What's new

Monday 11th January 1999
Happy New Year!! We've been back at "work" now for a week. The holiday just wasn't long enough-especially for Jez who we haven't seen yet!! Jo and I have been getting on with our projects which are becoming more challenging daily. They are definitely going to take quite some time.

Since our last update all the videos frome Cal Tech are now live on the net for all those at Oxford Uni. We've also been busy producing the latest edition of the Virtual Laboratory on CD-ROM. We've now sent out over 20 CDs to science teachers around the UK with plenty more ready to be posted. Hope their students are finding them useful.


Friday 20th November 1998
This week we've all been getting on with our projects-working out the layout for our pages and trying to figure out how to create drop down menus. Jo's making lots of progress with this. We've also converted a couple videos, made by (The Chemistry Animation Project in Cal Tech) into a real video format. There are six in total and the process takes 16 hours(!!) per vid so they won't all be available on our website until the end of next week. Unfortunately for those not at Oxford University these videos aren't available due to copyright laws. If any students have approaching tutorials on Crystals, Atomic Orbitals, Nucleophilic Substitution, The Diels-Alder Reaction, VSEPR or Stereochemistry check out our site at the end of next week.space!!!



Wednesday 21st October 1998
The hypernodes have all been finished now and are available for your viewing. All the multinodes have been finished aswell and so that's our virtual environments section completed. We are now about to start work on developing specific areas of a General Chemistry Textboook into a multimedia format.. Watch this space!!!


Tuesday 13th October 1998
We are currently constructing the hypernode versions of the QTVR scenes that we have filmed. Three of the multinode versions are now online. The other scenes will be added when they have been completed. Check out the multinodes!


Tuesday 6th October 1998

We have now got thumbnail panos on our new virtual environments page which will be linked to the rest of the sight shortly. The rest of the virtual environments pages are now being written ready to accomodate our new quicktime vr scenes.


Monday 5th October 1998
We are still updating the website and there is still a small amount of filming to be done. My personal website is now up and we still need to have the group photo which will hopefully be done tommorow. We have now started creating scenes from our panoramas so they should be on the web very soon. Also Jo mysteriously was not at work today any suggestions about her whereabouts should be emailed to us!


Wednesday 30th September 1998
We are still updating the graphics in the website and filming about Oxford has continued. Virtually all of the panoramas have been completed and stitched and we hope most of the graphics should be done by the end of the week.


Tuesday 22nd September 1998

This week has been spent filming (AGAIN!!) and we hope these new panoramas will be available on the Net soon. We have also started to redesign the Virtual Chemistry pages to make them look more up to date and to personalise them for this years research workers. We hope you like the new look


Monday 21st September 1998

This week has been spent about various parts of Oxford with the digital camera. We are currently producing even more virtual environments for your viweing pleasure. Despite many technical difficulties we have not given up and these will shortly be online. WATCH THIS SPACE!!!!!


Monday 14th September 1998

We started a trial project on a protein denaturing experiment involving eggs and using the Quicktime Software. This has been our first voyage into multimedia!!!


Thursday 10th September 1998

The new part II chemists for 1998/1999 have now joined the VR group under the supervision of Dr. Harrison.
These are myself, Jeremy Chubb (LMH), Tanya Bassi (KEBLE) and Jo Malcolm (ORIEL).


Friday 29th May 1998

I have now finished all developmental work on the symmetry experiment, the organotransition metal practical and the QuickTime virtual environment of the NCL. The latest version of this work is online, and will be included in all future CD-ROMs that are burned. My thesis will contain all the essential points in research and development covered this year as well as screenshots of the work in action.


Tuesday 28th April 1998

I have revamped three out of six Dr O'Hare's non-metals lectures. These can be found by following this link here..    Non-Metals98   ...the lectures which have been done are Carbon, Nitrogen and Non-Metals. The others will be completed by the end of next week. I will probably tinker with them a bit more during the term but I have to write my thesis sometime!


Thursday 23rd April 1998

Now I have updated the second part of the Organometallic experiment ready to receive the movies and pictures that we will capture in the next week or so. This experiment is then finished. I have also been looking at making some QTVR scenes with the new authoring suite and using the REALVideo encoder to deliver REALVideo clips for the Nickel experiment. This format is more suited to this because there is very little movement in these movies and the compression routines seem to work well. The result is a 20Mb movie can be compressed to about 1 Mb!


Friday 3rd April 1998

I have now updated the default N3 analyzer to fit in with the new development and so hopefully both should work now with the three chosen molecules. I have begun to expand the database by creating the other 40 molecules in Chem3D Pro. Now I need to make the animated simulation files and script how I want the analyzers to treat them - the result should be a set of examples for each of the point groups.


Wednesday 25th March 1998

I have now finished all the main development of the NN4 symmetry analyzer that seems to work alright...noew there are the three molecules wokring, including a scoring system, results display and the ability to print out the results when finished. Some tinkering will no doubt be required to cope with problems that arise but all looks well at the moment


Monday 16th March 1998

I have finally finished a premature version of the Symmetry Analyzer that works for one molecule! Performance is quite machine-dependent so if anyone experiences any problems or wants to give me any *helpful* suggestions, please do e-mail me here. Now I need to integrate slightly more functionality and add a scoring system, then increase my molecular database...


Friday 13th March 1998

I have completed a full version of the VSEPR practical and it now has a full problems section including MDL Molfiles and animation scripts which may be viewed during the question and answer session. The program is best viewed on an 800*600 display. Don't worry about the entry fields for Name and College theses are there for later when I build a CGI (or similar) to record the results of the practical for tutoring purposes. At the moment leave the fields empty, or put your name in if you want. All that will happen when you do the practical is your name will appear above your results. If you experience any problems whilst running the program please e-mail me with the problem.


Friday 13th February 1998

I have recently started work on a snazzier version of the symmetry analyzer that will specifically be made to run on Netscape 4.04 using many of the new tags and parameters that this browser version supports such multiple layers + frames and dynamic HTML. I have put a very temporary version on-line that demonstrates the idea. Eventually both analyzers will be integrated and debugged; using the same molecular modelling files hopefully!



Wednesday 11th February 1998

I have just put my latest version of the VSEPR experiment onto the web site. It is still not 100% complete. The tutorial, shapes and examples are all complete. The problems section works and can be used. However, I intend to also have the molecules visible after the correct geometry has been chosen. So watch this space.
We have sent out copies of the CD-ROM to everyone who asked us for one, so hopefully you'll get them soon. If any more schools are interested in the CD-ROM then email Karl, Jon or myself and we will be happy to send you one free of charge ( please include the word CD-ROM in the subject of the email so we don't overlook it). If you don't use email the send a letter to;

    Dr K. Harrison,
    New Chemistry Laboratory,
    South Parks Road,
    OX1 3QT

Tuesday 27th January 1998

Finished all of the film manipulation for Part One and now it is all online. Have included browser testing script to change the size of the movie windows for NN3.x to account for the fact that it does not recognise the "marginleft" and "margintop" arguments in the BODY tag. I am now compiling a CD-ROM of the latest version of the labs for several schools that have expresssed an interest in it.


Friday 16th January 1998

Finished two more of the clips and I altered the way all the movies are played - now they open in a separate window controlled by the one frame in the parent. This means they can be displayed at the codec size 384 x 280 regardless of the parent browser window size. This is better because some cropping was occuring before. Have also rebrightened and cropped the original clips to match


Tuesday 13th January 1998

Have now finished five of the clips of the first part of organotransition and made a panorama in QT Authoring 2.0 When we obtain version 3.0 we should be able to speed the process up. Still altering the web pages to maximise the ease of navigation and hopefully making the experiment seem as exciting as possible....


Wednesday 7th January 1998

Have finished mastering two of the clips for the organotransition practical; and have started to ammend the current web pages to include them. Have also prepped the new Mac so that panoramas and molecular modelling can be carried out.


Friday 19th December 1997

Have finished filming all of the footage for Part I of the organotransition metal (2nd Yr) experiment - could not complete part II yet because of a lack of product! Captured film in mirodec compressed Premiere files and have finished editing, flattening and compressing two out of the thirteen clips. Will integrate them onto the web next term - need to remember to overcompensate the brightness on the Macs as the PC's always show movies darker. Took some material from S/A/L textbook to add to the symmetry practical and have put some temporary questions online. All is going well...hope it continues into '98


Thursday 11th December 1997

Have modified the tripod to take portrait orientation and have taken all photos for one node in the small office adjoint. Have now formatted and arranged all of the symmetry experiment bar the questions including all molecules and scripts. Used Browser testing code in the default page and created alternate pages such that any user not using Netscape 4.x will get a less complicated page (I.E. 3.x > and Netscape 3.x) - managed to keep the feel very similar by replacing layers with frames. Had to 'define' all my undefined variable as 'undefined' to workaround a bug in the variable handling in the older versions of the browsers. We also finished Shadow Warrior today so no-one will mess with Lo Wang.


Tuesday 1st December 1997

Completed a trial panorama using landscape orientation.. not very useable since the stitcher cannot match the individual photos too well. We also won an award for one of the Top Ten Cool Sites in the Exploratorium Learning Studio.. check out the front page.


Friday 29th November 1997

Have now completed revising Part II - the Polyhedra appendix. All the navigation works and all the hyperactive molecules have been built and included. Also started doing some QuickTime VR of the IT centre and the outer office; there is a new version of QTVR coming out soon that should make the whole process more smooth.. we really want to stich double-height photos together to get a better Vertical Field of View.. might try it out.


Monday 24th November 1997

Have now put all of AFO's material online, albeit in a basic form. Made many of the necessary molecules and used style sheets to justify and order the text - got that corporate feel! Did some initial filming in the ICL but we have to wait till nearer Xmas to do the bulk of it - should be set for 15/12.

Monday 17th November 1997

 Have completed putting the first part of the two part symmetry manual by A.F.O. online, though it needs paginating and ordering. Have devised clean navigation system with rollovers so that the user can pick any topic and scroll sequentially backwards or forwards irrespective of their starting position Have included a link to the point group page though it is going to be redesigned to make use of Shockwave and Flash pluggins - the old version is more applicable to Navigator 3 users. Downloaded and installed the new I.E.4 and netscape 4.04 versions.


Monday 10th November 1997

Completed the first three sections of the VSEPR course. This includes the tutorial, molecular shapes and example sections. Have include MDL molfiles to show the shapes of the molecules. The problems part of the course will follow shortly. We have also updated the different browser menus so they contain all the current information on the VR site.


Friday 7th November 1997

Completed benzene on the molecular database, added "spt" javascript buttons to control improper rotations and created a splash screen for the main text part of the symmetry experiment. We will be refilming the organometallics practical in the ICL soon and put it online.


Monday 3rd November 1997

Amended the mechanism for choosing molecules in symmetry experiment - user can choose as well as random generator. Fixed the problem that was crashing the Apple Macs - the problem was the "</embed>" command after an embedded MDL Molfile. Added Benzene to the database and constructed a method for adding further molecules when needed... clearly some symmetry operations will not be modeled to prevent repetitions (cf. 6 sigma planes in C6H6)   


Thursday  30th October 1997

Began updating my molecular database to include more molecules and refine the scripting that simulates the reflections in the sigma planes using colour changes. Ammonia and Water are now fully interactive and the flow charts allow correct point group assignation. Cleaned up the backgrounds and put the experiment online.  


Tuesday  28th October 1997

Updated the AZ page to include the new experiments and the online lecture courses.  

Monday  27th October 1997

Have created a proposal for a multi-media award for the Virtual Lab - have ensured the links to the new experiments are included on the CD ROM and that all links within these pages are relative and working. Began updating the A-Z page that will eventually act as a full index to the VR Lab.

Tuesday 21st October 1997Have spent the last fortnight putting Mr. A. Orchard's practical courses on symmetry (some group theory) and VSEPR rules on-line. This involves completely generating the new code to put the original work on-line *the latter was programmed from scratch by AFO in BBC MicroCode* onto a PC platform. A very sketchy preliminary version has been linked to the VR page but it is certainly well under construction.

Tuesday 14th October 1997

Began programming the VSEPR and symmetry experiments; using Javascript and HTML layering.


Tuesday 7th October 1997

Put the scanned team photo online and replaced the thumbnail links on the VR site. Continued learning the ins&outs of JavaScript and got our personal web pages on-line, and linked to them via the "about us" page.


Monday 6th October 1997

Continued modifying our home pages to get used to naked HTML programming and the use of Javascript "forms" - downloaded beta version of DreamWeaver; a dynamic HTML editor that allows layered pages to be user-constructed. The team photo is ready to be put on-line.


Wednesday  1st October 1997

Finished Dr. O'Hare's lecture course on non-metals. All lectures now have framed menu driven pages which make navigation much easier. We also went out for a nice group lunch to the Turl Bar, Oxford, where we met the photographer for the group Keith. Our new group photo will be on its way shortly.


Monday  29th September 1997

Applied the framing system to all of lecture 5 and split the longer documents into more manageable parts; scaled the scanned images and included a coloured background which required all the images to be altered manually. Used the TARGET -TOP command to go framed => full screen. One more lecture to go then onto a new course.


Friday  26th September 1997

Began updating lectures 4 and 5 of Dr. O'Hares on-line course on Non-Metals.. have started using framed web pages to produce a cleaner navigation system which also reduces a lot of scrolling, stay tuned!


Thursday  25th September 1997

Began updating and revising Dr.O'Hares on-line lecture course on NonMetals.. so far have improved navigation and tidied text ? images by inserting necessary hyper links - Lectures 1 & 2 finished and 3 & 4 currently being worked on by myself and Ian.


Wednesday 24th September 1997

Updated the opening screen to make it easier on people's browser software


Monday 22nd September 1997

Changed the page containing the photo of last years group - tidied up the text and included a link to the old version. Put temporary thumbnail in until a digiphoto can be incorporated.


Thursday 18th September 1997

The new crew have arrived! Myself *Jon* and Ian have now joined Dr.Harrison's group as Part II Chemists. We are starting the process of updating the site and including  any new  modifications  that  the  latest versions of  the popular Web browsers can accommodate. Our final aim is to include a fully interactive laboratory environment such that the user can walk freely*ish* through the ICL. Keep you posted...


Sunday 8th June 1997

Updated all the video launch files in Complex Ions to include 'PLAYEVERYFRAME=TRUE' in order to improve the site's use from CD ROM. Also included new start-up sequences for both CD ROM and on-line versions.


Monday 2nd June 1997

Updated the laboratory QTVR movie with a partial panorama 5th node.


Tuesday 29th April 1997

The Fe Part 1 and Fe Part 2 sections of Complex Ions are now finished. This means that Complex Ions is now complete.


Thursday 24th April 1997

Updated the new menu page for Netscape 3 and 4 with links to new experiments. Began constructing the Nickel experiment pages.


Wednesday 23rd April 1997

More refinement of the JavaScript in the Complex Ions experiment, including additional interactivity, more Complex Ions content and a new menu page for Netscape 3 have been added.


Thursday 17th April 1997

We've been filming in the lab again - this time a Nickel experiment. Also made some minor alterations to the Ag section of Complex Ions.


Thursday 10th April 1997

Updated JavaScript on front page to take account of Netscape 4.0b3. The fact that it was working beforehand was just luck because the JavaScript found a '3' in the name of the browser and thought it was running on Netscape 3. Also corrected a whole stack of links in the virtual laboratory section and fixed the JavaScript code in the Complex Ions area to allow the site to work from CD ROM.


Wednesday 9th April 1997

Vanadium section of Complex Ions completed. Chromium Part 2 section of Complex Ions completed. Just Iron to go!


Tuesday 8th April 1997

Meissner effect movie updated.


Monday 7th April 1997

We're back. Vanadium section of Complex Ions updated.


Wednesday 26th March 1997

It's our Easter break. We're back soon though (less than two weeks) so don't go away!


Tuesday 25th March 1997

All the power has been off today.

Monday 24th March 1997

Complex ions has been updated again.


Thursday 20th March 1997

Complex ions has been updated again. Co is now complete.


Wednesday 19th March 1997

Complex ions has been updated again. Cu was completed yesterday and Ag today.


Tuesday 18th March 1997

The What's here pages have been completed.


Monday 17th March 1997

Our web site has been featured in the University Gazette and the Oxford Student. I have now added links to them from our ISCA press release page.


Saturday 15th March 1997

Added a 'starter question' (extra graphic and text comparing the colour of two compounds) to Chromium Part One. I've also improved the reliability of the Cr when using Internet Explorer by modifying the JavaScript control code. Also added text to the Co experiment.


Friday 14th March 1997

Chromium Part One has now been updated with new movies and text for the NaOH/H2O2 experiment and is now complete.

I have also replaced the old film of the Meissner effect with a new one.


Thursday 13th March 1997

We're on the front page of the University Gazette. When the on-line 13/3/97 edition becomes available, you will find it at: http://info.ox.ac.uk/gazette/1996-7/weekly/wk-967.htm.

Added some text to the Cu experiment. Added many more movies to the complex ions area and I'll begin linking them into the site soon.


Monday 11th March 1997

We have discovered a way to remove the grey lines between frames in Internet Explorer 3.0. This is done by using the FRAMESPACING=0 setting.


Saturday 8th March 1997

Added opening screens to Ag, Co, Fe and V sections of the complex ions experiment. NB No additional functionality has yet been implemented.


Friday 7th March 1997

Nearly all the complex ion filming is complete. There are three or four sections which I need to re-film because the outcome the first time around was not the expected result. I'm working my way through all the footage, cutting it together and adding captions. Some movies have already been added to the site, for example the silver reactions. Please note that these sections are under development and are still at a fairly early stage. Some of the movies there at the moment will be replaced and text has yet to be added. Chromium remains closest to completion, with one reaction movie needing a replacement. I have re-filmed this section, but not yet digitized it. I apologize once again for the delay. I am working as fast as I can to complete this experiment.


Thursday 6th March 1997

Today we filmed the Cobalt and Vanadium sections of the complex ions experiment.

I digitized all the movies for the Cobalt section.

Did you catch us on the radio? Fox FM featured our Virtual Laboratory on their evening news programme, the Fox Report. Oxygen FM also ran an item.


Wednesday 5th March 1997

It has been brought to my attention that the email address given on our contacts page (vrchemistry@icl.oxford.ac.uk) is incorrect. The correct address should be either vrchemistry@icl.ox.ac.uk or vrchemistry@inorganic-chemistry.oxford.ac.uk. Apologies for this error. The contacts page has been updated to correct it.


Tuesday 4th March 1997

We've won an award for our work. See this Press Release.

Video digitizing is almost complete. Apologies for the delay.


Monday 3rd March 1997

Devin is working on a new organometallics practical to go into the VR lab.


Tuesday 25th February 1997

Since the last update to the site, I have been attempting to complete the digitization of the video footage for the rest of the complex ions site. This is taking much longer than anticipated. We have recently switched to new video capture hardware and software and been suffering a number of teething problems. Hopefully, these have now been resolved and work can now continue. Sorry for the delay. Stay tuned...


Friday 14th February 1997

Added more to the Cr section of the complex ions experiment. It is now finished except for the NaOH/H2O2 section, which might have to be re-filmed. I won't be able to determine this until Monday.

Current problems with the web counter are due to a bug in Live3D, which can not handle '8' without problems. To fix this, I could replace the numbers with a bitmap.


Thursday 13th February 1997

Spent today digitizing the material we recorded yesterday. This is going to be a lengthy process.


Wednesday 12th February 1997

Spent today filming in the laboratory so there should be some interesting additions to the complex ions experiment soon.


Friday 7th February 1997

New layout for our introduction and explanatory pages implemented. New icons replace old, rather less aesthetically pleasing ones. JavaScript implemented on menubars to alter the status line at the bottom of the browser window to something more informative than ?../intro/whatdoing/qtvr.html? etc.

Added contact information and set up an email address for the group (vrchemistry@icl.ox.ac.uk).

Added another picture to the QTVR movie production page to explain the importance of getting your rotation right during stitching.

Added more multiple choice questions to the Cr experiment and provided better, more detailed explanations of the chemistry. This work is still not complete, however.

Updated the non-framed version of the title page and the introduction page. Other pages still require this work.


Monday 3rd February 1997

Began writing up the process of QTVR movie production. I think this is going to need to be broken up into smaller sections.


Tuesday 28th January 1997

Added more material (another 14 files are in there somewhere!) and corrected other problems (such as mis-aligned tables) with the chromium section of the Complex Ions experiment.

Altered Q?A section of the pH test to a multiple choice question - it requires more thinking on the part of the user and is therefore more interactive and a more effective tool for learning/teaching.

Adjusted title page JavaScript to filter out Netscape Navigator 4 since Live3D 2.0 does not yet support the ASCII Text node.


Monday 27th January 1997

Linked the Safety pages off our main Virtual Laboratory menu page . Experimented a bit with the layout.


Friday 24th January 1997

Completed most of the layout and content of the Safety pages. Still needs to be linked off our main 'Virtual Laboratory' menu page.


22nd January 1997

Updated Safety pages with more information and graphics. Still requires quite a bit of work though.


15th January 1997

Updated Complex Ions experiment pages with more links and information.


13th January 1997

Updated Complex Ions experiment pages to improve compatibility with Netscape Communicator. Patched HTML to correct background colour problems and modified JavaScript frame.location.href commands. Attempted to resolve problems with 'bottles' image map on Macintosh Netscape 3.0: added on.MouseOut=?? JavaScript but this was unsuccessful.

Greyed out the Quicktime movie controls on the opening 'bottles' screen since they are inactive (it's actually an image, not a QT movie).

Added extra graphics and text to pH test section of the experiment


10th January 1997

Updated Complex Ions experiment pages. Added introduction page and began adding infrastructure for safety information including separate section of pages.

Compressed Quicktime movies down to half original size


9th January 1997

Updated Complex Ions experiment pages. Began constructing a purely HTML/JavaScript version of the experiment. We will also eventually produce a MacroMedia Director version.


9th and 8th January 1997

Updated Perl scripts running on users.ox.ac.uk to take account of OUCS's PATH_INFO bug fix that meant the program couldn't find the log and counter files. The scripts now work again.

Found another line in the scripts that needed changing in order to update the log files correctly.


6th January 1997

We're back! And, sadly, we had to take the Christmas decorations down or it would have been bad luck.... :(


18th December 1996

Work has finished for the Christmas break. We're back on 3rd January 1997.


17th December 1996

Laboratory environment modified to improve the stitching and colour balance of the panoramas.

Completed digitizing video for our Complex Ions experiment. These will be developed into an interactive experiment in January.

16th December 1996

Laboratory environment extended to 4 nodes.


12-16th December 1996

Working to extend the laboratory QTVR world to 4 nodes.


11th December 1996

Updated the JavaScript code on the title page to make it compatible with Microsoft Internet Explorer. Our rotating 3D banner will now load only if you have Live3D and Netscape 3.0.


10th December 1996

Updated the virtual laboratory: added floor plan, more hot spots and a better guide to using Quicktime VR.


9th December 1996

Our virtual laboratory has now been updated to use the new features of the new Quicktime VR plugin.

Added links to forthcoming 'Complex Ions' experiment to the Virtual Lab menu page.


6th December 1996

The title page is now controlled by JavaScript which tests for the presence of a plug-in that will display VRML files.


26th November 1996

A new menu page has been added with links to our museum, laboratory and superconductor sections. This should make navigating a little easier and allow room for further expansion.

Links to the Real VR lab have at last been incorporated with the rest of the virtual laboratory page.

Questions and diagrams added to the superconductor page.


25th November 1996

Theory section added to our guide to the ICL's superconductor experiment.

Synthesis section has also been fleshed out with some more details and stills.


19th November 1996

Our guide to the ICL's superconductor experiment is being prepared and will hopefully be ready soon.


18th November 1996

The RealVR lab with high temperature super conducting experiment video online.


7th November 1996

Produced a new-look title page that hopefully makes the site easier to get into.

Produced version of the site for browsers that can't handle frames.


6th November 1996

Having produced a Quicktime VR panorama of the ICL lower teaching laboratory and a separate Quicktime film of a superconductor experiment, we are attempting to merge the two into one virtual reality environment using Real VR.


Current records began on 6th November 1996. We will retrospectively log all previous work back to 10th September 1996. In the meantime, please browse the rest of our site!


© Copyright 1997Oxford University