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Archive for the ‘chemistry’ category

Apr 29, 2016

DARPA Exhibit to Open at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, chemistry, science

Now, that’s an exhibit!


May 5, 2016, will mark the opening of a new and exciting exhibit at Chicago’s famed Museum of Science and Industry: an in-depth and interactive look behind the curtain at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

DARPA was created in 1958 at the peak of the Cold War in response to the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik, the world’s first manmade satellite, which passed menacingly over the United States every 96 minutes. Tasked with preventing such strategic surprises in the future, the agency has achieved its mission over the years in part by creating a series of technological surprises of its own, many of which are highlighted in the Chicago exhibit, “Redefining Possible.”

“We are grateful to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry for inviting us to tell the DARPA story of ambitious problem solving and technological innovation,” said DARPA Deputy Director Steve Walker, who will be on hand for the exhibit’s opening day. “Learning how DARPA has tackled some of the most daunting scientific and engineering challenges—and how it has tolerated the risk of failure in order to have major impact when it succeeds—can be enormously inspiring to students. And for adults, we hope the exhibit will serve as a reminder that some of the most exciting work going on today in fields as diverse as chemistry, engineering, cyber defense and synthetic biology are happening with federal support, in furtherance of pressing national priorities.”

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Apr 28, 2016

Scientists Claim to See a “New State” of Water

Posted by in category: chemistry

The familiar H2O molecule may take a strange, ringlike form.

By Philip Ball, ChemistryWorld on April 28, 2016.

Apr 28, 2016

Math points to 100-times faster mapping of gene activity

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, chemistry, mathematics

New research by UCSF scientists could accelerate – by 10 to 100-fold – the pace of many efforts to profile gene activity, ranging from basic research into how to build new tissues from stem cells to clinical efforts to detect cancer or auto-immune diseases by profiling single cells in a tiny drop of blood.

The study, published online April 27, 2016, in the journal Cell Systems, rigorously demonstrates how to extract high-quality information about the patterns of in individual cells without using expensive and time-consuming technology. The paper’s senior authors are Hana El-Samad, PhD, an associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF, and Matt Thomson, PhD, a faculty fellow in UCSF’s Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology.

“We believe the implications are huge because of the fundamental tradeoff between depth of sequencing and throughput, or cost,” said El-Samad. “For example, suddenly, one can think of profiling a whole tumor at the single cell level.”

Apr 21, 2016

Reinvent Yourself: The Playboy Interview with Ray Kurzweil

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, computing, education, electronics, engineering, life extension, media & arts, neuroscience, Ray Kurzweil, singularity

Many think author, inventor and data scientist Ray Kurzweil is a prophet for our digital age. A few say he’s completely nuts. Kurzweil, who heads a team of more than 40 as a director of engineering at Google, believes advances in technology and medicine are pushing us toward what he calls the Singularity, a period of profound cultural and evolutionary change in which computers will outthink the brain and allow people—you, me, the guy with the man-bun ahead of you at Starbucks—to live forever. He dates this development at 2045.

Raymond Kurzweil was born February 12, 1948, and he still carries the plain, nasal inflection of his native Queens, New York. His Jewish parents escaped Hitler’s Austria, but Kurzweil grew up attending a Unitarian church. He worshipped knowledge above all, and computers in particular. His grandmother was one of the first women in Europe to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry. His uncle, who worked at Bell Labs, taught Ray computer science in the 1950s, and by the age of 15, Kurzweil was designing programs to help do homework. Two years later, he wrote code to analyze and create music in the style of various famous composers. The program won him the prestigious Westinghouse Science Talent Search, a prize that got the 17-year-old an invitation to the White House. That year, on the game show I’ve Got a Secret, Kurzweil pressed some buttons on a data processor the size of a small car. It coughed out original sheet music that could have been written by Brahms.

After earning degrees in computer science and creative writing at MIT, he began to sell his inventions, including the first optical character recognition system that could read text in any normal font. Kurzweil knew a “reading machine” could help the blind, but to make it work, he first had to invent a text-to-speech synthesizer, as well as a flatbed scanner; both are still in wide use. In the 1980s Kurzweil created the first electronic music keyboard to replicate the sound of a grand piano and many other instruments. If you’ve ever been to a rock concert, you’ve likely seen the name Kurzweil on the back of a synthesizer.

Apr 7, 2016

Exotic quantum effects can govern the chemistry around us

Posted by in categories: chemistry, particle physics, quantum physics

Nice read that ties Quantum properties such as tunneling to everything around us including our own blood supply in our bodies.


Objects of the quantum world are of a concealed and cold-blooded nature: they usually behave in a quantum manner only when they are significantly cooled and isolated from the environment. Experiments carried out by chemists and physicists from Warsaw have destroyed this simple picture. It turns out that not only does one of the most interesting quantum effects occur at room temperature and higher, but it plays a dominant role in the course of chemical reactions in solutions!

We generally derive our experimental knowledge of quantum phenomena from experiments carried out using sophisticated equipment under exotic conditions: at extremely low temperatures and in a vacuum, isolating quantum objects from the disturbing influence of the environment. Scientists from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPC PAS) in Warsaw, led by Prof. Jacek Waluk and Prof. Czeslaw Radzewicz’s group from the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw (FUW), have just shown that one of the most spectacular quantum phenomena — that of tunneling — takes place even at temperatures above the boiling point of water. However, what is particularly surprising is the fact that the observed effect applies to hydrogen nuclei, which tunnel in particles floating in solution. The results of measurements leave no doubt: in the studied system, in conditions typical for our environment, tunneling turns out to be the main factor responsible for the chemical reaction!

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Mar 24, 2016

Modified NWChem Code Utilizes Supercomputer Parallelization

Posted by in categories: chemistry, climatology, evolution, materials, quantum physics, supercomputing

Quicker time to discovery. That’s what scientists focused on quantum chemistry are looking for. According to Bert de Jong, Computational Chemistry, Materials and Climate Group Lead, Computational Research Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), “I’m a computational chemist working extensively with experimentalists doing interdisciplinary research. To shorten time to scientific discovery, I need to be able to run simulations at near-real-time, or at least overnight, to drive or guide the next experiments.” Changes must be made in the HPC software used in quantum chemistry research to take advantage of advanced HPC systems to meet the research needs of scientists both today and in the future.

NWChem is a widely used open source software computational chemistry package that includes both quantum chemical and molecular dynamics functionality. The NWChem project started around the mid-1990s, and the code was designed from the beginning to take advantage of parallel computer systems. NWChem is actively developed by a consortium of developers and maintained by the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) located at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Washington State. NWChem aims to provide its users with computational chemistry tools that are scalable both in their ability to treat large scientific computational chemistry problems efficiently, and in their use of available parallel computing resources from high-performance parallel supercomputers to conventional workstation clusters.

“Rapid evolution of the computational hardware also requires significant effort geared toward the modernization of the code to meet current research needs,” states Karol Kowalski, Capability Lead for NWChem Development at PNNL.

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Mar 24, 2016

DNA Devices Perform Bio-Analytical Chemistry Inside Live Cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, electronics, nanotechnology

Last summer, the team reported another achievement: the development of a DNA nanosensor that can measure the physiological concentration of chloride with a high degree of accuracy.

“Yamuna Krishnan is one of the leading practitioners of biologically oriented DNA nanotechnology,” said Nadrian Seeman, the father of the field and the Margaret and Herman Sokol Professor of Chemistry at New York University. “These types of intracellular sensors are unique to my knowledge, and represent a major advance for the field of DNA nanotechnology.”

Chloride sensor

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Mar 14, 2016

Get ready for DNA-based computer chips!

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, electronics, materials, nanotechnology

Interesting — DNA Microchips to be released soon.


Researchers presented this incredible work at the national meeting and exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in San Diego, California, on Sunday.

Adam T Woolley, professor of chemistry at Brigham Young University (BYU) said that they are planning to use DNA’s small size and base-pairing capabilities and ability to self-assemble, and direct it to make nanoscale structures that could be used for electronics.

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Mar 14, 2016

Researchers create new triple helix structure for DNA — Many potential uses in chemistry, tissue engineering, etc

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, engineering, nanotechnology

Could a cheap molecule used to disinfect swimming pools provide the key to creating a new form of DNA nanomaterials?

Cyanuric acid is commonly used to stabilize chlorine in backyard pools; it binds to free chlorine and releases it slowly in the water. But researchers at McGill University have now discovered that this same small, inexpensive molecule can also be used to coax DNA into forming a brand new structure: instead of forming the familiar double helix, DNA’s nucleobases — which normally form rungs in the DNA ladder — associate with cyanuric acid molecules to form a triple helix.

Read More ON Mcgill University

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Mar 12, 2016

Craig Venter: Future Pathways for Synthetic Genomics

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, chemistry, computing

Life’s chemistry, it appears, is quite kludgy. Such computer metaphors help explain Dr. Venter’s perspective on synthetic biology. Is a genomic version of Moore’s Law in the offing?

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