EDUCATION: Pumped-Up Molecules

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Science  04 Aug 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5787, pp. 595
DOI: 10.1126/science.313.5787.595c

To help students grasp the nuances of chemical structure, three German chemists borrowed a technique from clowns: balloon tying. They twist and knot balloons not to make poodles and giraffes but to render molecular models for the classroom. At this site, you can admire their inflatable creations and learn how to craft your own. Blowup models aren't just cheaper than the standard plastic variety; they can also be much larger, the balloon artistes note. After mastering maneuvers such as the tulip twist, you'll be ready to attempt structures as complicated as the DNA double helix.

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