Wim L. Noorduin […] dissolved barium chloride (a salt) and sodium silicate (also known as waterglass) into a beaker of water. Carbon dioxide from the air dissolved naturally into the water, fomenting a reaction to form barium carbonate crystals. In response to the crystals the pH of the solution surrounding them lowers, triggering a reaction with the dissolved waterglass, and adding a layer of silica to the growing structure. This reaction uses up acid from the solution and allows the barium carbonate crystals to continue to form.
As this process takes place, the shape the crystals take can be manipulated through changes to the solution–increases in carbon dioxide levels in the water creates “broad-leafed” structures. Reversing the pH gradient at the right moment can create curved, ruffled structures. “You can really collaborate with the self-assembly process,” said Noorduin.
New Scientist hat einen superinteressanten Artikel von Brian J. Ford über spontane menschliche Entzündung, eine äußerst seltene und sehr umstrittene Todesart, während der Mensch von innen heraus verbrennen. Ford hat in Experimenten eine schlüssige Begründung für das Phänomen gefunden (unter bestimmten Umständen produziert der Körper zu viel des Brennstoffs Aceton, die Beine bleiben übrig, weil in ihnen zu wenig Fett für die Aceton-Produktion enthalten ist).
Der Text basiert auf einem ziemlich unterhaltsamen Vortrag (Video oben) mit Spinal Tap und Iron Maiden, den der Mann vor einem Monat in Chicago gehalten hat und da der Artikel nur gegen Registrierung online zu lesen ist und da auch nur für 10 Tage, poste ich den Text ausnahmsweise als Vollzitat nach dem Klick.
PEOPLE explode. One minute they may be relaxing in a chair, the next they erupt into a fireball. Jets of blue fire shoot from their bodies like flames from a blowtorch, and within half an hour they are reduced to a pile of ash. Typically, the legs remain unscathed, sticking out grotesquely from the smoking cinders. Nearby objects (a pile of newspapers on the armrest, for example) are untouched. Greasy fat lies on the floor. For centuries, this gruesome way of death has been debated, with many people discounting it as a myth. But spontaneous human combustion is real and we think we can show how it happens.
The first accounts date from 1641, when Danish doctor and mathematician Thomas Bartholin described the death of Polonus Vorstius – who drank wine at home in Milan, Italy, one evening in 1470 before bursting into flames. In 1663, Bartholin wrote of a Parisian woman who burned, leaving the mattress on which she lay unscathed. And in the Philosophical Transactions of 1745, Paul Rolli told how 62-year-old Countess Cornelia Bandi of Ceséna, Italy, said she felt “dull and heavy” after dining and went to bed. Next morning, her maid found a pile of ash with her legs protruding from the smouldering remains.
Der Rest des Artikels nach dem Klick.
Vor fünf Jahren hatte ich schonmal über Astronaut Don Pettits Space-Tagebuch gebloggt und seinem Eintrag darin zum Geruch des Weltraums:
Each time, when I repressed the airlock, opened the hatch and welcomed two tired workers inside, a peculiar odor tickled my olfactory senses. At first I couldn’t quite place it. It must have come from the air ducts that re-pressed the compartment. Then I noticed that this smell was on their suit, helmet, gloves, and tools. It was more pronounced on fabrics than on metal or plastic surfaces. It is hard to describe this smell; it is definitely not the olfactory equivalent to describing the palette sensations of some new food as “tastes like chicken.” The best description I can come up with is metallic; a rather pleasant sweet metallic sensation.
Jetzt hat die NASA einen Chemiker für Duftstoffe angeheuert, der ihnen ‘ne Flasche Space Parfum mixen soll. Der Mann hatte vorher für eine Kunstinstallation den Geruch der MIR nachgebaut, inklusive Schweißfüßen und Wodka.
The agency has hired the scent chemist Steve Pearce to recreate space stench, as much as possible, here on earth.
Pearce came to NASA’s attention after he recreated, for an art installation on “Impossible Smells,” the scents of the Mir space station. (This was, he notes, a feat made more complicated by the fact that cosmonauts tend to bring vodka with them into space — which affects not only the scent of their breath, but also that of their perspiration.) The result of Pearce’s efforts? “Just imagine sweaty feet and stale body odor, mix that odor with nail polish remover and gasoline … then you get close!”
New Scientist hat nen interessanten Artikel über 3D-gedruckte Chemikalien und Medikamente. Dazu haben sie zunächst in einem “herkömmlichen” 2000$-3D-Drucker die Reagenzgläser mit Badezimmer-Kitt (kein Scheiß) gedruckt, die exakt auf bestimmte Reaktionen optimiert waren und haben die dann mit dem Drucker mit Chemikalien befüllt. Ich hatte bei 3D-Printing schon die Urheberrechtsproblematik, gedruckte Organe und Auswirkungen auf die Bauwirtschaft auf dem Schirm, aber auf einen Markt für Hobby-Heisenbergs mit homegrown Chrystal Meth bin ich nicht gekommen. Die Wissenschaftler betonen zwar, dass die Systeme für 3D-gedruckte Chemikalien so produziert werden müssten, dass sie sich nicht für die Herstellung von Drogen verwenden ließen, aber das müssen sie ja schließlich sagen und bei Formulierungen “no one would be allowed to hack” grinse ich mir einen.
Den Artikel gibt’s nur gegen Anmeldung, deshalb hier ein längerer Snip:
A team of researchers led by chemist Lee Cronin at the University of Glasgow, UK, has made a selection of chemicals using a digital blueprint and a 3D printer costing $2000. The printer prints the lab equipment and then squirts the ingredients into the right places to make the desired chemicals. [...]
“It’s a way of democratising chemistry, bringing chemistry to the masses,” says Cronin. People in far-flung regions could make their own headache pills or detergent, he suggests. The technique might also allow people to print and share recipes for niche substances that chemical or pharmaceutical companies don’t make – because there aren’t enough customers, or they simply haven’t dreamed up those ideas.
Of course, such freedoms will bring challenges too, including ensuring that drugs are made safely, and dealing with black markets that might offer prescription-only or illegal drugs.
Cronin and his colleagues turned to a version of the $2000 3D printer used in the Fab@Home project, a collaboration aiming to bring self-fabrication into the home. They discovered that they could use a common bathroom sealant as the primary material for printing reaction chambers of all shapes and sizes, as well as connection tubes of varying lengths. After the kit had set hard, the printer’s nozzles squirted in the reactants, or “chemical inks” (see diagram).
In principle, the dimensions of the equipment and chemical ingredients required to produce a particular product can all be pre-designed and embedded in the same software blueprint – all a user needs to do is download it and feed it to the printer. The researchers envisage an online store where you download an app for a particular drug to your 3D printer and order a standard set of chemical inks.
Potential health dangers from allowing people to print their own legal or illegal drugs would be minimised, says Cronin, as his team would only write software for specific end products that would be difficult to modify into making other reactions. “We would have pre-evaluated the reactions in the lab so no one would be allowed to hack.”
Liebes Tagebuch, am 4. November hat die International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) den Namen Darmstadtium für ein bereits 1993 am GSI (Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung) entdecktes Element freigegeben. Der Name von Element 110 ist nichts neues und ich kenne ihn schon seit mehr als zehn Jahren, aber erst jetzt wurde er offiziell abgesegnet. Damit ist mein Geburtsort für die nächsten paar hundert Jahre im Periodensystem der Elemente vertreten und darauf bin ich wirklich ein bisschen stolz. Übrigens: Geboren wurde ich in Darmstadt und die ersten zehn Jahre habe ich in Weiterstadt gelebt, ein Ortsteil von Weiterstadt wiederum ist Wixhausen und genau da steht das GSI und die hatten neben Darmstadtium noch Wixhausium (Wi) für Element 110 als Namen vorgeschlagen, der hat sich dann aber aus mir unbegreiflichen Gründen nicht durchgesetzt. Ich mein’ ey! WIXHAUSIUM!
Three newly discovered elements were given names on Friday by the General Assembly of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics at a meeting in London.
They are Darmstadtium, or Ds, which has 110 protons in its nucleus and was named after the town in which it was discovered; Roentgenium, or Rg, with 111 protons, named after the discoverer of X-rays Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen; and Copernicium, or Cn, which has 112 protons and is named after the Polish astronomer Copernicus, who disrupted the view that the Earth was the center of the universe.
None of these elements occur in nature, or even last very long once created. They were all made in Darmstadt, Germany, at the Society for Heavy Ion Research Laboratory (Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung) by bombarding heavy nuclei with beams of other atoms.
Seit Jahren arbeiten Wissenschaftler an der Entschlüsselung der molekularen Struktur eines Enzyms, das die Verbreitung eines AIDS-ähnlichen Virusses bei Rhesus-Affen regelt. Sie haben’s seit Jahren nicht hinbekommen, also haben sie’s als „Quest“ beim Molekular-Puzzle-Game Fold.it angeboten. Die Zocker hatten das Enzym in zehn Tagen entschlüsselt. For science, you monster!
For more than a decade, an international team of scientists has been trying to figure out the detailed molecular structure of a protein-cutting enzyme from an AIDS-like virus found in rhesus monkeys. Such enzymes, known as retroviral proteases, play a key role in the virus’ spread — and if medical researchers can figure out their structure, they could conceivably design drugs to stop the virus in its tracks. The strategy has been compared to designing a key to fit one of Mother Nature’s locks.
The problem is that enzymes are far tougher to crack than your typical lock. There are millions of ways that the bonds between the atoms in the enzyme’s molecules could twist and turn. To design the right chemical key, you have to figure out the most efficient, llowest-energy configuration for the molecule — the one that Mother Nature herself came up with.
That’s where Foldit plays a role. The game is designed so that players can manipulate virtual molecular structures that look like multicolored, curled-up Tinkertoy sets. The virtual molecules follow the same chemical rules that are obeyed by real molecules. When someone playing the game comes up with a more elegant structure that reflects a lower energy state for the molecule, his or her score goes up. If the structure requires more energy to maintain, or if it doesn’t reflect real-life chemistry, then the score is lower.
More than 236,000 players have registered for the game since its debut in 2008.
The monkey-virus puzzle was one of several unsolved molecular mysteries that a colleague of Khatib’s at the university, Frank DiMaio, recently tried to solve using a method that took advantage of a protein-folding computer program called Rosetta. “This was one of the cases where his method wasn’t able to solve it,” Khatib said.
Fortunately, the challenge fit the current capabilities of the Foldit game, so Khatib and his colleagues put the puzzle out there for Foldit’s teams to work on. “This was really kind of a last-ditch effort,” he recalled. “Can the Foldit players really solve it?”
They could. “They actually did it in less than 10 days,” Khatib said.
Gamers solve molecular puzzle that baffled scientists, mehr bei Science Daily: Gamers Succeed Where Scientists Fail: Molecular Structure of Retrovirus Enzyme Solved, Doors Open to New AIDS Drug Design (via MeFi)
Motherboard hat einen etwas infantilen, aber dennoch insgesamt interessanten Artikel über den Duft von Urin nach einer ordentlichen Portion Spargel. Ich liebe Spargel.
After eating asparagus, your pee can smell pretty gross. Some people can smell asparagus-pee, while others can’t, and this difference is caused by a difference in your DNA! This issue is not quite that simple, as not everyone produces smelly asparagus-pee after eating asparagus […]
The asparagus-pee molecules that you smell come mostly from the breakdown of a molecule known as asparagusic acid, which is present naturally in asparagus. When your body breaks down asparagusic acid it forms a wide variety of chemicals, all of which contain sulfur! […]
Aside from sulfur, the thing that all these smelly asparagus-pee chemicals have in common is that they are “light” enough (a.k.a. they are “volatile”, which means they have a relatively low boiling point) that they can float up into the air and into your nose. That is partly why asparagus doesn’t smell like asparagus-pee, because asparagusic acid is not volatile (remember that word). In fact, asparagusic acid boils above 300 °C (>600 °F), so there is no way any of it gets into your nose!
Hämoglobin ist das Zeug in unserem Blut, das für die rote Farbe verantwortlich ist und das Steffen VFX-Animationsstudio aus Brooklyn hat zusammen mit McFarlane Toys aus Daten ein 3D-Model erstellt, dieses dann knapp 700millionenfach vergrößert und auf einem 3D-Printer ausgegeben. Sweet!
By far my favorite protein is Hemoglobin. Not only does it have an interesting conformational structure, it’s Heme Group contains 4 iron atoms! This is an organic protein, caring around a metal atom, using iron like a magnetic tool in order to transport oxygen throughout our bodies! All of a sudden, here’s a chance to not only use an actual 3D printer, but have the help of some of the best toy makers out there. David put me in touch with Michael Gulen, a true master of his craft. Michael and I briefly discussed the specifics, and promised I send him a model just as soon as I could prepare one.
The process on my end began with a good dataset of Hemoglobin from the RCSB protein databank. At its simplest, a PDB file, or Protein DataBase file, is little more than a matrix of points with additional information about radii. Each point represents the location of a specific type of atom, and sometimes a bit more about its amino acid group. Combined together, you have a collection of all the locations of every atom in a protein, enough to derive a number of different visualization modalities.
Schönes Posting auf NPR über Ernest Hemingways Bloody Mary-Rezept, dessen chemische Zusammensetzung grade von Neil Da Costa analysiert wurde.
Da Costa has used every trick in the chemist’s book to analyze each ingredient, and the cocktail as whole. He presented his findings at a meeting of the American Chemical Society this week. Da Costas, an expert in food flavors, is chairman-elect of the group’s agriculture and food chemistry division.
With gas and liquid chromatography, Da Costa isolated the wide variety of compounds that give the bloody mary its unique flavor. The drink covers much of the taste spectrum: sweet, salty, sour and umami — the savory taste of glutamic acid.
Related: People with Drinks Named After Them – Bloody Mary: „While the origin of the name is, like much of the drink’s history, uncertain (one school of thought holds Mary was a waitress at a Chicago bar called Bucket of Blood), the most famous “Bloody Mary” was Queen Mary I, the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine Aragon. She ruled England from 1553 until her death in 1558 and received the nickname for her intolerance of Protestants.“
Der Soapman ist ein 200 Jahre alter Toter, der durch chemische Reaktion nahezu komplett in Seife verwandelt wurde. Zum Waschen wahrscheinlich eher ungeeignet.
“Soapman” lived in Philadelphia and was buried there around 1800. The body was discovered in 1875 during the digging of a train depot foundation. This unusual preservation occurred because water seeped into the casket and brought alkaline soil with it, turning the fats in his body to soap through a type of hydrolysis known as saponification.
Photographer Olivier Grunewald has recently made several trips into the sulfur mine in the crater of the Kawah Ijen volcano in East Java, Indonesia, bringing with him equipment to capture surreal images lit by moonlight, torches, and the blue flames of burning molten sulfur. Covered last year in the Big Picture (in daylight), the miners of the 2,600 meter tall (8,660ft) Kawah Ijen volcano trek up to the crater, then down to the shore of a 200-meter-deep crater lake of sulfuric acid, where they retrieve heavy chunks of pure sulfur to carry back to a weighing station.
Sehr clevere Idee von Etsy-Seller QueInteresante. Bitte sofort für deutsche Grundschulen umsetzen.
Children play and draw with crayons practically every day, so why not make the experience more educational? This listing is for a set of 120 labels to stick in the crayons in a basic 120 pack of Crayola crayons so that while children are coloring, they are also exposed to the names of chemicals that will make those colors! So instead of thinking “I want green” they will think “I want Barium Nitrate Ba(NO3)2 Flame” and then when they take chemistry in high school and their teacher sets some gas on fire and it makes a green color and they ask the class what chemical it was your student will know it was Barium! Genius!
Diesen Monat erscheint das Buch „Cooking for Geeks – Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food“ im O’Reilly Verlag und im obigen Video erklärt Autor Jeff Potter, wie man Eiscreme in 30 Sekunden mit flüssigem Stickstoff herstellt.
More than just a cookbook, Cooking for Geeks applies your curiosity to discovery, inspiration, and invention in the kitchen. Why is medium-rare steak so popular? Why do we bake some things at 350° F/175° C and others at 375° F/190° C? And how quickly does a pizza cook if we overclock an oven to 1,000° F/540° C? Author and cooking geek Jeff Potter (@cookingforgeeks) provides the answers and offers a unique take on recipes–from the sweet (a “mean” chocolate chip cookie) to the savory (duck confit sugo).
This book will help you:
* Initialize your kitchen and calibrate your tools
* Learn about the important reactions in cooking, such as protein denaturation, Maillard reactions, and caramelization, and how they impact the foods we cook
* Play with your food using hydrocolloids and sous vide cooking
* Gain firsthand insights from interviews with researchers, food scientists, knife experts, chefs, writers, and more, including author Harold McGee, TV personality Adam Savage, chemist Hervé This, and xkcd
“There’s really no book out there like Cooking for Geeks–it’s science textbook meets cookbook, written to appeal to anyone who’s curious about how the details work in the kitchen,” says Potter. “And it’s not just for technical geeks–anyone who wants to do more than just follow a recipe will enjoy the book.”
Die Chemical Heritage Foundation hat ein ein Flickr-Set mit ein paar sehr schönen ollen Chemiekästen für Kids. Als Soundtrack empfehle ich dieses tolle Video von 2008, das ich damals schonmal hatte, als es frisch war.