An excerpt from Joseph Priestley's paper, "Impregnating Water with Fixed Air," showing Priestley's gas dissolution apparatus. This paper demonstrates how air can be dissolved in water (the precursor to our modern carbonated beverage). Gas dissolution is also a good example of the non-ideal behavior of gases.
The van der Waals equation of state has always fascinated me because of its simplicity--explaining the non-ideal behavior of gases using two simple constants that are independent of temperature and unique for every gas. The two constants a and b represent the attraction and excluded volume of particles in a real gas, thus providing an equation that improved upon the ideal gas equation, which had assumptions of zero volume and zero interaction between gas particles. 

Johannes Diderik van der Waals created this equation in 1873, for which he later earned the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1910. Not only do I admire his work because of its simplicity, but also because van der Waals was a man that was motivated by his curiosity to learn, despite whatever obstacles were in his way. Coming from a family of ten children, and a father who was a carpenter, he insisted on continuing his education despite social pressures to attend trade school. He possessed a love for teaching as well, a pastime I greatly admire and enjoy, and it was this love of teaching that enabled and inspired him to take university classes, later getting his doctorate.

There is also the fact that his equation of state, one of the things he is best known for and the reason he won the Nobel prize, was the work he presented in his thesis. van der Waals achieved what is every graduate student's dream: for their thesis work to be ground-breaking in science.

My name is Andy Surface, and I am a science graduate student. This is my personal webpage which I intend to make a place to learn about the things I am interested in, as well as a place to share my writings, ideas, and pursuits. As I am in science, I'm afraid most things I put on here will be science-related. That being said however, I have many other interests, not the least of which are computer programming, history of airships, and remote controlled helicopters. This website will likely reflect those interests as well.