Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chem Logos - Mythical Defense Edition

Unlike most other disciplines, chemists still have one foot firmly stuck in the world of the supernatural and otherwordly (after allonly in the last few centuries did we realize that aether, vitalism, and phlostigon were all just philosophical fool's gold). Biologists don't reference the Yeti when discussing arctic adaptations, and physicists don't believe that the Earth rests on the back of a giant turtle. Chemists, meanwhile, have a periodic table brimming with legends: cobalt, vanadium, mercury, palladium, helium, and uranium all speak to our alchemical past. But, would you expect to find modern-day examples . . .on military stationery?!

"The Duck"
Credit: CNET | Dan Terdiman
Preparedness for biological, radioactive, or chemical threats falls to the JPEO-CBD, a division of the U.S. Department of Defense. Want to see all their cool scientific toys? I found this slideshow, compiled by CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman during a visit to Dugway Proving Grounds (UT) in 2009.

Due to some strongly-worded disclaimers, I won't link directly to the government pages that describe the various offices under the JPEO's umbrella. But, given the DoD's social media outreach efforts - they're on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube - I'll assume it's OK to share two program logos with the chemblogosphere.

Credit: DoD
Two mythically-inspired logos caught my eye: the Critical Reagents Program, which develops validated assays and sampling kits, displays a menacing green gargoyle, arms akimbo, with flashing red eyes. Likewise, the Contamination Avoidance program, specializing in risk assessment and recon, shows a huge, perched green dragon, with wings cupped as if to shield its young.

Credit: DoD
Therein lies the effectiveness of these two images - although the characters are legendary, we associate both creatures with protection and defense. There's also that hint of menace, a spooky warning against potential attackers. 

Should the DoD require more defensive imagery, I'm sure Batman and the Golem are standing by...


  1. Enjoy:

  2. Where can I get a rubbery ducky like that?