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  • 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

    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

    Why a chemistry teacher started a science board game company

    A physicist, a gamer and two editors walk into a bar. No, this isn’t the setup for some joke. After work one night, a few Science News staffers tried out a new board game, Subatomic. This deck-building game combines chemistry and particle physics for an enjoyable — and educational — time.

    Subatomic is simple to grasp: Players use quark and photon cards to build protons, neutrons and...

    11/25/2018 - 09:00 Particle Physics, Chemistry, Science & Society
  • News in Brief

    Mini ‘solar panels’ help yeast shine at churning out drug ingredients

    Bionic microbes outfitted with tiny semiconductor components can generate useful chemicals more efficiently than normal cells.

    Microorganisms like fungi are commonly used in biomanufacturing to convert simple carbon-based molecules, such as sugar, into a wide range of chemical ingredients for pharmaceuticals and other products. But much of a microbe’s carbon intake typically gets used to...

    11/15/2018 - 14:00 Microbes, Chemistry, Technology
  • News

    These fragile, futuristic batteries run longer with a little oil

    Batteries that use aluminum and oxygen normally live fast and die young. But a new design could help these high-energy devices endure.

    Aluminum-air batteries are promising candidates for a new generation of non-rechargeable batteries, because they’re super lightweight and compact. The batteries, however, aren’t widely used because their internal components quickly degrade each other. In...

    11/08/2018 - 14:00 Chemistry, Technology
  • News

    New devices could help turn atmospheric CO2 into useful supplies

    New chemical-recycling devices might help combat climate change by making good use of heat-trapping gas produced by burning fossil fuels.

    These electrochemical cells convert carbon monoxide into useful compounds much more efficiently than their predecessors, researchers report online October 25 in Joule. If combined with existing technology that harvests carbon monoxide from carbon...

    10/30/2018 - 06:00 Chemistry, Sustainability
  • News

    Zapping substances with electrons can quickly map chemical structures

    The one-hour photo booth has met its molecular match.

    By adapting a technique for determining protein structures, two independent teams have charted chemical structures of antibiotics, hormones and other compounds with unprecedented speed. Depending on the molecule, it took between 30 minutes and a day to determine structures, where traditional techniques could take months to years.

    ...
    10/29/2018 - 06:00 Chemistry, Biophysics
  • News

    Liverwort plants contain a painkiller similar to the one in marijuana

    A chemical compound found in liverworts may provide the pain and inflammation relief of pot’s THC but without the same kind of high.

    Both the molecule, called perrottetinene, and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — the mind-altering substance found in marijuana — have similar molecular structures. Lab tests with human brain cells and in mice have revealed that, like THC, perrottetinene easily...

    10/24/2018 - 17:34 Plants, Chemistry
  • 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