Slinn Pickings – latest chemistry news

Renowned chemist Robert Slinn distils the latest from the world of chemistry

  • What is life? New answers to an age-old question in astrobiology – Biologists have been unable to agree on a definition of the complex phenomenon known as "life." In a special collection of essays in Astrobiology, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., leaders in the fields of philosophy, science, and molecular evolution present a variety of perspectives on defining life. Tables of content and a free sample issue are available online.
  • Self-assembling structures open door to new class of materials – Researchers at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University have demonstrated bio-inspired structures that self-assemble from simple building blocks: spheres.
  • Breaking point: LSU professor discovers method to determine when metals reach end of life – Under the direction of Khonsari, Dow Chemical Endowed Chair in Rotating Machinery, the Center for Rotating Machinery in LSU's College of Engineering has developed a method to determine when metals under repeated back and forth stress will reach their breaking point. This discovery has the potential to save industry millions of dollars – and also save lives.
  • New way to calculate age of Earth’s crust – A new way to calculate the age of Earth's crust has been developed by researchers from the University of Bristol and the University of St Andrews.
  • The Nobel Prize in Chemistry – Educational Game – The Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to people and organizations every year since 1901, with a few exceptions such as during World War II. Alfred Nobel, the man behind the prize, invented dynamite and experimented in making synthetic rubber, leather and artificial silk. By the time of his death in 1896 he had acquired 355 patents. Play a game and find out about a Nobel Prize awarded discovery or work!
  • MU Scientists Find New Farming Method to Reduce Greenhouse Gases, Increase Farm Yields – U.S. agricultural practices create 58 percent of nitrous oxide in the world, which is the third most prevalent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Scientists believe nitrous oxide contributes to global warming about 300 times more than carbon dioxide. New practices and products have been introduced to address this issue, but farmers do not have the time or profit margins to experiment with ideas that may ultimately hurt the “bottom line.” Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found methods to help farmers reduce those emissions while also increasing corn grain production.