This week I made a video tutorial on acids and bases. This is part 3 of the chemistry of water. In addition to a tutorial on acids and bases, I've also added in a bit about ocean acidification. Here's the video:
The final point on this video deserves some more attention. The average acidity of the oceans is about 0.1 pH lower (ie, more acidic) now than at any time in the last 400 thousand years. The pH could drop by another 0.5 pH unit by the year 2100.
This may not sound like a big change, but remember that each pH unit represents an order of magnitude. A drop in 1 pH unit means the ocean would be ten times more acidic, so even half of this change is substantial.
If we reach a tipping point at which corals can no longer form calcium carbonate shells, the characteristics of the ocean environment will change dramatically.
I try to inject a little bit of the "real world" into all of my videos, but this tutorial on acids and bases should really send the message home, I hope. For more information about ocan acidification, take a look at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website.
Science learning only occurs when you are answering questions or solving problems. This is why I have mentioned this problem. If you just watch a video tutorial on acids and bases, you might do better on a chemistry test somewhere. But real science is engages with the real world.
So let me leave you with a final science learning tip this week. Always think of your science learning in terms of problems and questions. Think critically, and don't just memorize facts that others have fed to you.
This approach is easy. There are so many problems in the world, so many unanswered questions, that you will never have to look far to find a cause that you genuinely care about. Once you find your cause, apply your science knowledge to save the day.
My videos like this tutorial on acids and bases are just simple tools. I hope you will use them to do great work.