Macs in Chemistry

Insanely Great Science

Calca a calculator using markdown


Calca is a powerful symbolic calculator that updates as you type giving you instant answers. It solves equations and simplifies complex expressions. It's also a rich Markdown text editor so that you can explain your ideas alongside your calculations. This looks like a really interesting application,

Calculation Features:

  • Variables x = 42
  • Functions f(c) = 9/5*c + 32 and even recursive functions
  • Units 42 mph in kmph and currency ¥599 in $
  • Solves equations (x + 2x + 4x = 42, what is x?)
  • Matrices with inverses so you can solve linear equations
  • Sum, prod, map, and reduce operations on lists, matrices, and ranges
  • Trigonometry and complex numbers
  • Derivatives of functions
  • Logic operations and if statements
  • Binary math (& and |) and support for binary and hex number (0xA9 and 0b1010)
  • Keeps track of units (m, s, m/s, m/s^2, etc.) so you can verify your equations as you compute

There is a comprehensive reference page that gives more details.

There is a MacOSX version and an iOS version for your iPad or iPhone.

The nice thing is you can use Markdown to format the calculation and add an explanation.

There is a listing of Markdown Editors for Mac OSX here,


XQuartz updated


X11 2.7.7 has been released

The XQuartz project is an open-source effort to develop a version of the ​ X Window System that runs on OS X. Together with supporting libraries and applications, it forms the that Apple has shipped with OS X since version 10.5.


Download XQuartz-2.7.7_rc1.dmg, and open it with OS X's Installer.

Important Notices

OS X Requirements

OS X 10.6.3 or later is required to install this package.

Default X11 Server

If this is your first time installing XQuartz, you may wish to logout and log back in. This will update your DISPLAY environment variable to point to rather than If you would prefer to keep using as your default server (you can still launch manually), you'll want to disable /Library/LaunchAgents/org.macosforge.xquartz.startx.plist using ​launchctl(1).

Changes in 2.7.7

All changes in 2.7.6 plus: app: ​xcursorgen 1.0.6 ​xscope 1.4.1 ​xterm 309 lib: ​libICE 1.0.9 ​libXft 2.3.2 ​libXi 1.7.4 ​pixman 0.32.6 ​xcb-util-renderutil 0.3.9 proto: glproto 1.4.17 ​inputproto 2.3.1 server: ​xorg-server 1.15.2 plus ​other patches Fixes multimonitor support on Mavericks (#832) Fix Xephyr "failed to create root window" bug (#822)


OpenEye Toolkits Updated


OEToolkits 2014.Jun This release of the OpenEye toolkits is focused on stability and new platform support. The last release, 2014.Feb, was a major feature release introducing numerous new features. This release focused on fixing many bugs and improving the overall stability of the OpenEye toolkits.

There is still a major new feature being added in this release:

FreeForm API added to Szybki TK

Mac Users should note this release will be the last release to support OSX 10.7.


Using an iPad to give lectures


I saw an interesting bog post from ChemBark. On experiences using an iPad to present organic chemistry lectures.

How to Use an iPad for Orgo Lectures…and Embarrass Yourself, the involves connecting the iPad to the projector through a lightning-to-VGA adapter and a VGA cable and then using Notability to write/draw on top of the document and screencast everything through the projector.

However we have Keynote and Powerpoint for iPad and I saw this tutorial, and I was wondering how many people were using their iPad for presentations?


MobileScience Updates


I’ve just been sent links to a selection of iOS apps related to space exploration.

The NASA Visualization Explorer, the coolest way to get stories about advanced space-based research delivered right to your iOS device. The NASA app allows you to explore with NASA and discover the latest images, videos, mission information, news, feature stories, tweets, NASA TV and featured content. There is also the NASA TV for live feeds. Portal to the Universe a news aggregator for space news.

The ESO Top 100 Images, which brings users a selection of the best astronomy images taken by a suite of the world’s most advanced ground-based telescopes from the Atacama Desert in Chile. Whilst the ESA/Hubble Top 100 Images, which brings users the best Hubble pictures from ESA. Looks like an ideal place to browse for new desktop pictures.

Finally if you want to explore the Science Museum in London from the comfort of your sun lounger, with Journeys of Invention you can study, rotate and even operate some of the most revolutionary scientific inventions of all time.