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Archive for the ‘chemistry’ category

Oct 19, 2017

Liquid metal discovery ushers in new wave of chemistry and electronics

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, particle physics

Researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have used liquid metal to create two-dimensional materials no thicker than a few atoms that have never before been seen in nature.

The incredible breakthrough will not only revolutionise the way we do chemistry but could be applied to enhance data storage and make faster electronics. The “once-in-a-decade” discovery has been published in Science.

The researchers dissolve metals in to create very thin oxide layers, which previously did not exist as layered structures and which are easily peeled away.

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Oct 7, 2017

A Rare Element From The Edge of The Periodic Table Is Breaking Quantum Mechanics

Posted by in categories: chemistry, quantum physics

There’s a lot we don’t know about the actinides. On the periodic table, this series of heavy, radioactive elements hangs at the bottom, and includes a host of mysterious substances that don’t naturally occur on Earth.

Among this cast of unknowns, berkelium looks to be even stranger than we realised. New experiments with this incredibly rare synthetic element have shown that its electrons don’t behave the way they should, defying quantum mechanics.

“It’s almost like being in an alternate universe because you’re seeing chemistry you simply don’t see in everyday elements,” says chemist Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt from Florida State University.

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Oct 7, 2017

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 Awarded for Cryo-Electron Microscopy

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, nanotechnology

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 to Jacques Dubochet (University of Lausanne, Switzerland), Joachim Frank (Columbia University, New York, USA) and Richard Henderson (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK) “for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution”.

We may soon have detailed images of life’s complex machineries in atomic resolution. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 is awarded to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson for the development of cryo-electron microscopy, which both simplifies and improves the imaging of biomolecules. This method has moved biochemistry into a new era.

A picture is a key to understanding. Scientific breakthroughs often build upon the successful visualisation of objects invisible to the human eye. However, biochemical maps have long been filled with blank spaces because the available technology has had difficulty generating images of much of life’s molecular machinery. Cryo-electron microscopy changes all of this. Researchers can now freeze biomolecules mid-movement and visualise processes they have never previously seen, which is decisive for both the basic understanding of life’s chemistry and for the development of pharmaceuticals.

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Oct 6, 2017

Fundamental Particles & Forces: What do we know?

Posted by in categories: chemistry, general relativity, particle physics, physics, quantum physics, science

Do you remember all the hoopla last year when the Higgs Boson was confirmed by physicists at the Large Hadron Collider? That’s the one called the ‘God particle’, because it was touted as helping to resolve the forces of nature into one elegant theory. Well—Not so fast, bucko!…

First, some credit where credit is due: The LHC is a 27-kilometer ring of superconducting magnets interspersed by accelerators that boost the energy of the particles as they whip around and smash into each other. For physicists—and anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of what goes into everything—it certainly inspires awe.

Existence of the Higgs Boson (aka, The God Particle) was predicted. Physicists were fairly certain that it would be observed. But its discovery is a ‘worst case’ scenario for the Standard Model of particle physics. It points to shortcomings in our ability to model and predict things. Chemists have long had a master blueprint of atoms in the Periodic Table. It charts all the elements in their basic states. But, physicists are a long way from building something analogous. That’s because we know a lot more about atomic elements than the fundamental building blocks of matter and energy. [continue below image]

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Sep 14, 2017

IBM Makes Breakthrough in Race to Commercialize Quantum Computers

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, quantum physics

Research paves way for possible advances in chemistry, material science.

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Sep 3, 2017

Ray Kurzweil — A Revolutionary Future

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, life extension, nanotechnology, Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI, singularity, transhumanism

Kurzweil is one of the world’s leading minds on artificial intelligence, technology and futurism. He is the author of five national best-selling books, including “The Singularity is Near” and “How to Create a Mind.”

Raymond “Ray” Kurzweil is an American author, computer scientist, inventor and futurist. Aside from futurology, he is involved in fields such as optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments. He has written books on health, artificial intelligence (AI), transhumanism, the technological singularity, and futurism. Kurzweil is a public advocate for the futurist and transhumanist movements, and gives public talks to share his optimistic outlook on life extension technologies and the future of nanotechnology, robotics, and biotechnology.

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Aug 25, 2017

Major leap towards storing data at the molecular level

Posted by in categories: chemistry, mobile phones, supercomputing

From smartphones to supercomputers, the growing need for smaller and more energy efficient devices has made higher density data storage one of the most important technological quests.

Now scientists at the University of Manchester have proved that storing data with a class of molecules known as single-molecule magnets is more feasible than previously thought.

The research, led by Dr David Mills and Dr Nicholas Chilton, from the School of Chemistry, is being published in Nature. It shows that magnetic hysteresis, a memory effect that is a prerequisite of any data storage, is possible in individual molecules at −213 °C. This is tantalisingly close to the temperature of liquid nitrogen (−196 °C).

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Aug 25, 2017

This Small Quantum-Computing Firm Wants to Supercharge AI Startups

Posted by in categories: business, chemistry, quantum physics, robotics/AI

Berkeley-based quantum computing firm Rigetti will allow 40 machine learning startups from 11 countries to make use of its devices to help crunch their AI problems.

Rigetti is small compared to its main rivals—the likes of Google, IBM, and Intel. But as we’ve reported in the past, the firm is working on a complex chip architecture that promises to scale up well, and should be particularly suited to applications like machine learning and chemistry simulations. That’s why we made it one of our 50 Smartest Companies of 2017.

But, like IBM and Google, part of Rigetti’s business model has always been to develop a kind of quantum-powered cloud service that would allow people to make use of its technology remotely. The newly announced partnership—which will be with companies from Creative Destruction Lab, a Canadian incubator that focuses on science-based startups—is a chance to test that theory out using Rigetti’s Forest programming environment.

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Aug 20, 2017

Scientists Are Finally Set to Mass-Produce The Active Compound Found in Magic Mushrooms

Posted by in categories: chemistry, neuroscience

For nearly 60 years scientists have known the chemical responsible for magic mushrooms’ psychedelic reputation is a compound called psilocybin. What we haven’t known is the biochemical pathway behind this famous hallucinogen.

Feel free to now tick that one off your chemistry bucket-list. German researchers have identified four key enzymes involved in making the chemical, potentially setting the stage for mass production of a promising pharmaceutical.

Psilocybin was first identified by the Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann way back in 1959, but has only recently re-entered the spotlight as a safe way to treat conditions related to anxiety, depression, and addiction.

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Jun 7, 2017

Your DNA Changes With the Seasons, Just Like the Weather

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry

Ah, my sweet summer child. What do you know of inflammation? Inflammation is for the winter, when genes uncoil in your blood and messengers send codes containing the blueprints for proteins to protect you from the harsh diseases of the cold. Inflammation is for those long nights, when the sun hides its face, or rain clouds block the sky, and trillions of little T-cells are born to fight the diseases of cold and flu season.

At least, that’s the news from a new study showing that DNA reacts to the seasons, changing your body’s chemistry depending on the time of year.

The findings, published today in Nature Communications ^1^, show that as many as one-fifth of all genes in blood cells undergo seasonal changes in expression. Genes often are seen as immutable, but a lot of our body’s workings depend upon which genes are translated when. In the winter, the study found, your blood contains a denser blend of immune responders, while summer veins swim with fat-burning, body-building, water-retaining hormones. These seasonal changes could provide insight into inflammatory diseases like hypertension, and autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes.

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