The Chemical Educator, Vol. 7, No. 3, S1430-4171(02)03571-6, 10.1007/s00897020571a, © 2002 Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.

Chemistry Comes Alive!, Volume 2. Compiled by Jerrold J. Jacobsen and John W. Moore. Special Issue 21, 1998; CD-ROM for Macintosh and Windows; JCE Software, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1101 University Ave., Madison, WI 53706-1396; Phone: (608) 262-5153 or (800) 991-5534; FAX: (608) 265-8094; e-mail:; Prices/ Licensing (prices for non-U.S. are in parentheses): single user on a single machine, $60 ($80); additional single user copies, $45 ($65); libraries, single machine, $120 ($140); networks, up to 12 simultaneous users, $240 ($260); networks: up to 50 simultaneous users, $800 ($820); networks, more than 50 simultaneous users, contact JCE Software for a quote. Because Chemistry Comes Alive! is periodically updated, for the latest information on system requirements please access JCE Online:

George B. Kauffman and Hiram William Blanken, California State University, Fresno, and

S1430-4171(02)03571-6, 10.1007/s00897020571a

This disk is the second in a multivolume series of CD-ROMs featuring collections of pictures, computer-generated graphics and animations, explanations, and Apple QuickTime videos depicting chemical reactions that should stimulate the curiosity of students and motivate them to learn, thus bringing chemistry to life as the series title implies. The collections are divided into volumes on related topics generally included in a first-semester college or high school introductory chemistry course, as recommended for maximum usefulness by a group of chemical educators.        

Volume 2 is divided into four chapters:

E/P  Electronic Structure/Periodic Table

B  Bonding

S/L  Solids/Liquids

S  Solutions

The topics and demonstrations (some of which can be considered under more than one topic—with an asterisk indicating the primary chapter assignment for the topic) are:

E/P*               Relative Reactivity of Alkali Metals

E/P*   Induction by Iron(II) of the Oxidation of Iodine by Dichromate

E/P*                     Colors of Elements in a Flame

E/P* B                  Curie Point of Nickel

E/P* B                  Paramagnetism: Compounds

E/P*   S/L             Paramagnetism: Oxidation States of Manganese

E/P B*                  Paramagnetism: Nitrogen and Oxygen

E/P*   S/L             Isotopes: Heavy Water Ice Cubes

E/P B*       S/L      Ferrofluid

B*      S/L      Floating Squares

B*      S/L      Plastic Sulfur

B*      S/L      Ice Bomb

B*      S/L      Viscosity of Liquids

B*      S/L      Hardness of Solid Substances

B*      S/L      Hardness of Solid Substances—Grinding

B*                 Ferrimagnetism

B*                 Ring Strain

B*              S Like Dissolves Like: Demonstration

B*              S Like Dissolves Like: Multimedia Experiments

E/P             S/L*         Piezoelectric Effect

BS/L*   Sodium Chloride Crystal Cleavage

BS/L*   Critical Point of Benzene

BS/L*   Simulation of Dislocations in

Heat Treatment of a Metal Bobby Pin

BS/L*   Heat Conduction by Diamond

BS/L*   Thermochromism: Mercury(II) Iodide

BS/L*   Memory Metal

S/L*   Liquefaction of Carbon Dioxide

S/L*   Boiling by Cooling

S/L*   Superconductivity

S/L*   Vapor Pressure: Drinking Bird

S/L*   Vapor Pressure: Collapsing Balloon

S/L*   Mercury Barometers

S/L*   Big Barometer

S/L*   Boyle’s Law: J-Tube

S/L*   Vapor Pressure: Using Barometers

S/L*   Vapor Pressure: H-Bonding vs. Dipole-Dipole


S/L*   Vapor Pressure: Molecular Polarity

S/L*   Vapor Pressure: Molecular Size

S/L*   Vapor Pressure: Raoult’s Law

S* Crystallization of Supersaturated Sodium


S* Ammonia Fountain

S* Ammonia Fountains—Multiple

S* Conductimetric Titration

S* Canned Heat

S* Extraction of Acid with Base

S* Osmotic Pressure, Hydrostatic Pressure

The emphasis in the collection is on chemistry with reactions shown close-up (in only a few cases, where scale is important, are more than the demonstrators’ hands shown). Each demonstration or reaction illustrates an important aspect of chemistry.

The disk is organized like a World Wide Web site to maximize its usefulness in the classroom, and accessing its contents via the web browsers should be a very easy and familiar process for most users. Correlation to a number of popular high school and college chemistry textbooks is provided, allowing the user to select the text used in class from a list and then move to each chapter to locate images that complement the content of the chapter.

Links are provided to JCE Online, where the user will find resources that complement the disk, including a consolidated index for all volumes of CCA! as they are developed, instructional materials that utilize CCA!, and previews of all CCA! volumes. The viewer must install QuickTime to view the videos (played directly using MoviePlayer on the Macintosh or Media Player in Windows) and Chime for the molecular animations, both of which can be used as lecture aids. Images can be easily incorporated into multimedia presentations or lessons. The web browser’s Bookmark function is an especially convenient way to organize material for lectures or student lessons. Sufficient written information about each video segment is provided to allow students to use the disk independently.

The starting point for accessing the program is the index page. Directions are given on how to access the index page from within an Internet browser. From this point the user can view the videos and animations in any order, either following the table of contents or going directly to the topics section where a particular topic and all the associated videos can be seen. A very useful aspect of the program is the cross-linking between topics and videos, much in the same way that a web page provides links.

The movies include voice-over narration, and the sound from the reaction is included whenever it is important. Several demonstrations are accompanied by computer-generated animations, which provide microscopic explanations of the observed macroscopic phenomena. Some demos consist of a comprehensive series of reactions that permit both the instructor and students to compare and contrast the behavior of similar reactions and to provide material that can be used in constructing tests. Frames diagramming the reaction can be found on the same page as the video.

The greatest strength of Chemistry Comes Alive! lies in the many reactions demonstrated that would be impractical or too dangerous to perform in the classroom. The reaction videos can be worked into lectures or class demonstrations and quickly shown to illustrate or reinforce information given during a lecture or lab. With increasing costs for reagents and equipment as well as the concern over liability to students and faculty, this CD-ROM is an excellent alternative to actually performing potentially dangerous experiments and cleaning up or disposing of reaction products. Admittedly, for students nothing can replace the thrill of observing or performing a highly exothermic reaction. However, in many situations the gains in being able to witness an energetic reaction hands-on do not outweigh the risks involved.

The contents of all CCA! CD-ROMs can be simultaneously browsed and searched by visiting the web site: