Posts Tagged ‘2010’

Oh, Oh OMG I’m included in Open Lab 2010!

// January 10th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // Jibber Jabber, Science Communication

Open Lab 2010The finalists of Open Lab have been announced. I’m all a-quiver with excitement because I’m included in the list!

That means I’m going to be PUBLISHED in an ANTHOLOGY of science writers. Among the list of those included are some big names like Scicurious, Ed Yong, Carl Zimmer, Kevin Zelnio and many more excellent bloggers.

Many thanks to Jason Goldman for his work as the editor, and to the reviewers and everyone else in the project who give up their time (and probably sleep) to put Open Lab 2010 together. The book will be published in early February and available online and in some stores.

Here’s my award winning post How aqua regia saved Nobel Prize medals from the Nazis.

Noble Prize in Chemistry – Palladium catalysed reactions

// October 6th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // How Things Work, Science Communication

Image adapted from Jurii

The winners of this years Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to Richard F. Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki, for their work in palladium catalysed reactions.

Ah, a subject close to my own heart! As a student of Molecular and Drug Design, we studied this shizz in lectures. Hell, I think I even did a Suzuki reaction! That pretty well makes me famous IMHO.

SO – palladium catalysed reactions. What are they, I hear you say? Oh, dear gentle reader, how long do you have for me to BLOW YOUR MIND WITH CHEMISTRY AWESOME? Three minutes? K.

Carbon to carbon bonds are super important in the human body, which is pretty much made of carbon. Nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen get a look in, but carbon is where it’s at.

There’s a big trend at the moment, has been for years, in designing small molecules as drugs. Some small molecules mimic the molecules naturally inside the body. Basically it’s telling the body what you to do in a language it can understand.

To make a carbon-based small molecule, you need to make some carbon to carbon bonds. The sad part is that carbon is a chiller, and isn’t keen on making friends with other carbons. Put a carbon and another carbon in a test-tube and they just won’t get it on. They don’t care to so much as hold hands.

HOWEVER, chuck some palladium catalyst into the mix and ba-zing! You’ve got yourself a sweet, sweet reaction that’s controllable and would otherwise have taken a zillion years to happen. Now we can create new molecules and drugs to benefit peeps everywhere!

Words cannot describe how nerdy and happy I am right now to write about palladium catalysed reactions. Maybe I’ve missed my calling as a chemist after all.

Day Two Nobel Prize Week – Physics goes to graphene

// October 5th, 2010 // Comments Off on Day Two Nobel Prize Week – Physics goes to graphene // Science Communication

Image by AlexanderAIUS

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2010 has just been awarded jointly to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov “for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene”

Graphene, aka “atomic level chicken wire” are carbon atoms packed into a 2D lattice. It’s not used to keep molecular chickens in their rightful place, but if it was it would be hardcore. The stuff is one of the strongest materials ever tested, 200 times the strength of steel.

It also has great potential in creating new kinds of chips and transistors, possibly faster than silicon. It’s also a great sensor, either for single molecule gas detection or for disease markers.

Sheets of graphene could help sequence DNA ridiculously fast, and they prevent the growth of bacteria. They could be used as hygienic covers for food. Plenty more potential applications can be found on Wikipedia. It’s exciting stuff.

Andre Geim is also known for his work on gecko tape – a super strong adhesive that mimics gecko’s feet and could one day let humans climb walls like a gecko.

Day One Nobel Prize Week – Father of IVF wins Nobel for Medicine

// October 5th, 2010 // Comments Off on Day One Nobel Prize Week – Father of IVF wins Nobel for Medicine // Science Communication

This week is vegetarian week, and it’s also the week Nobel Prize winners are announced. Coincidence? I think not.

The 2010 prize for Physiology and Medicine was awarded to Robert G. Edwards for the development of in vitro fertilisation.

His initial success in creating a blastocyst outside the womb happened in Cambridge in 1968. The world’s first IVF baby was born ten years later in 1978. Since then the number of children conceived by IVF are around four million.

I find IVF incredibly interesting. It has not only given children to millions of parents, it’s also responsible for SCIENCE STUFF. Like countless discoveries into how embryo’s grow, and how to improve health during pregnancy.

I’ll keep you updated on the winners for Physics and Chemistry.

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