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  • 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
  • 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