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  • News

    The secret to icky, sticky bacterial biofilms lies in the microbes’ cellulose

    To build resilient colonies, bacteria make a surprising tweak to a common substance found in cells.

    A  biochemical addition to the cellulose produced by E. coli and other species of bacteria lets them create colonies that are resistant to disruption, researchers report in the Jan. 19 Science. Called biofilms, these microbial colonies can form on medical devices or inside the body,...

    01/18/2018 - 14:31 Microbes, Chemistry
  • News

    Ultrathin 2-D metals get their own periodic table

    A new version of the periodic table showcases the predicted properties of 2-D metals, an obscure class of synthetic materials.

    Arrayed in 1-atom-thick sheets, most of these 2-D metals have yet to be seen in the real world. So Janne Nevalaita and Pekka Koskinen, physicists at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, simulated 2-D materials of 45 metallic elements, ranging from lithium to...

    01/17/2018 - 16:34 Materials, Physics, Chemistry
  • News

    Electric eels provide a zap of inspiration for a new kind of power source

    New power sources bear a shocking resemblance to the electricity-making organs inside electric eels.

    These artificial electric eel organs are made up of water-based polymer mixes called hydrogels. Such soft, flexible battery-like devices, described online December 13 in Nature, could power soft robots or next-gen wearable and implantable tech.

    “It’s a very smart approach” to...

    12/13/2017 - 13:22 Technology, Chemistry, Materials
  • News

    A potential drug found in a sea creature can now be made efficiently in the lab

    A seaweed-like marine invertebrate contains a molecule that has piqued interest as a drug but is in short supply: Collecting 14 tons of the critters, a type of bryozoan, yields just 18 grams of the potential medicine. Now, an efficient lab recipe might make bryostatin 1 easier to get.

    Making more of the molecule could help scientists figure out whether the drug — which has shown mixed...

    10/12/2017 - 17:47 Chemistry, Biomedicine, Clinical Trials
  • News

    Chemistry Nobel Prize goes to 3-D snapshots of life’s atomic details

    An imaging technique that freezes tiny biological objects such as proteins and viruses in place so that scientists can peer into their structures at the scale of atoms has won its developers the 2017 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

    Jacques Dubochet of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, Joachim Frank of Columbia University and Richard Henderson of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology...

    10/04/2017 - 18:08 Chemistry
  • Feature

    Chong Liu one-ups plant photosynthesis

    Chong Liu, 30Inorganic chemistUCLA

    For Chong Liu, asking a scientific question is something like placing a bet: You throw all your energy into tackling a big and challenging problem with no guarantee of a reward. As a student, he bet that he could create a contraption that photosynthesizes like a leaf on a tree — but better. For the now 30-year-old chemist, the gamble is paying off.

    ...
    10/04/2017 - 13:48 Chemistry, Sustainability, Materials
  • Science Ticker

    Cool way to peer into molecules’ inner workings wins chemistry Nobel Prize

    An imaging technique that lets scientists capture 3-D views of proteins, viruses and other molecules at the atomic scale has won its developers the 2017 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

    Jacques Dubochet of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, Joachim Frank of Columbia University and Richard Henderson of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge will share the prize, the Royal...

    10/04/2017 - 08:04 Chemistry, Technology
  • News in Brief

    Radioactive material from Fukushima disaster turns up in a surprising place

    Six years after the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster in Japan, radioactive material is leaching into the Pacific Ocean from an unexpected place. Some of the highest levels of radioactive cesium-137, a major by-product of nuclear power generation, are now found in the somewhat salty groundwater beneath sand beaches tens of kilometers away, a new study shows.

    Scientists tested for...

    10/02/2017 - 15:30 Pollution, Chemistry
  • The Science Life

    What Curiosity has yet to tell us about Mars

    View the video

    After five years on Mars, the Curiosity rover is an old pro at doing science on the Red Planet. Since sticking its landing on August 5, 2012, NASA’s Little Robot That Could has learned a lot about its environs.

    Its charge was simple: Look for signs that Gale crater, a huge impact basin with a mountain at its center, might once have been habitable (for microbes, not...

    08/04/2017 - 16:29 Planetary Science, Chemistry, Robotics
  • News

    Borrowed genes give mums the blues

    Mums are now a flower of a different color. Japanese researchers have added a hint of clear sky to the humble plant’s palette, genetically engineering the first-ever “true blue” chrysanthemum.

    “Obtaining blue-colored flowers is the Holy Grail for plant breeders,” says Mark Bridgen, a plant breeder at Cornell University. The results are “very exciting.”

    Compounds called delphinidin-...

    07/26/2017 - 15:45 Plants, Genetics, Chemistry