Monday, October 26, 2009

Workshop at Taichung

I gave a one-day workshop on the beaded molecules for some junior high school students this summer (7/2-7/3/2009) at Taichung, Taiwan. Here is a picture about the workshop.



In the morning, after a brief introduction on the chemical bonding and a few simple molecular structures, I then started to teach student the platonic solids and basic weaving techniques by asking them to make a C20 (a dodecahedron). I simply asked students follow my instructions step by step without too much explanation. This is because, I think, it is important to have some hands on experience for constructing beaded fullerenes first. Some students can get the basic rules of weaving just after a few steps, others may take a longer time and kept asking me how to do the next step. But it took about an hour for all students to get the first project done. I also found that it is better to use larger beads around 10mm to 12 mm for students who have no experience in beading. To create a C20, one need 30 beads. So it is not too expensive even for a group of 50 students.

The next project in the afternoon was to construct a C60. Of course, before we started to do that, I explain the icosahedron, truncated icosahedron and a few background information on fullerenes to them. Unlike C20, where all atoms and bonds are equivalent, here we have two different bond types, 5-6 and 6-6 bonds, so it is natural to use two different color of beads for the construction. In fact, this is not a burden for weaving. Instead, color of beads can be used as a mnemonic aid for denoting the place of pentagons. One needs 90 beads to represent chemical bonds in a C60. Since students have some experience in the morning for making a C20, I find it convenient and more cost effective to use 6mm beads with two different colors for students to work on in this project. It took about 2 hours for most of students to construct his or her C60.


The picture shown below is the C60 I made in this workshop. At the end, I gave it to one of students in this workshop as a souvenir.


3 comments:

niel said...

nice job ya..i like it(",)

Ljubica said...

where can I find free patterns for these molecular shapes?Or any payable pattern

Bih-Yaw Jin said...

The simple fullerenes without any hole can be constructed by spiral (weaving) codes as described somewhere in this blog.

Donut-shape fullerenes (only hole or genus=1 if you are mathematician) have also been described in detail in this blog.

Other topologically nontrivial structures are more difficult to describe, though. But I believe that you can find hints in this blog too.