Chemistry

 By simply manipulating chemical gradients in a beaker of fluid, researchers have been able to create delicate flower structures -  not at the scale of inches, but microns.

These minuscule sculptures don't resemble the cubic or jagged forms normally associated with crystals, though that's what they are. Rather, fields of carnations and marigolds seem to bloom from the surface of a submerged glass slide, assembling themselves a molecule at a time.


The most powerful batteries on earth are only a few millimeters in size but a cellphone version can jump-start a dead car battery and then recharge the phone in the blink of an eye. 

Led by Professor William P. King, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign show that the new microbatteries out-power even the best supercapacitors and could drive new applications in radio communications and compact electronics.


Harry Wilson was far more than a textpert-college chemistry teacher. Despite his different approach towards teaching, his students did at least as well as everyone else on CEGEP finals (junior college in Quebec equivalent to AP and freshman courses), which featured a blend of number-crunching and conceptual questions. But many came out of his courses with more important skills. They learned to design experiments and how to solve problems within a laboratory context.

A traditional Balkan bedbug remedy has been shown stab and trap the biting insects, according to a paper in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

Just in time, too. Bedbugs have made a dramatic comeback in the U.S. in recent years, infesting everything from homes and hotels to schools, movie theaters and hospitals. Although not known to transmit disease, their bites can cause burning, itching, swelling and psychological distress. It helps to catch infestations early, but the nocturnal parasites' ability to hide almost anywhere, breed rapidly and "hitchhike" from place to place makes detection difficult. They can survive as long as a year without a blood meal.


New research hopes to create reactions necessary for industries such as pharmaceutical companies but eliminate the resulting waste from traditional methods. 

Traditional methods – dating back thousands of years – involve using solutions to speed up chemical reactions that are used to make products that we use every day. However, the leftover waste or solvents can often be a volatile compound.

Disposal and recycling is also becoming a growing and more costly challenge for companies as they follow increasing federal environmental regulations.

If objects from space kindled life on Earth, how did it happen?

The terrestrial or extra-terrestrial case for important ingredients that led to the building blocks of life is a hot debate. A new paper says that  adenosine triphosphate, similar to what is now found in all living cells and vital for generating the energy that makes something alive, could have been created when meteorites containing phosphorus minerals landed in hot, acidic pools of liquids around volcanoes, which were likely to have been common across the early Earth.


Bodily fluids contain lots of information about the health of people, that is why medical doctors routinely have blood and urine analyzed.

But bodily fluids can do more than mark infectious diseases or cancer and organ failure, researchers at ETH Zurich and at the University Hospital Zurich have shown they can take advantage of modern high-resolution analytical methods to provide real-time information on the chemical composition of exhaled breath.

Yes, your breath has an identifiable individual chemical pattern. Call it a a 'breathprint'? 


Montreal Gazette article about toxins in food by Joe Schwarcz, McGill 's Director of the Office for Science and Society, reminds me of a line in the movie Hitch,
Since today is a celebration of St. Patrick, the religious figure who 'drove the snakes out of Ireland' (meaning Paganism), a whole lot of people got drunk last night.  

Yeah, Protestants getting drunk the night before before a Catholic religious festival makes as much sense as anything else about St. Patrick's Day. In addition, kids in California get something magical in their shoes, which puzzles me too. I never heard of that when I was a kid but the rural area I grew up in was a delightful mix of people descended from residents of Scotland and Eastern Europe so there weren't a lot of magical pots of gold lying around - if an Irishman came along asking about our shoes the reply was going to be sent at muzzle velocity.