I figure I'll write something since I am enjoying some precious time away from the bench and can actually afford to do so...
As I mention in my comment, this format has great potential to uncover some fundamental aspects of chemistry. That said, I think the success of this format will be rather heavily dependent on the breadth we're willing to accept. In particular, I would like to make a case for the inclusion of questions regarding extremes in chemistry.
Now, I'll admit a large personal bias right from the outset. I love talking and reading about "what is the most/least ____ possible in chemistry?" because it helps establish the boundaries of our Universe and the limits of our knowledge. It's awesome to see how crazy a system can get because someone just really really wanted it to display as much of a certain behaviour as is physically allowed.
I do not think that the fact that extremes are eventually superseded is a good argument against their inclusion. For one, that's what science is all about. There is never a "right" answer, only better and better approximations to reality. No matter what, a significant fraction of answers currently on the site will be superseded or made obsolete in the next few decades (reaction mechanisms, chemical/physical standards, experimental setups, industrial processes, etc); all knowledge has a half-life.
Even when something is superseded, that in no way means the prior information is now useless, especially if we emphasise the journey rather than the destination. Therefore, instead of giving answers like:
- "this molecule is the highest, see ref here"
, we should gravitate towards something like:
- "as of 2018, this molecule is the highest known. It makes extensive use of properties X, Y and Z. Property X seems to be at its limit, but it may be possible to exploit Y and Z further. An intuitive argument suggests there must be an upper limit, and detailed theoretical analysis confirms that there can be no example which is twice more than the current experimental limit"
Also, from a purely practical standpoint, the allowance of "extreme" questions immediately provides a huge pool of topics to explore, along with the chemistry within them.
I know there's already been some discussion on this and I wasn't around for it, so I apologise if my arguments have been raised and refuted previously. I am happy to take criticism.