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11 beautiful examples of art inspired by science

By: Mary Jo DiLonardo on Jan. 15, 2015, 3:11 p.m.
Pharaoh's serpent

Photo: YouTube

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Pharaoh's serpent

Mercury thiocyanate is an inorganic chemical compound that makes for some pretty dramatic moving art when it's ignited. In the science world, mercury thiocyanate (typically present as a white powder) has several uses in chemical synthesis, but its real claim to fame is in pyrotechnics. When it's lit, the compound produces a long spiraling column of ash and smoke that looks like a moving snake. These used to be sold in firework stores, but now you're only likely to see them in a chemistry class because of claims of toxicity. The modern version is a nontoxic "black snake" that makes a less spectacular — albeit safer — presentation.