November 1, 2011 (Vol. 31, No. 19)
Strong Points: Clever text entry mode for molecular weight calculator
Weak Points: Includes ads
One would hope that, despite all of the available computing power, scientists in training today are still capable of manually performing the calculations necessary to make laboratory solutions. But hey, let’s face it—sometimes it’s nice to let a machine do the thinking for you. Enter Solution Calculator, an Android app that is exactly as advertised. You specify the concentration, volume, and molecular weight, and it tells you how to make it. Dilutions are also calculated in a snap. The app includes a list of molecular weights for common chemicals, but my favorite feature is the “calculate molecular weight” tool. Rather than requiring the user to use the keyboard to type in the chemical symbols, there are buttons representing each element. If you want to specify MgCl2, for instance, you need only press “Mg” followed by two taps of the “Cl” button.