::FUN CHEMISTRY FACT OF THE DAY, PART 2::
News on the chemiluminescence front.
Guess what? Human hands, foreheads, and feet give off light! In the article "Ultra-weak photon emission from human hand: Influence of temperature and oxygen concentration on emission," in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
, Kimitsugu Nakamura and Mitsuo Hiramatsu made my day. The fingernails, fingers, and palm (in descending order) give off ultra-weak light. Health affects the patterns and "brightness" of the light, as does the presence of oxygen and heat (the latter of which make sense -- fires burn brighter in oxygen-rich environments, and glow sticks are brighter when placed in hot water). When mineral oil is rubbed into the skin, the effect amplifies, too, suggesting it's probably a chemiluminescent effect of the skin. Fun, huh? Link
If the light patterns and intensity change based on illness and disease, then I wonder if the change in body chemistry for pregnant women makes them emit more photons than non-pregnant ones. That would explain the "glow" that baby-bearing ladies supposedly have.
(Marginally related: The American Chemical Society has a gift shop
, and one of their items is a t-shirt that reads CHEMISTS CAN MAKE YOUR BUNSEN BURN. And if they do, you need to get that checked out.)