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Archive for the ‘chemistry’ category: Page 3

May 10, 2019

Ancient Neutron-Star Crash Made Enough Gold and Uranium to Fill Earth’s Oceans

Posted by in categories: chemistry, cosmology

Enough gold, uranium and other heavy elements about equal in mass to all of Earth’s oceans likely came to the solar system from the collision of two neutron stars billions of years ago, a new study finds.

If the same event were to happen today, the light from the explosion would outshine the entire night sky, and potentially prove disastrous for life on Earth, according to the new study’s researchers.

Recent findings have suggested that much of the gold and other elements heavier than iron on the periodic table was born in the catastrophic aftermath of colliding neutron stars, which are the ultradense cores of stars left behind after supernova explosions.

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May 9, 2019

Reversible chemistry clears path for safer batteries

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy, military

Researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD) and US Army Research Lab (ARL) have taken a critical step on the path to high energy batteries by improving their water-in-salt battery with a new type of chemical transformation of the cathode that creates a reversible solid salt layer, a phenomenon yet unknown in the field of water-based batteries.

Building on their previous discoveries of the water-in-salt electrolytes reported in Science in 2015, the researchers added a new cathode. This new cathode material, lacking , operates at an average potential of 4.2 volts with excellent cycling stability, and delivers an unprecedented comparable, or perhaps higher than, non-aqueous Li-ion batteries. The authors report their work on May 9 in the journal Nature.

“The University of Maryland and ARL research has produced the most creative new chemistry I have seen in at least 10 years,” said Prof. Jeffrey Dahn of Dalhousie University in Canada, an expert in the field not affiliated with the research. “However, it remains to be seen if a practical device with long lifetime can be created.”

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May 8, 2019

Broccoli sprout compound may restore brain chemistry imbalance linked to schizophrenia

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, neuroscience

In a series of recently published studies using animals and people, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have further characterized a set of chemical imbalances in the brains of people with schizophrenia related to the chemical glutamate. And they figured out how to tweak the level using a compound derived from broccoli sprouts.

They say the results advance the hope that supplementing with broccoli sprout extract, which contains high levels of the chemical sulforaphane, may someday provide a way to lower the doses of traditional antipsychotic medicines needed to manage symptoms, thus reducing unwanted side effects of the medicines.

“It’s possible that future studies could show sulforaphane to be a safe supplement to give people at risk of developing schizophrenia as a way to prevent, delay or blunt the onset of symptoms,” adds Akira Sawa, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Johns Hopkins Schizophrenia Center.

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May 7, 2019

Scientists pinpoint potential new target for regulating inflammation

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, evolution, neuroscience

Scientists from Trinity College Dublin have discovered a potential new target for regulating inflammation, which drives a range of diseases including diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s. The potential target is an ancient immune protein—SARM—that has been conserved throughout evolution and thus is very similar in humans, other mammals, flies and worms.

The scientists, from Trinity’s School of Biochemistry and Immunology based at the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI), discovered a previously unknown but important role that SARM plays in the . Their work has been published today in the prestigious journal Immunity.

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May 7, 2019

Here’s why scientists think discovering aliens is inevitable and imminent

Posted by in categories: alien life, chemistry

Amino acids, just like those that make up every protein in our bodies, have been found in the tails of comets.


Because, following a string of remarkable discoveries over the past two decades, the idea of alien life is not as far-fetched as it used to seem.

Discovery now seems inevitable and possibly imminent.

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Apr 24, 2019

Controlling instabilities gives closer look at chemistry from hypersonic vehicles

Posted by in categories: chemistry, engineering, transportation

While studying the chemical reactions that occur in the flow of gases around a vehicle moving at hypersonic speeds, researchers at the University of Illinois used a less-is-more method to gain greater understanding of the role of chemical reactions in modifying unsteady flows that occur in the hypersonic flow around a double-wedge shape.

“We reduced the pressure by a factor of eight, which is something experimentalists couldn’t do,” said Deborah Levin, researcher in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “In an actual chamber, they tried to reduce the pressure but couldn’t reduce it that much because the apparatuses are designed to operate within a certain region. They couldn’t operate it if the pressure was too low. When we reduced the pressure in the simulation, we found that the instabilities in the calmed down. We still had a lot of the kind of vortical structure—separation bubbles and swirls—they were still there. But the data were more tractable, more understandable in terms of their time variation.”

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Apr 24, 2019

Polymer reversibly glows white when stretched

Posted by in categories: chemistry, materials

Researchers at the University of Fribourg’s Adolphe Merkle Institute (AMI) and Hokkaido University in Japan have developed a method to tailor the properties of stress-indicating molecules that can be integrated into polymers and signal damages or excessive mechanical loads with an optical signal.

As part of their research activities within the National Center of Competence in Research Bio-inspired Materials, Professor Christoph Weder, the chair of Polymer Chemistry and Materials at AMI, and his team are investigating polymers that change their color or characteristics when placed under mechanical load. The prevailing approach to achieve this function is based on specifically designed sensor that contain weak chemical bonds that break when the applied mechanical force exceeds a certain threshold. This effect can cause a color change or other pre-defined responses. A fundamental limitation of this approach, however, is that the weak bonds can also break upon exposure to light or heat. This lack of specificity reduces the practical usefulness of stress-indicating polymers. It normally also makes the effect irreversible.

Addressing this problem, Weder and Dr. Yoshimitsu Sagara—a Japanese researcher who spent two years in Weder’s group at AMI before joining Hokkaido University as an Assistant Professor—devised a new type of sensor molecule that can only be activated by mechanical force. Unlike in previous force-transducing molecules, no chemical bond breaking takes place. Instead, the new sensor molecules consist of two parts that mechanically interlock. This interconnection prevents the separation of the two parts, while still allowing them to be pushed together or pulled away from each other. Such molecular pushing and pulling causes the molecule’s fluorescence to change from off to on.

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Apr 18, 2019

Dr. Doris Taylor — Texas Heart Institute — IdeaXme — Ira Pastor — “How to Build a New Heart”

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, aging, bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, cryonics, DNA, genetics, health, life extension

Apr 17, 2019

Scientists detect the oldest type of molecule in the universe

Posted by in categories: chemistry, cosmology, particle physics

Back in the ancient universe, shortly after the Big Bang, the first atoms formed out of free particles. Only light elements like hydrogen and helium could form at high temperatures, but as the universe cooled, those atoms turned into every single thing we see in our world today. And now, scientists have spotted the type of molecule that formed the very first time two atoms combined.

Theories have predicted for decades that the first molecule that could form would be between the first two elements: hydrogen and helium. But the “helium hydride” molecule, as it’s known, had never been spotted before, Gizmodo explained. This led to some doubt as to whether this theory could even be true. But thanks to a modified Boeing 747 dubbed SOFIA, or Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, we have finally detected the elusive molecule in a far-off nebula called NGC 7027.

Now that it’s confirmed that the universe is capable of forming the helium hydride molecule naturally, this knowledge is helping astronomers better understand how the universe worked in the time just after the Big Bang. The research, published on Wednesday in the journal Nature, has made sense of the “dawn of chemistry,” the authors state. Read more about this exciting find at Gizmodo. Shivani Ishwar.

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Apr 16, 2019

Inside Arzeda’s synthetic biology lab, where industrial ingredients are brewed like beer

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, chemistry

Alexandre Zanghellini can’t help but think about what makes up the world around him. Sitting in a conference room, Zanghellini considered the paint on the walls, the table, the window shades, the plastic chairs. It’s all oil.

“The entire world is made from oil. We just don’t realize it,” he said.

Zanghellini’s job, as the CEO of Seattle-based synthetic biology company Arzeda, is to reconsider how we make the basic molecules that go into anything and everything in the human world. And he has a bias for processes that use living organisms. “The tools of biology, proteins, are better at doing chemistry than chemists,” he said.

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