I'm teaching a one day workshop on chemical kinetics to high school students tomorrow (part of Bryn Mawr's Science for College program). The relationship of the rate of a reaction to it's mechanism (the individual steps that produce the overall molecular transformation) is a key principle underlying the study of chemical kinetics. To explain this, one text refers to the episode of "I Love Lucy" where Lucy and Ethel work in a candy factory (while Ricky and Fred try their hands at keeping house - but that's another post. The candy boxes appear only as fast as the slowest step in the process (Lucy and Ethel wrapping) - reactions go no faster than the slowest step, called the rate determing step (or RDS).
See the clip here.
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