I am a Christian. I believe in the God of the Bible, in God the Father, in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit. I believe in Genesis 1:1 - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (NIV)" I am a biochemist and a pharmacist by education. As such I have a desire to understand nature. I am writing this blog as my way to express the facts of true science as I understand them, from the perspective of one who believes that all things were created by God, for God and for His purposes.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Crystal Blue Persuasions of Cobalt

Back in June of 1969 I had just graduated high school, the Jesus movement was building and Tommy James and the Shondells came out with a new hit single, "Crystal Blue Persuasion."

Look over yonder
What do you see?
The sun is a'rising
Most definitely
A new day is coming, Ooh ooh

People are changing
Ain't it beautiful
Crystal blue persuasion

Better get ready
To see the light
Love, love is the answer, Oooh ooh
And that's all right

So don't you give up now
So easy to find
Just look to your soul
And open your mind...

Maybe tomorrow
When He looks down
On every green field
And every town

All of His children
And every nation
They'll be peace and good brotherhood

Crystal blue persuasion, Yeah
Crystal blue persuasion, Aha
Crystal blue persuasion...

"Crystal Blue Persuasion" as written by James/Gray/Vale
Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing
Lyrics powerd by LyricFind

Many considered it a drug song, since Tommy James had been a user, but he was clean by then. By his own admission it was inspired by his then recent conversion to Christianity and reading in the Book of Revelation about the coming of the New Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:10-11 - "And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. (NIV)"

A rare blue Jasper would represent peace and tranquility. James was also inspired by his reading in the Book of Ezekiel where it speaks of the Shekinah Glory of the Almighty God and in Isaiah where it speaks of a brotherhood of mankind living in peace.

Isaiah 54:13 - "All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. (NKJV)"

Like many in his day and many still today, he hoped for peace and harmony among all of God's people. He saw the world changing due to the power of God.

Cobalt forms two brightly colored mineral oxides
Cerulean Blue and Cobalt Blue

Now the element Cobalt creates its own Crystal Blue persuasions, forming two bright blue mineral oxides - one with Tin, Cerulean Blue (Cobalt Stanate: Co2SnO4) and a second more brilliant one with Aluminum, Cobalt Blue (Cobalt Aluminate: CoAl2O4). In 1802, Louis Jacques Thénard discovered Cobalt Blue.

Cobalt Blue is used to produce stained glass and is particularly known for its use in Bristol Blue Glass which has been made in Bristol, England since the 18th century. Cobalt compounds have been used for centuries to color porcelain, glass, pottery, tile and enamel. These two varieties of Cobalt Oxides are used as pigments because of their superior stability.

Since the Middle Ages smalt, a blue colored glass, has been used as a pigment. Smalt is produced by melting a mixture of the mineral smaltite (cobalt iron nickel arsenide: (Co,Fe,Ni)As2), quartz and potassium carbonate. Miners had long used the name "kobold" ore (German for goblin ore) for these blue-pigment producing minerals; so named because they contained very little of the known metals and gave off poisonous arsenic-containing fumes when smelted. Smelting yields the dark blue silicate glass smalt, which is then ground to create the blue pigment. Smalt is widely used for the coloration of glass and as a pigment for paintings. In 1735, kobold ores were found to be reducible to a new metal (the first discovered since ancient times), and this metal was ultimately named Cobalt.

Elemental Cobalt is represented by the symbol Co and has an atomic number of 27. It is found naturally only in chemically combined forms. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal. The main source of the element is as a by-product of copper and nickel mining.

Cobalt is a ferromagnetic metal, one of only three (Fe, Ni, Co), and is used in the preparation of magnetic, wear-resistant and high-strength alloys. Cobalt occurs naturally as only one stable isotope, Cobalt-59. Cobalt-60 is a commercially important radioisotope, used as a radioactive tracer and in the production of gamma rays. Cobalt-60 is used to treat some forms of cancer and as a medical tracer. It has a half-life of 5.27 years.

Cobalt-based superalloys consume most of the produced cobalt. These alloys are used in gas turbines and jet aircraft engines. Cobalt-based alloys are corrosion and wear-resistant and have been applied in the medical field, along with Titanium, for orthopedic implants. Cobalt also plays a role in both Nickel and Lithium based battery chemistries.

Cobalt is essential to all animals, including humans, as an "ultratrace" mineral. It is carried in the body as cobalamin, also known as vitamin B12. Bacteria in the guts of ruminant animals convert cobalt salts into vitamin B12, a compound which can only be produced by bacteria. Vitamin B12 is the largest and most complex vitamin molecule currently known to man. Deficiency of cobalamin can lead to anemia, fatigue, mania, and depression. Long term deficiency causes permanent brain and central nervous system damage. Dietary sources include fish, shellfish, beef, cheese and eggs.

Cobalt, in its brilliant sea and sky colored salts, paints a picture of our own crystal blue planet floating quietly through space. It is essential for life and provides us with energy and power in batteries and superalloy metals. Although relatively unknown chemically, it impacts our lives for the better every day.

Revelation 22:1 - "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. (NKJV)"

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