Evil Chemistry

Media:  Talk    

March 19, 2013

Byens Lys

Ulf Ellervik

Professor of bioorganic chemistry at the Lund Institute of Technology (Lund University). Ellervik's book "Evil Chemistry" won the Swedish Pi-prize of 314,159 SEK for popular science writing in 2011. He is also responsible for Lund University's outreach program in chemistry, "Molekyler finns". Homepage


Trio composed of Søren Ko Pendrup (Saxophone), Kristian Tangvik (Tuba) and Oliver Laumann (Drums), playing improvised jazz.

Do you think that putting a few mentos inside a coca-cola bottle and seeing it explode is the best you can do? Try drinking 6 liters of water or 100 cups of coffee.

Water and coffee and pretty much anything else can be poisonous in the right amounts. Ulf Ellervik from the University of Lund will share his unique insight on a host of chemical reactions that occur often in our daily lives and have a profound effect on our senses as well as our state of mind.

Why do we cry when we peel onions? Why do some chemicals smell foul while similar compounds have wonderful scents? Why do rotten eggs smell so bad? Are there similarities between mustard and mustard gas? Why do we like toxic compounds such as caffeine, nicotine and quinine? Do other animals, like spiders, also take drugs? How can it be that the most poisonous compound known to man is used in the beauty industry?

Ulf Ellervik will answer these and many more questions and conclude with his own research on hijacking the natural process of biosynthesis and using it for his own purposes.

Later and in the company of a few cocktails, you will be able to listen to improvised jazz by the trio Kalk.

Entrance to the event is free. No registration is necessary. Doors open at 19:30. Organised in cooperation with the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.

The talk: