space refers to the combinatorial and
configurational space spanned by all possible molecules (i.e.
those combination of atoms allowed by the rules of valence in
energetically stable spatial arrangements). It is estimated that the
total number of possible small organic molecules populating chemistry
space could exceed 1060
— a number that exceeds the total number of atoms in the known
universe, and is vastly greater than the number of molecules that
have actually been isolated or synthesized.
Although we often see isolated water molecules in textbooks, in reality they rarely exist as hermits. They are not only small but hydrogen-bonded to one another, as if an oxygen atom of one water particle coveted the hydrogen atoms of neighboring molecules. But this summer(2011), Japanese researchers from Kyoto University published that they had performed the feat of imprisoning one single molecule of water. They synthesized an open-cage C60 derivative, one whose opening could be made bigger at 120 oC, and then at high pressure , a single H2O molecule was admitted. The cage was closed, and H2O was trapped.
From a single symptom such as fever, it is impossible to diagnose a disease. Similarly, the opposite-leaf characteristic alone will not help anyone classify a plant. But throw in a stem with a square cross section, fragrant leaves and flowers with an upper and lower lip, and you probably have a member of the mint family.
Wizards exist in real life, beyond the films and books of Harry Potter. They cook willow bark extract in car battery acid and wood alcohol and convert it into a pleasant-smelling component of candy or of a rubbing compound. In their glassware, petroleum products turn into life-saving medicines.
Thirty years ago, my analytical chemistry professor who had ties to the metallurgical industry asked my lab instructor to select a student to work at a copper refinery for the summer. My friend Lionel had been their first choice, but he already had a summer job with Alcan----and I was next on their list.
A home invader was masked, gloved and meticulous enough to vacuum and scrub the victim's apartment so as not to leave any hair or skin cells for forensic analysis. The vacuum bag was not left behind. He had used the toilet to urinate but brushed the bowl for five minutes. And he subsequently flushed two or three more times.
There is usually no DNA present in urine, but it was possible that the burglar was unaware of the fact. And few men realize how much splashing urinating actually causes when one urinates while standing. The side of the counter next to the bowl was stained with a few black spots. Laboratory analysis revealed that the spots were not mold but contained urea and dark brown products derived from homogentisic acid.
There are rules in making presentations to people - in wine sales, for example, as we outlined in The Science Of Wine And Cheese, you buy on bread and sel on cheese because eating cheese is the way people get the most positive taste. In science, if the audience wants to be inspired, talk about large motion in space and show Hubble pictures. If they like the 'physics is soooo weird' kind of science, go small. There are always strange and unexpected things at the nanoscale, even for the most common materials such as water.
When an innovative explanation comes along in science, years or decades can go by before a confirming set of experiments turns the corner. One example that does not get written about as often as "continental drift" and general relativity is from the realm of molecular biology.
Aside from elucidating DNA's structure on April 25, 1953 in Nature, Watson and Crick also wrote,
If the sequence of bases on one DNA chain is given, then the sequence on the other chain is automatically determined.
Matter and energy surround every human brain and its sensory extensions. Work is done on the entire variety of atoms. Despite our limited reception and distorted perception, our five senses receive some useful shadow of the interplay between photons and electrons. But when the senses are grouped according to whether they interact primarily with energy or matter, we become aware of a truth we may have already known intuitively: touch is special.
Sight and hearing can be grouped together because they deal with energy. Visible light propagates its way through outer space, exciting atoms of our atmosphere, land and seas. Photons of different frequencies known as colors then reach the back of our eyes.
I was catching up on chemistry news over the lunch hour and discovered this little gelatinous gem
:New Strategy for Expression of Recombinant Hydroxylated Human-Derived Gelatin in
Pichia pastoris KM71
You're wiggling and jiggling with excitement, right?
For those staring blankly at the title, wondering what caught my eye, it's the "human-derived gelatin" part. A quick search turned up a blogosphere all aflutter at the news of a human-based bowl of Jello in our snack-pack future.Mmm, ground-up animal-derived collagen for my afternoon snack