Posts

May 03, 2015

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12:19 PM | This Week in Chemistry – Bombardier Beetle Spray, & Cutting Food Salt Levels
Here’s the weekly summary of both new chemistry research and studies that have been in the news. This week features how leafcutter ants combat parasites using chemistry, the development of a new emulsion which could help cut salt levels in food, and more. As always, links to further articles and original research papers are provided below, as […]
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7:02 AM | 'Big Bang' de Simon Singht [Reseña]
Decía Richard Dawkins en el postfacio del libro Un universo de la nada de Lawrence Krauss que «nada expande la mente como el universo en expansión». Y es así en casi todos los sentidos con la salvedad de que nosotros no nos expandimos. No hay nada mejor para estimular nuestra mente que leer. Leer, leer y leer, cualquier cosa, pero si es buena ciencia mejor. Olvidaos de esas técnicas de relajación para vaciar la mente. ¡Estamos […]

May 02, 2015

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7:00 PM | The Reason Behind the Blog Name - 30 Day Science Blog Challenge (Day 2)
Every blog name/title has a story behind it; some maybe more interesting than others. After I decided that I wanted to start a science website, I had to choose a name. at the time, I had hopes that my blog would be more chemistry driven therefore I chose a chemistry related title. The name Crystals and Catalysts was derived from two things: Crystals, from the most common product chemists make in the laboratory and also the most intriguing, […]
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7:17 AM | 30 Day Science Blog Challenge - Day 1
There are so many challenges similar to this to other niches of blogs, but not for science blogs. So I have decided to make one for science bloggers. The aim of the 30 day challenge is to post every day for the next 30 days with the topics given in the infographic below. They are light, fun topics where you'll be able to get to know me more and more abut my blog and other thoughts too.So I am starting the 30 day science blogging challenge as of 1st May 2015 till 30th May 2015! If your a science […]
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6:22 AM | Researchers probe chemistry, topography and mechanics with one instrument
The probe of an atomic force microscope (AFM) scans a surface to reveal details at a resolution 1,000 times greater than that of an optical microscope. That makes AFM the premier tool for analyzing physical features, but it cannot tell scientists anything about chemistry. For that they turn to the mass spectrometer. Now, scientists have combined these cornerstone capabilities into one instrument that can probe a sample in three dimensions and overlay information about the topography of its […]

May 01, 2015

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11:21 PM | Quite a funny little preprint has popped up on biorXiv today,...
Quite a funny little preprint has popped up on biorXiv today, from Scott Federhen, head of the GenBank taxonomy group at the US National Centre for Biological Information (NCBI). At first I thought a crank had somehow gotten through the academic screening process (you never know when only a Gmail is supplied for the corresponding author), but Scott seems well qualified to take what he calls this “flight of fancy”, as a senior bioinformatician at NCBI. It’s hard to tell if […]
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6:27 PM | Weird: deaths from hydrocarbons?
What is that plume showing, anyway?Credit: Wall Street JournalBusy day today (obviously), but I wanted to note this chemical mystery from the Wall Street Journal from a while back in an article entitled "Why Did These Oil Workers Die?" by Alexandra Berzon:The deaths of Trent Vigus and at least nine other oil-field workers over the past five years had haunting similarities. Each worker was doing a job that involved climbing on top of a catwalk strung between rows of storage tanks and […]
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1:30 PM | 2nd Annual Lions Talk Science Blog Award: Accepting Submissions Now!
Why is tanning dangerous? How does color perception differ between men and women? How do our brains filter out unimportant information, like the sound of the air conditioner whirring? These are just a few of our students’ most recent posts that inspired this year’s award theme. In celebration of the blog’s 2nd birthday (today!), we’re thrilled to…
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11:30 AM | New use for fire blankets
Posted on the ACS Division of Chemical Health & Saf […]Related Posts:UK chemistry graduate student poisoned by thallium, arsenicLab worker dies in incident at Texas A&M University at…UC Davis chemist arrested on explosives chargesChemical and laboratory safety at #ACSPhillyAcademic lab safety: One chemist’s observations
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8:23 AM | Healthy green coffee
Last month I reported on research into “green” coffee for SpectroscopyNOW. From a quick glance at the reader statistics it looks like it was one of my most popular articles in recent months. What is it about coffee? We’re fascinated… Anyway, the story discussed how unroasted, green, coffee beans have become a popular alternative to […]Healthy green coffee is a post from the science blog of science journalist, photographer and musician David Bradley Subscribe […]
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8:23 AM | The Labour vote in Scotland and the SNP effect
With the election less than a week away, I have been thinking about what may or may not happen in Scotland regarding the Labour vote and the possibility that the SNP will take Labour seats. I say the ‘possibility’ because I don’t take opinion polls too seriously, as discussed in my last post! Just over … Continue reading The Labour vote in Scotland and the SNP effect →
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7:58 AM | Acetone Breath and Diabetes
Although part of normal metabolism, this simple ketone can become deadly in diabetics. Acetone, usually grouped as one of the ketone bodies, can be used as a source of energy when levels of glucose drop. This usually occurs overnight or following a few hours without eating, when the body consumes all available glucose and switches [...]
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6:07 AM | Publication of the week, number 75, 1st May 2015
Following on from styrene production with the new rhodium catalyst is this week’s ASAP, still dealing with styrene, but this time making it from glucose, not benzene. In the area of synthetic biology Balskus & Wallace from Harvard report a biocompatible iron(III) phthalocyanine catalyst capable of efficient olefin cyclopropanation and can be employed within a living system. So the … Continue reading Publication of the week, number 75, 1st May 2015 →

April 30, 2015

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8:40 PM | Engineering a better solar cell: Research pinpoints defects in popular perovskites
A new study demonstrates that perovskite materials, generally believed to be uniform in composition, actually contain flaws that can be engineered to improve solar devices even further.
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8:30 PM | Quantum-mechanical monopoles discovered
Researchers have observed a point-like monopole in a quantum field itself for the first time. This discovery connects to important characteristics of the elusive monopole magnet.
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6:19 PM | A Guide to Common Household Plastics
Plastic is everywhere in our day to day lives – but, of course, ‘plastic’ is just a catch-all term for a range of different chemical substances. This graphic takes a look at some of the more common plastics we encounter on a regular basis, and examines their chemical structures. Below, we’ll also talk a little about […]
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4:02 PM | Living Hinges
One mechanical entity that is almost exclusively limited to being constructed from polymers is a "living hinge". Trying to describe a living hinge can be difficult, so let me provide a few pictures of living hinges you might have around the house:What American home doesn't have a ketchup bottle or two?Fish sauce bottleThe common feature in all cases is that there is a thin strip of the polymer that provides a flexible, continuous (usually) hinge between two other more substantial parts. Trying […]
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3:41 PM | Ceremonies are usually held in honor of people or events, but...
Ceremonies are usually held in honor of people or events, but today, April 30, a ceremony is being held for a curve. It’s not just any old curve, though; it’s the curve that woke the world up to the dangers of climate change. Since 1957, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels have been measured at Mauna Loa in Hawaii, a project started by Charles Keeling. The curve part of Keeling’s data is what caught people’s attention, because it was moving in one direction only: up. […]
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3:19 PM | Bleg: reactions that show conservation of mass?
I was talking with a middle school teacher that is looking for a reaction that is more interesting than "vinegar plus baking soda" that demonstrates conservation of mass in an interesting fashion. So, we're looking for:A synthetic reaction that demonstrates conservation of mass (yes, they all do.)This will be done in a school, so the ingredients need to be readily available (purchased at a supermarket, not at a lab supply house.)The ingredients need to be relatively non-toxic.Color changes, […]
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3:09 PM | For batteries, one material does it all
Engineers have created a battery that is made entirely out of one material, which can both move electricity and store it.
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1:33 PM | Why, and how, computational research matters is changing materials science
To stay competitive, businesses and governments are constantly looking for materials that will open the door to new technologies or sources of energy. Materials that will make their products faster, lighter, stronger or more efficient. Whoever develops those materials first will have a significant edge over the competition.
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1:22 PM | No Hogwarts invitation required: Invisibility cloaks move into the real-life classroom
A new solid-state device can demonstrate the physical principles of invisibility cloaks without special equipment or magic spells.
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12:15 PM | Photonic thermometers: Out of the lab, into a bucket of water
A new class of tiny chip-based thermometers has the potential to revolutionize the way temperature is gauged.
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12:09 PM | Detecting effects of 3D shapes in nanoscale chip features
Researchers have determined that, at the ultra-small scale of the latest chip features, SEM measurements are strongly affected by variations in the gate's three-dimensional shape that can occur in the course of fabrication, including the line width and center position, the angle formed by a raised feature?s sidewalls, the curvature radius of the top edge area, and the effect of adjacent structures.
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8:37 AM | Desirable defects in liquid crystals
Introducing flaws into liquid crystals by inserting microspheres and then controlling them with electrical fields: that, in a nutshell, is the rationale behind a method that could be exploited for a new generation of advanced materials, potentially useful for optical technologies, electronic displays and e-readers.
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8:04 AM | Earthquake in Nepal
A cutting from the Nepalese government website for the National Seismological Centre dated 2011: “From the available data there has been no great earthquakes of magnitude >8.0 in the gap between the earthquakes of 1905 AD and 1934 AD and there is a real threat that a major earthquake may occur in this gap that […]Earthquake in Nepal is a post from the science blog of science journalist, photographer and musician David Bradley Subscribe to our Email Newsletter
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6:38 AM | Harnessing sunlight more effectively with nanoparticles
Computer simulations reveal why semiconductor microspheres containing metal nanoparticles are so effective at harnessing sunlight to accelerate chemical reactions.
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6:34 AM | Making magnetic hot spots with pairs of silicon nanocylinders
Shining visible light on two tiny silicon cylinders, or a 'nanodimer', placed just 30 nanometers apart, produces resonant hot spots for both the electric and magnetic fields.
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3:38 AM | A review of Philip Schewe's "Maverick Genius", a biography of Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson is a unique treasure; he is not only a brilliant and accomplished physicist who has made important contributions to an astonishingly diverse range of topics in physics and mathematics, but he is also one of the very few scientists around who can craft genuinely eloquent prose. His writing is simple, elegant, and enriched by the words of poets, historians and famous literary lights. Most importantly, Dyson evidences in his writings a quality that is extremely rare among scientists: […]

April 29, 2015

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6:53 PM | La petite histoire des billets de banque
Les manchettes scientifiques d’Ariel Fenster La manchette de la semaine dernière traitait de l'introduction de pièces de monnaie, surtout en argent, comme outil pour les échanges commerciaux. Celles-ci ont longtemps dominé les marchés, mais ont été à la longue remplacées par la monnaie en papier. […]
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