OK, so the factoid about it being a by-product of the space race is completely wrong – but the true story behind its discovery is a lot more quirky. Get to grips with the non-stick chemistry behind PTFE in this week’s Chemistry in its element podcast.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

The results of this year’s National Student Survey, published today, show that the employment prospects for chemistry graduates are mixed. While around 80 per cent of chemistry graduates from ’top’ universities like Durham, Imperial and Oxford quickly find good jobs, the results are worse elsewhere. The figures appear to be worrying for the University of Edinburgh and University College London, from which only just over half of graduates were in appropriate level jobs six months after completing their courses. (more…)

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Fierce debate has erupted in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) over a phenomenon known as the anomeric effect. The controversy reminds us once again that while observations are usually verifiable, interpreting results is something all scientists need to play a part in. (more…)

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

18 July 2011: Have something to say about an article you’ve read on Chemistry World this week? Leave your comments below…

(more…)

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Coffee stain

© Free-Photo-Galler.org

I’m sure I’m not alone in having a few rings on my desk from mugs of coffee, but I never thought of the stains as being table top chromatography before. However, American chemists at the University of California have used the idea to perform size based particle separation. (more…)

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

soup

A suggested list of ingredients can be found in JACS

Last year we published a story about chemistry supporting the RNA world hypothesis, now the same researchers have backed up what they did, and made precursors of the other nucleobases from simple starting blocks.

Using some of the same simple starting materials as they did last year, plus simple aldehydes and hydrogen cyanide, Matthew Powner, John Sutherland and Jack Szostak made an intermediate in the production of purine ribonucleotides. Their chemistry is a one pot synthesis in water, and suggests the first plausible mechanism for prebiotic nucleotide production. (more…)

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Princess Leia

Will my 3D hologram be asking for help soon?

Lucasfilm Ltd

Science fiction can often inspire science and technology, from Star Trek’s sliding doors to erasing bad memories as in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Now a new display can allow ‘quasi-real time’ moving holograms, like the 3D communications of Star Wars fame.

This isn’t the first rewritable holographic display from Nasser Peyghambarian at the University of Arizona but this time he and his team have been able to refresh an image quickly. The new system can update the image approximately every 2 seconds, making the prospect of holographic 3D video calls tantalisingly close.

(more…)

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been bashing together nuclei again, but this time they were after lighter isotopes of previously discovered heavy elements.
Map of the isotopes and the fabled island of stability

The intrepid expedition towards the island of stability continues. Courtesy of Yuri Oganessian/Joint, Institute for Nuclear Research-Dubna

Many of the 20 strong team (who have published their results in the journal Physical Review Letters) were also involved in the confirmation of element 114 in September 2009, when the scientists made 286114 and 287114.


Traditionally element 114 has been viewed as an important goal for physicists because 298114 should be ‘doubly magic’, with both proton and neutron shells filled, but life’s never easy and other calculations suggest that the magic proton number should be 120 or 126 instead. The Berkley team have managed to make some heavier isotopes of 114 but it’s been hard work and the results haven’t been very stable. So instead of continually trying to add more neutrons to element 114 they decided to try and add less instead. (more…)

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)


End of Chemistry?

If the polymath Charles Babbage was alive, I don’t think he would have said this: ‘With completion of the periodic table, though, and with modern understanding of chemical bonds as quantum phenomena caused by the pairing of electrons of opposite spins, chemistry as an intellectual discipline looks, to the outsider at least, to have been largely solved.’ But the Babbage from the Economist certainly seems to think so.

(more…)

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Credit: ABC, AustraliaThis year the chemistry IgNobel prize was awarded to a team that proved oil and water don’t mix, the engineering IgNobel went for whale snot catching and the management IgNobel went to researchers who proved that organisations should promote people at random.

The celebration of science occurs annually with the announcement of the Nobel prizes. This is the time when science gets a lot of media coverage and scientists who have made a great impact on human lives are given their due recognition. At about the same time there is also a celebration of geeky humour that happens annually. It’s when the Annals of Improbable Research holds a party at Harvard University where real Nobel prize winners award the Ig Nobel prizes. These prizes are given to discoveries or inventions ‘that cannot, or should not, be reproduced’. (more…)

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)