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  • News

    Speeding up evolution to create useful proteins wins the chemistry Nobel

    Techniques that put natural evolution on fast-forward to build new proteins in the lab have earned three scientists this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry.

    Frances Arnold of Caltech won for her method of creating customized enzymes for biofuels, environmentally friendly detergents and other products. She becomes the fifth woman to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry since it was first awarded...

    10/03/2018 - 18:46 Chemistry, Microbiology
  • Science Ticker

    Speeding up the evolution of proteins wins the chemistry Nobel

    Frances Arnold of Caltech, George Smith of the University of Missouri in Columbia and Gregory Winter of the University of Cambridge have won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for speeding up evolution to make proteins with new and useful properties. Such proteins are suitable for a variety of uses, ranging from new drugs to biofuels. The new laureates were announced October 3 at the Royal Swedish...

    10/03/2018 - 07:37 Chemistry
  • Feature

    Emily Balskus uses chemical logic to study the microbiome

    Emily Balskus, 38Chemistry and microbiologyHarvard University

    Chemist Emily Balskus of Harvard University is out to expose the crimes and misdemeanors of microbes living in the human gut. She’s shown, for example, how a common gut bacterium interferes with a heart failure treatment: The microbe breaks down the medication before the drug can do its job.

    Balskus, 38, originally...

    09/26/2018 - 08:34 Microbiology, Chemistry, Health
  • Feature

    Joaquín Rodríguez-López designs batteries for a sustainable energy future

    Joaquín Rodríguez-López, 35ElectrochemistryUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Joaquín Rodríguez-López was jolted into the world of electrochemistry. When he realized in college that he could hook up a machine to some wires and transform chemicals into energy, he was “completely sold,” he says.

    Today, he’s tackling one big obstacle to expanding affordable renewable energy on...

    09/26/2018 - 08:29 Chemistry
  • News

    A new antibiotic uses sneaky tactics to kill drug-resistant superbugs

    Drug-resistant bacteria have a new challenger.

    A new molecule can kill deadly strains of common bacteria, such as Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumonia, that are resistant to most existing antibiotics. The drug works differently from currently available antibiotics, potentially making it harder for bacteria to develop resistance, researchers report September 12 in Nature.

    Most...

    09/12/2018 - 13:00 Chemistry, Biomedicine, Health
  • News in Brief

    How the poppy got its pain-relieving powers

    A draft of the poppy’s genetic instruction book is providing clues to how the plant evolved to produce molecules such as morphine.

    Scientists pieced together the genome of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). Then, they identified a cluster of 15 close-together genes that help the plant synthesize a group of chemically related compounds that includes powerful painkillers like morphine...

    08/30/2018 - 14:00 Evolution, Plants, Chemistry
  • Science Visualized

    See the ‘periodic table’ of molecular knots

    Like a scouting handbook for the molecular realm, a new chart reveals how to tie molecules up in knots of increasing complexity.

    Mathematicians have cataloged billions of distinct knot types, but researchers have been able to make only a few molecular versions. Scientists craft the minuscule knots using a solution filled with building blocks of curved strings of atoms, which glom onto...

    08/27/2018 - 07:00 Chemistry, Physics, Materials
  • News

    Lithium-oxygen batteries are getting an energy boost

    A new type of lithium-oxygen battery could pack more energy and last longer than its predecessors.

    Lithium-oxygen batteries, which are more energy-dense and made of more sustainable materials than typical lithium-ion cells, are promising candidates for the next generation of rechargeable batteries (SN: 1/21/17, p. 22). But lithium-oxygen batteries aren’t widely used yet because they die...

    08/23/2018 - 14:00 Chemistry, Technology
  • The –est

    Cheese found in an Egyptian tomb is at least 3,200 years old

    What may be the oldest known solid cheese has been found in an ancient Egyptian tomb.

    Made from a mixture of cow milk and either sheep or goat milk, the cheese filled a broken clay jar unearthed from a 13th century B.C. tomb for Ptahmes, the mayor of the ancient city of Memphis, researchers report online July 25 in Analytical Chemistry.

    Chemist Enrico Greco, who did the work while...

    08/17/2018 - 08:53 Science & Society, Archaeology, Chemistry
  • News in Brief

    A filter that turns saltwater into freshwater just got an upgrade

    Smoothing out the rough patches of a material widely used to filter saltwater could make producing freshwater more affordable, researchers report in the Aug. 17 Science.

    Desalination plants around the world typically strain salt out of seawater by pumping it through films made of polyamide — a synthetic polymer riddled with tiny pores that allow water molecules to squeeze through, but...

    08/16/2018 - 14:00 Materials, Chemistry, Sustainability