Molecules iPhone app ideal for scientists, students

May 3, 2010
Education

Science was never my strong suit. It’s been about eight years since I last stepped foot in a laboratory for educational purposes, so I was surprised at how cool I found the free iPhone, iPod touch and iPad app Molecules. Let’s be honest, if you don’t need to reference molecules on a daily basis, you aren’t […]

Science was never my strong suit. It’s been about eight years since I last stepped foot in a laboratory for educational purposes, so I was surprised at how cool I found the free iPhone, iPod touch and iPad app Molecules. Let’s be honest, if you don’t need to reference molecules on a daily basis, you aren’t going to need Molecules. But for students, teachers or scientists, this app is a handy reference.

Molecules are quickly rendered in 3-D and examined using pinch-to-zoom, swipe-to-rotate and two-finger panning. Users can double-tap the screen to change the visualization mode between space filling, cylinders and ball-and-stick. You can also set the molecule to rotate automatically by tapping the lower left icon. Ribbon structure is currently not an option, but is planned for a future update. I’d like to see an atoms key included in the future, too.

Molecules comes pre-loaded with four molecules, but you can download more from the RCSB Protein Data Bank. Tap the info “I” button and then “Download new molecules” to search for a protein via keyword. If you’ve created your own molecules, you just need to enter in the public server address into the custom location field to upload the PDB file, but a stop at the developer’s website for full directions is recommended.

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