Hetty Helsmoortel quotes love of chemistry in Nerdland’s new book: “There’s so much beauty in chemistry”

Chemistry Queen Hetty: “It’s my attempt to convey the love I feel for chemistry.” (photo by Wanes Nimmegeers)

Chemistry is an exciting, fascinating and influential book topic? Science observer Hetty Helsmortle has accepted the challenge and has just released “Chemistry”, a collection of the most surprising stories from “the most beautiful branch of science”.

No, chemistry is not a high school chemistry textbook title. It’s the latest book for Nerdland, written by Hetty Helsmoortel, bringing together her two great passions: storytelling and science. Chemistry is not a boring course with endless definitions and descriptions, but a collection of interesting, fascinating, poignant and fascinating stories of this branch of science. Hetty writes about real people and real events. “It’s my attempt to convey the love I feel for chemistry.”

Who wants to read a book on chemistry if the teacher doesn’t ask for it?

(He laughs) I wish as many people as possible! But I understand your question. Chemistry is one of the most hated subjects in high school. Mention the term chemistry to a hundred Flemings and at least eighty will make your face sour. But there is so much beauty in chemistry. When I went to university and started studying chemistry, it seemed like the puzzle pieces of the world suddenly fell into place. Suddenly there was a calm because I saw that the world was so logical and beautiful. I hope to convey this amazement and emotion to my readers. Moreover, it is a field with a very interesting history, colorful characters, and incredible stories.”

Maybe we all have more to do with chemistry than we think?

“Absolute. Everything is chemistry! Although every scientist might say that about their own field. A mathematician thinks everything is mathematics, and a physicist, everything is physics. But a lot of our world is about chemistry, or can be explained from chemistry. Contains The book contains examples about PFAS in Zwijndrecht, about the formation of billiard balls, about photography, about the precursor of plastic – bakelite – invented by a Belgian. In other words, there is more chemistry in the world than you think.

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Mention the term chemistry to a hundred Flemish people and eighty at least will make a sour face.”


Was it difficult to make the book not too complicated, but also not simple?

That was a really tricky balance. I constantly sought the balance between “I already knew” and “that was surprising.” You should know that the target audience for the book is very broad in terms of background knowledge, from die-hard Nerdland fans to my grandmother. Each chapter is pre-made by friends and relatives who aren’t scientists. Would my grandmother start that? I hope so. Would your neighbor enjoy it? No idea, but anyone interested in science could have a great time with it. I wrote it as easily and narratically as possible.”

You already mentioned PFAS yourself. Chemistry doesn’t always receive positive news coverage.

“Beats. Nowadays, chemistry is often associated with pollutants. Not always unfairly, but in recent months I’ve noticed that chemistry is working hard on solutions. Not only for PFAS, but also, for example, to purify carbon dioxide from the air “While chemistry was often part of the problem in the past, it will prove in the future that it can be part of the solution. Anyway, the latest breakthroughs in chemistry come from that angle.”

“Chemie”, by Hetty Helsmoortel (Borgerhoff & Lamberigts publisher) is now available in bookstores.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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