Winterfest Photofest

Welcome back. The first set of photos today is wildly creative and comes from the mind and camera of Avalus. I’ll let him explain,

I don’t have a Christmas tree at home, but in the lab, a reaction I did today provided a splendid alternative. Here are some glittery fotos. Below them, I will go a bit into the details of what you see there. 

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

These shiny metal balls are beads of molten potassium sitting on top and inside of a potassium alcoholate/alcohol compound (the white crystalline, snowlike stuff) that slowly dissolves into the boiling hexane.

What happens here is that the potassium replaces the hydrogen of the OH group of the alcohol, forming a potassium-alcoholate and gaseous hydrogen, so the metal will slowly disappear over the next few days. In the end, the resulting potassium alcoholate will be liquid at room temperature, which is pretty cool, because most alcoholates are solids with high melting points.

This stuff will be used in my PhD research of weird alkalimetal organic complexes.

©Avalus, all rights reserved.

An accidental self-portrait on a liquid metal surface, warped by passing of hexane, running down the walls of the vessel.

Have a good (and maybe science-y) holiday season, everybody!



The next set of photos today are all about texture and pattern, and they come from the camera of our own Charly.

©Charly, all rights reserved

©Charly, all rights reserved

©Charly, all rights reserved



Lastly is a compelling group of landscape photos sent in by Peter Lindsay. Peter lives in southwestern Manitoba (Canada) and tells us that the landscape there is quite unique. Peter does photography in every season but notes that winter is a favourite time of year. They also tell us that they’re fond of loan trees, which I’m sure you’ll note in these stunning pictures. Peter has sent us a link to their pubic Flickr site, which I encourage you to check out. The collection is brimming with delicious landscapes from around the world that are well worth seeing.

Dec. 1, 2020, ©Peter Lindsay, all rights reserved.

Dec. 2, 2018, ©Peter Lindsay, all rights reserved.

Dec. 22, 2018,. ©Peter Lindsay, all rights reserved.

Dec. 25, 2019, ©Peter Lindsay, all rights reserved.

Thanks to all three of you for sending in these photos.




  1. says

    Peters landscapes are just magical, especially the last one.

    Avalos evokes memories of my uni studies. One day the professor teaching organic chemistry told me in the lab to dissolve metal sodium in ethanol, to which I expressed surprise that sodium should dissolve in ethanol. And he replied to my surprise with even more incredulous “I gave you an A in your last exam, didn’t I???”. That was a serious burn… I do not remember the experiment looking so pretty. If it were not so transient (and dangerous), it would indeed make for nice Christmas tree decorations.

  2. avalus says

    Stunning Landscapes and I love the ice on moss :)

    @Charly: This is a long chained alkohol, so the reaction is pretty slow. With shorter chained alcohols I never had this beautiful setup.
    Also, wow, serious burn!

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