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  • News

    A new 3-D printed ‘sponge’ sops up excess chemo drugs

    Bringing the filtering abilities of a fuel cell into the blood vessels of living organisms, a new device could cut down on toxic effects of cancer treatment.

    At the heart of this approach — recently tested in pigs — is a tiny, cylindrical “sponge” created by 3-D printing. Wedged inside a vein near a tumor being treated with chemotherapy, the sponge could absorb excess drug before it...

    01/15/2019 - 09:00 Cancer, Chemistry, Technology
  • News in Brief

    Your phone could reveal your radiation exposure after a nuclear disaster

    In the event of a nuclear attack or accident, personal electronics could be repurposed as radiation detectors.

    A ceramic insulator found in many devices, such as cell phones and fitness trackers, gives off a glow under high heat that reveals its past nuclear radiation exposure, researchers report in the February Radiation Measurements. That insight may allow experts to gauge someone’s...

    01/14/2019 - 06:00 Chemistry, Science & Society
  • Feature

    150 years on, the periodic table has more stories than it has elements

    Recognize these rows and columns? You may remember a detail or two about this mighty table’s organization from a long-ago chemistry class. Elements are ordered according to their number of protons, or atomic number. Metals are mostly to the left and nonmetals to the right. The column at the far right holds the noble gases, named for their general unwillingness to interact with other elements...

    01/08/2019 - 11:29 Chemistry, Physics
  • Essay

    How the periodic table went from a sketch to an enduring masterpiece

    Every field of science has its favorite anniversary.

    For physics, it’s Newton’s Principia of 1687, the book that introduced the laws of motion and gravity. Biology celebrates Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) along with his birthday (1809). Astronomy fans commemorate 1543, when Copernicus placed the sun at the center of the solar system.

    And for chemistry, no cause for...

    01/08/2019 - 11:29 Chemistry
  • Editor's Note

    The periodic table remains essential after 150 years

    It’s another raw day in St. Petersburg, Russia, but the man striding down the University Embankment along the Neva River isn’t pondering how the icy wind off the Gulf of Finland chills his bones or whether Emperor Alexander II’s reforms will increase salaries for professors like him. Instead, Dmitrii Mendeleev is imagining how he could reveal the chemical underpinnings of the universe...
    01/08/2019 - 07:15 History of Science, Chemistry
  • News in Brief

    A weird type of zirconium soaks up neutrons like a sponge

    When radiochemist Jennifer Shusterman and her colleagues got the first results of their experiment, no one expected what they saw: Atoms of a weird version of the element zirconium had enthusiastically absorbed neutrons.

    “People were quite surprised and we had lots of discussions,” says Shusterman, of Hunter College of the City University of New York.

    The source of this fuss was...

    01/07/2019 - 11:00 Physics
  • News

    Green darner dragonflies migrate a bit like monarch butterflies

    The monarch butterfly isn’t the only insect flying up and down North America in a mind-boggling annual migration. Tests show a big, shimmering dragonfly takes at least three generations to make one year’s migratory loop.

    Ecologist Michael Hallworth and his colleagues pieced together the migration of the common green darner, described December 19 in Biology Letters, using data on forms of...

    01/07/2019 - 07:00 Animals, Chemistry
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Beyond Weird’ and ‘What Is Real?’ try to make sense of quantum weirdness

    Quantum physics has earned a reputation as a realm of science beyond human comprehension. It describes a microworld of perplexing, paradoxical phenomena. Its equations imply a multiplicity of possible realities; an observation seems to select one of those possibilities for accessibility to human perception. The rest either disappear, remain hidden or weren’t really there to begin...

    01/06/2019 - 08:00 Quantum Physics, History of Science
  • News in Brief

    High-speed video reveals physics tricks for shooting a rubber band

    Scientists are taking aim at the physics of rubber band bombardments.

    Using high-speed video, researchers have analyzed what happens to a rubber band when it’s launched from a thumb. The results offer some tips for how to make a clean shot, Boston University mechanical engineers Alexandros Oratis and James Bird report in a paper in press in Physical Review Letters.

    The researchers...

    01/04/2019 - 09:00 Physics
  • News in Brief

    The physics of fluids explains how crowds of marathon runners move

    Marathoners queuing up for a big race tend to go with the flow, surging toward the start line like a fluid.

    Using footage of runners moving in groups toward the start of the Chicago Marathon, researchers developed a theory that treats the crowd like a liquid to explain its movement. The theory correctly predicted the motion of crowds of runners at marathons in two other locations,...

    01/03/2019 - 14:00 Physics