The quintessential chemistry story: someone sets out to make something and ends up creating something useful but completely different by accident.
Saccharin: Chemist working on coal tar derivatives noticed a sweet taste on his hand from contamination.
Aspartame: Chemist working on anti-ulcer drugs discovers his finger's taste sweet when he licked them to turn a page.
Sucralose: Chemist working on novel uses of sucrose and synthetic derivatives asked a coworker to 'test' a compound. Coworker thought he said, 'Taste'.
Tasting unknown chemicals can't always end so well can it?
Reminded me of these entertaining columns: https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2011/11/11/th...
"Say what? I’d call for all the chemists who’ve ever worked with a hexanitro compound to raise their hands, but that might be assuming too much about the limb-to-chemist ratio"
They're all educational and very entertaining, even to a non-chemist like myself. Recommended for a chuckle, there are some really awful compounds he covers with wit.
Edit 1: original link de-borked.
Edit 2: full list of his 'things I won't work with' columns https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/category/thin...
a method to make a more stable form of it, by mixing it with TNT. Yes, this is an example of something that becomes less explosive as a one-to-one cocrystal with TNT. Although, as the authors point out, if you heat those crystals up the two components separate out, and you’re left with crystals of pure CL-20 soaking in liquid TNT, a situation that will heighten your awareness of the fleeting nature of life.
"At seven hundred freaking degrees, fluorine starts to dissociate into monoatomic radicals, thereby losing its gentle and forgiving nature."
"The paper goes on to react FOOF [dioxygen difluoride] with everything else you wouldn’t react it with: ammonia (“vigorous”, this at 100K), water ice (explosion, natch), chlorine (“violent explosion”, so he added it more slowly the second time), red phosphorus (not good), bromine fluoride, chlorine trifluoride (say what?), perchloryl fluoride (!), tetrafluorohydrazine (how on Earth...), and on, and on. If the paper weren’t laid out in complete grammatical sentences and published in JACS, you’d swear it was the work of a violent lunatic."
"But I have to admit, I’d never thought much about the next analog of hydrogen peroxide. Instead of having two oxygens in there, why not three: HOOOH? Indeed, why not? This is a general principle that can be extended to many other similar situations. Instead of being locked in a self-storage unit with two rabid wolverines, why not three?" 
See also also also also also also Viagra
See also also also also also also also Post-It notes (specifically, the adhesive they use)
EDIT: To put it another way, we can't solve NP problems by doing chemistry experiments.
BQP gets you collapsing measurements.
The Schrödinger equation (NP-hard) gives you all probabilities at once, solving it is equivalent to performing non-collapsing measurements.
Theoretically all chemistry is quantum physics with nucleons, electrons and photons (quantum chemistry). You need to numerically simulate what happens in reactions and it's very expensive.
Even that is not always enough. Gold has appears yellow because 5d orbital's distance from nucleus increases and 6s orbital's distance decreases due to relativistic effects. You need relativistic quantum chemistry to figure that out.
Getting all the details in such a model right seems to be the same kind of problem as getting a weather-prediction model right—in that, as you add factors, all your predictions asymptotically approach correctness, with smaller and smaller preturbations.
Those preturbations might cause one or two elements “local” to some part of the configuration-space to be misclassified; but remember, here, that the point is to get a predictive screening test, one that hopefully gives more false positives than false negatives. Any time it says “this molecule might look cool if you made it”, we can just make it and see; and then, if it looks different than we were expecting, we can refine the model with the additional details that make that novel molecule also appear correctly in it.
YInMn molecule has way more electrons that can be solved numerically. Indium atom alone has more than 40.
So you're trying to figure out how our tastebuds work, in response to a novel stimulus.
Sweetness is, as you’ve defined it, a chemical property, so it’s not one of the things I was talking about being “easy” to predict.
But pigmentation is a physical property, as it is a reaction between a molecule and inbound photons†. Likewise, the output of a “pigmentation calculation”—if we know of one—should just be more photons. Wavefunction in, wavefunction out.
We know how photons work. We know how our eyes perceive them. As long as we have a framework for figuring out how a material physically manipulates the photons absorbed by it, we should be able to calculate the pigmentation of every simple molecule by brute force.
† The pigmented molecule can be in the chemical form or physical state that gives it that pigment very ephemerally, due to e.g. a clock reaction. But at any given instant in time, we can say “the molecule is in this state, so what function does it apply to inbound photons now.”
Note also that I’m defining pigmentation here, not total appearance, so this ignores any fluorescence, phosphorescence, triboluminescence, Cherenkov radiation, etc. that the molecule also emits and which we perceive as light. All those purely-physical processes are able to be admitted into this model without actually making it untenable, but it becomes harder to understand, since it becomes a Feynman diagram thing, rather than simple transformation over wavefunctions.
'In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.'
• "The Library of Rare Colors": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rApTzWboLrA
• "I Can't Show You How Pink This Pink Is": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NzVmtbPOrM
The latter video makes me wonder: Is there a good way of finding out if a monitor, or even an entire color space, can contain this color? This may be a pigment where you really can't tell exactly what it looks like on-screen, because either the screen cannot display the color or the color space being used can not encode the color (or because the camera sensor can't properly capture the color).
I believe what he's doing is mixing in a pigment that fluoresces from sunlight, at the same frequency as the primary visible-spectrum pigment. Thus, more of that frequency of light is coming off the page than the visible light landing on the page.
It's pretty crazy to look at in sunlight. Indoor, it's not quite as vibrant.
You are describing the gamut. You can generally look up the gamut for any decent screen. Also, image editors have gamut warnings for going between colour-spaces.
I'm calling a big old  on a compound that's only existed for a decade. It might not be acutely toxic, but recently we seem to be finding all sorts of subtle effects from compounds that've been in common use for decades.
How does one establish non-toxicity?
It's inorganic, has simple structure and contains only non-toxic compounds, so there is no reason to be worried.
If you want to worry, direct your attention towards Vantablack and other carbon nanotubes. It has specific target organ toxicity from single exposure and while it does not appear to be carcinogenic it needs more testing.
So is asbestos...
Asbestos is dangerous because it's a tiny spike that sticks into cell. Just like nanotube of similar length.
"Rights" to inventions aren't innate, they're explicitly granted. Why should we grant an exclusive monopoly on publicly funded research?
Same reason the company i work for owns any code I write while I'm on the clock.
The government gets an automatic license to that patent, so there is also that benefit that the government doesn't end up paying for the invention multiple times.
The counter argument to your question is: why should I work to invent something if I can't benefit from it?
I believe that the concept of the patent is a decent compromise between the two points of view. I don't think that the question of who does the initial funding is necessarily as important. And the Bayh-Dole act was specifically written as an effort to encourage more federally funded research to be made commercially available to the public. Before Bayh-Dole, this compound may have been academically interesting, been researched, published, but then left on the shelf for many years before someone found a commercial use for it. Now, trying to find a commercial use is actively encouraged (or required depending on which tech-transfer office you're talking to). The thinking behind this is that an invention that is available in the market (even patent-protected) is better than an invention that is sitting on the shelf in a lab. Eventually the patent protection runs out and the public gets an even better benefit.
But you're right that it's a trade-off.
I don't see how your following statements support this claim.
Specifically in the short term, you say that the patent provides access to an invention (through the company or whoever will sell the invention). Is this necessarily the case?
>[...] but then left on the shelf for many years before someone found a commercial use for it
It doesn't seem clear to me how the ability for something to be privately patented suddenly makes it accessible to the public.
If government funded research discovered this pigment, then DuPont can still benefit from the process-- they'd just have to pay royalties to the government (i.e. the taxpayers) whose money gave rise to the invention in the first place.
"[...]state influences on innovation and technological developments within the private sector using Apple as an example, for the way they popularized the government created technologies of GPS navigation, touch screen technology, and voice recognition into the modern smartphone. She also gives the example of how the US National Science Foundation funded the algorithm which helped create Google's search engine. Mazzucato argues that the private sector makes up the last and least risky part of technological innovation and entrepreneurship." 
It is not necessarily the case that a patent will lead to a commercially available product. But, a patent is a public document. At the end of the protected time period, the invention described by the patent is available for the public to use.
If the patent didn't exist, the secrets behind an invention would be hidden from the public. But, this comes with a risk for the company in question... if someone else figured out your secret (independently), then you would have no protections and your secret could then be used by this new competitor. A patent is a defense against this. An inventor agrees to make their secrets public, in exchange for a time-limited monopoly to their invention.
Both parties gain something. The public gets to know how something works -- and the rights to use this knowledge for free in the future. The inventor gets a short-term monopoly on this IP and immediate protection from competitors to make money.
> It doesn't seem clear to me how the ability for something to be privately patented suddenly makes it accessible to the public.
Because the institution (normally a University) now has a motive to market this invention. Before Bayh-Dole, something like this pigment would have been noted in a lab notebook and maybe the bright blue color would have been mentioned in a journal article. But, because the University can now use this IP to license the pigment commercially, there is a motive to pull this IP off the shelf at the lab and into the market.
> If government funded research discovered this pigment, then DuPont can still benefit from the process-- they'd just have to pay royalties to the government (i.e. the taxpayers) whose money gave rise to the invention in the first place.
Which would you rather handle the licensing of the IP for this new pigment? A large federal bureaucracy, which is now on the hook for managing the IP for all government grants, and really doesn't have any strong motivation to market the IP? Or the University which stands to make a lot of money to help fund their research and academic missions? One of those entities is more motivated to get this invention licensed and (hopefully) available to the public.
Again, Bayh-Dole was designed specifically for this purpose -- to move the gatekeepers of government funded research away from the federal government and out to the institutions that had more motivation to push these discoveries to the public faster.
I haven't read the The Entrepreneurial State, but the opening synopsis on Wikipedia supports this logic.
> book written by Mariana Mazzucato which argues that the United States' economic success is a result of public and state funded investments in innovation and technology, rather than a result of the small state, free market doctrine that often receives credit for the country's strong economy. (from the Wikipedia page)
A key driver behind the US economy has been public and state funded research. The mechanism that this research makes it to the broader market (faster) is by moving the licensing away from the federal government and towards the research institutions.
If the answer is no then I'm with the other commenter, all the rest of the points are a sidetrack. You're saying everything about pushing inventions into market faster. Great. However the argument was around "why aren't we getting the money back from direct profit from these inventions?" The taxpayers are the ones that front the money. The taxpayers can be likened to the investors. However it is, in every case, that the tax payers don't get anything out of this. Benefit to society, you might argue. But I'm not feeling as the beneficiary when I pay a shit ton for medicine or a specific item because it's patented, even though NSF or NIH funded the research.
And the other side effect you mention, of protection from competition, I'd argue that is a negative. You already get the headstart on research and the money to do it in the first place. Why do you get so much time to have your product untouchable after the fact? I wouldn't doubt it if this protection is why we see abuse of the medical or automobile industry's prices for things.
If you are a private inventor, using your own money, sure. Give the protections. If you use government grants, I'd say that the government owes it to us to document any invention from it and give it open competition access or get royalties from its sales.
And yes, I'd rather the government handle IP rather than DuPonts research team. Every single time.
A few reasons:
* The core hypothesis behind publicly-funded research is that simply advancing knowledge is a good thing. Patents (versus public domain, versus assigning a patent to the government) can change who benefits to what degree, but the raw public good is still there.
* Government grants often don't fully fund a research project, or interesting research happens as a byproduct of another 'core' project. That happened here -- undoubtedly the original grant said nothing about finding new dyes.
* Research grants don't fund all the steps to commercialization, they just fund "basic" research. Paradoxically, denying IP rights to funded research might stifle commercialization by making it not worth the effort to turn a lab development into a commercially-viable product. This is similar to the idea that old drugs and traditional remedies are under-studied in part because pharmaceutical companies cannot patent (and thus profit from) associated discoveries.
* Patents expire, eventually, in a more reasonable timeframe than, say, copyrights.
This is the act that makes this all possible and actually encourages this practice.
If you don't think people should profit from the governments efforts to promote science, cats already out the bag and run round corner down the alley.
Read an interesting story of a physicist that got curious about it.
The Quest for the Next Billion-Dollar Color
I liked how the lunar module used gold foil, and Apollo the Greek god was the Sun deity; gold often used to represent the Sun.
Looks like it hasn't received approval for commercial sale yet. Presumably some health / safety entity?
About right for exotic engineering applications though.
I think where that comes from is that there isn't really an inorganic red that is all of stable, durable, non-toxic, and only then even then good looking.
If I remember correctly, once Mas Subramanian sort of stumbled into "I guess I can try to make pigments with these compounds" he's tried making other colors, but sort of the big prize is in finding a good red with properties similar to YInMn.
Yes, I think that was the combination.
I was thinking in particular red car paint -- it was only organic compounds through the early 2000's, and therefore all of it fades.
For that matter, iron oxide (rust) technically qualifies.
This article also talks of the three other variants for different colours