Professor Forman Williams' microgravity flame work aboard the International Space Station

June 18, 2013:  Fire, it is often said, is mankind's oldest chemistry experiment.    For thousands of years, people have been mixing the oxygen-rich air of Earth with an almost endless variety of fuels to produce hot luminous flame. There's an arc of learning about combustion that stretches from the earliest campfires of primitive humans to the most advanced automobiles racing down the superhighways of the 21st century. Engineers study burning to produce better internal combustion engines; chemists peer into flames looking for exotic reactions; chefs experiment with fire to cook better food.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013