Chemistry

This week I participated in a Social Media Day at NIST. During my talk I provided an overview of our current work in using Web2.0 tools for doing Open Notebook Science in fields related to chemical synthesis and drug discovery.
This week I participated in a Social Media Day at NIST. During my talk I provided an overview of our current work in using Web2.0 tools for doing Open Notebook Science in fields related to chemical synthesis and drug discovery.

During my talks I generally try to place our work in context and give the audience a sense of where I see science evolving. I often start with the increasingly important role of openness and at some point follow up with this slide showing the shift of scientific communication from human-to-human to machine-to-machine.
People said it couldn't be done, but researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in Pittsburgh demonstrated a molecular chain reaction on a metal surface - a single electron caused a self-perpetuating chain reaction that rearranged the bonds in 10 consecutive molecules positioned on a gold surface. As each molecule's original bond was broken by the reaction, the molecule rearranged itself to form a new molecule.
Imagine tiny cracks in your patio table healing by themselves, or the first small scratch on your new car disappearing by itself. This and more may be possible with self-healing coatings being developed at the University of Illinois. 

The new coatings are designed to better protect materials from the effects of environmental exposure. Applications range from automotive paints and marine varnishes to the thick, rubbery coatings on patio furniture and park benches. 

In developing a model to explain the motion of atoms in a magnetic field, scientists have overcome a decades-old obstacle to understanding a key component of magnetic resonance.

The new understanding may eventually lead to better control of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and higher resolution MRI diagnoses.

Collaborators at Ohio State University in Columbus and three institutions in France--the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, the Université d'Orléans, and the Université de Lyon--presented their findings in a paper published in the Journal of Chemical Physics.

Research chemists at the University of Warwick have devised a process which covers small particles of polymer with a layer of silica-based nanoparticles and provides a versatile material that can be used to create a range of high performance materials - like self healing paints or even packaging that can be tailored to let precise levels of water, air or both pass in a particular direction.
Sandcastle worms live in intertidal surf, building sturdy tube-shaped homes from bits of sand and shell and their own natural glue. University of Utah bioengineers have made a synthetic version of this seaworthy superglue, and hope it will be used within several years to repair shattered bones in knees, other joints and the face.

"You would glue some of the small pieces together," says Russell Stewart, associate professor of bioengineering and senior author of the study to be published online within a week in the journal Macromolecular Biosciences.
In the future, polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) could be made from natural raw materials such as sugars, alcohols or fatty acids.

PMMA is a synthetic plastic developed in 1928 and today produced in great quantities. While PMMA is often known colloquially as acrylic glass, as it is mainly used as a shatterproof, lightweight alternative to glass - for example, in protective goggles or vehicle lights. PMMA has many applications, including prosthetics, paints and adhesives.
Computers are getting smaller and smaller and as hand-held devices like mobile phones and music players get more powerful the race is on to develop memory formats that can satisfy the ever-growing demand for information storage on those tiny formats.

Current memory technologies fall into three separate groups: dynamic random access memory (DRAM), which is the cheapest method; static random access memory (SRAM), which is the fastest memory — but both DRAM and SRAM require an external power supply to retain data; and flash memory, which is non-volatile — it does not need a power supply to retain data, but has slower read-write cycles than DRAM.
Chemistry researchers at The University of Warwick and the John Innes Centre, have found a novel signalling molecule that could be a key that will open up hundreds of new antibiotics unlocking them from the DNA of the Streptomyces family of bacteria.