Better by Design

Better by Design

Avoiding undesirable traits from the start could help chemists make molecules less meddlesome

By Rachel Ehrenberg, 11:23 AM March 10, 2011

Chemistry is all about sparks — bonds break, beakers bubble, reactions rule. But a growing number of researchers are obsessed with chemistry’s quieter side. Rather than vigor and vim, they seek a calm predictability.

These scientists are calling for a new approach to chemical design: They want compounds that do one job well — whether rubber that bounces back or nail polish that shines — but the action needs to end there. No multitasking, thank you very much.

Many of today’s chemicals — i...

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