

Other birthdays: microtonal composer Eivind Groven (1901); science fiction writer Frank Herbert (1920); and the most annoying Ramone, Johnny (1948).

The day, however, belongs to the great French chemist Henry Louis Le Chatelier. About the first thing that chemistry students are taught is Le Chatelier’s principle. It says that a disruption in a system’s equilibrium will move in the direction to most directly establish its new equilibrium. It isn’t a difficult idea. In fact, now it seems obvious, but that’s just because we all have the molecular theory of chemistry so ingrained in us that we don’t even think about it. At the time, it was a big deal.

Happy birthday Henry Louis Le Chatelier!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Frank Moraes. Bookmark the permalink.

About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.