Chemistry

Researchers have unveiled a new way to use sunlight to produce steam and other vapors without heating an entire container of fluid to the boiling point. The research could lead to inexpensive, compact devices for purification of drinking water, sterilization of medical instruments and sanitizing sewage. 

Metallic nanoparticles - so small that 1,000 would fit across the width of a human hair - absorb large amounts of light, resulting in a dramatic rise in their temperature. That ability to generate heat has fostered interest among scientists in using nanoparticles in a range of applications. These include photothermal treatment of certain forms of cancer, laser-induced drug release and nanoparticle-enhanced bioimaging.

The Price Revolution in Europe, the runaway inflation that occurred during the years between 1515 to 1650, has been attributed to the sudden influx of silver from Mexico and Peru after discovery of the New World, which led to the decline in the value of of silver, and the growth of the European population and therefore competition for goods, which drove up prices.

The yeast used to make beer has yielded what may be the first gene for beer foam, CFG1, scientists are reporting in a new study. The discovery opens the door to new possibilities for improving the frothy "head" so critical to the aroma and eye appeal of the world's favorite alcoholic beverage, beer. And it gives Science 2.0 another reason to write about beer.

When temperatures get low, close to absolute zero, some chemical reactions still occur at a much higher rate than classical chemistry says they should – in that extreme chill, quantum effects enter the picture. Researchers have now confirmed this experimentally, providing insight into processes in the intriguing quantum world in which particles act as waves and perhaps also explaining how chemical reactions occur in the vast frigid regions of interstellar space.

If you, like me, are possessed with that gene that makes people eat the whole bag of chips (don't laugh - somewhere in that 100,000 words of ENCODE public relations blitzing, I saw it), there is good news; not all of science is busy curing cancer and solving the big mysteries of the universe.
I'm not much of a drinker, never have been. I have always assumed it was because I did competitive athletics until I was about 25, which means I was outside the age where you 'learn' to like the taste of alcohol, so I never picked it up.

Older now, I can drink a beer socially and I sometimes drink a glass of red wine because the consensus says it is good for you in moderation, but I am still not really a drinker.

The world wastes 1.3 billion tons of food per year.  If only scientists could create a "biorefinery" that could change food waste into a key ingredient for making plastics, laundry detergents and scores of other everyday products.  Because wasting less food would just be crazy talk.

The food biorefinery process involves blending the waste foods with a mixture of fungi that excrete enzymes to break down carbohydrates in the food into simple sugars. The blend then goes into a fermenter, a vat where bacteria convert the sugars into succinic acid. Succinic acid is one of those key materials that can be produced from sugars and that could be used to make high-value products - everything from laundry detergents to plastics to medicines.

Viscous materials do not follow standard laws - below a sub-melting point threshold, anyway. 

Glass-formers are a class of highly viscous liquid materials that have the consistency of honey and turn into brittle glass once cooled to sufficiently low temperatures. Researchers have examined the behavior of these materials as they are on the verge of turning into glass.  Although science does not yet thoroughly understand their behavior when approaching the glassy state, the new study relies on an additional type of dynamic measurements and clearly shows that they do not behave like more simple fluids, referred to as "activated" fluids. This is contrary to recent reports.
Even though arsenic is toxic for many organs in the human body, it is used in therapeutic medicine and the treatment of some forms of cancer, and is an active component of drugs against parasitic diseases.
A new study shows that ursolic acid, a natural substance found in apple peel, can partially protect mice from obesity and some of its harmful effects.