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The 2013 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry (Photo: Harvard, Stanford, and University of Souther...

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt, and Arieh Warshel for the development of multi-scale computer models of chemical reactions. Such computational chemical models are now the foundation for protein, enzyme, and pharmaceutical research, and combine a classical description of the motion and structure of large molecules with a quantum description of the regions within the molecule where a reaction takes place.  Read More

Scientists in Germany have developed a protective glove that warns lab workers of toxic su...

Laboratories that deal with dangerous chemicals devote a lot of time and money to ensuring the work environment is safe. Since many toxic substances lack a noticeable smell or color, the trick is finding a detection method that alerts employees to their presence as quickly and clearly as possible. Scientists at the the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Modular Solid State Technologies may have found a simple answer to that problem in the form of a protective glove that immediately changes color when it comes into contact with hazardous materials.  Read More

LabStrip includes a meter that supposedly improves accuracy.

Mobile computing is changing the world. Tasks that could recently only be performed at a desk can now be done anywhere. It may be some time before an entire laboratory can be replaced by an iPhone, but the men behind a new Kickstarter project are taking an ambitious step in that direction.  Read More

MIT's Materials Project website is a database of chemical compounds, that scientists can u...

Remember what it was like in the days before the internet, if you were trying to find out something specific? If you wanted know what flounders eat, for instance, you would have to physically go to the library, look up “marine biology” in the card catalogue, find the appropriate books in the stacks, look up “flounder” in their indexes – and even then, you might not find what you were looking for. It was certainly a lot more work than just typing in “flounder diet” on Google. Well, materials research so far has been kind of like that pre-Google era, in that scientists have had to spend months conducting research in order to determine how different compounds will react with one another. With the launch of MIT’s Materials Project website, however, it looks like that could be about to change.  Read More

The clear mouse embryo on the right was incubated in the Scale reagent for two weeks

Scientists are constantly looking for new and better ways of seeing through biological tissue, in order to see cells within it that have been marked with dyes, proteins or other substances. While recent research has involved using marking materials such as carbon nanotubes and firefly protein, scientists from Japan’s RIKEN Brain Science Institute have taken a different approach – they’ve developed a chemical reagent that causes the tissue surrounding the marked cells to become transparent.  Read More

A University of Washington study has found hazardous chemicals from scented laundry produc...

Recent research from the University of Washington (UW) has revealed that freshly-scented laundry comes with an unexpected price. In the first study to examine dryer vent exhaust, fragrance components in some of the best-selling liquid clothing detergents, fabric softeners and dryer sheets were found to infuse the vented air with a veritable rogue's gallery of hazardous pollutants, including two known carcinogens.  Read More

One of the microfluidic paper test strips, fluorescing blue to indicate the presence of he...

Lab-on-a-chip devices work by directing small samples of liquid through tiny “microchannels” embedded in a small platform, and are used for analyzing liquids in medical and scientific settings. Earlier this week, we reported on a high school teacher who has invented a way of creating such devices using transparency film and a photocopier. Now, scientists from Indiana’s Purdue University have announced a new method of making them using paper. While previous approaches have involved laying down lines of wax or other hydrophobic (water-repelling) material on hydrophilic (water-absorbing) paper, this method uses store-bought hydrophobic paper, and creates the microchannels by burning away the waterproof coating with a laser.  Read More

New research suggests that women's tears may be a chemo-signal that discourage sexual arou...

It is well-documented that our bodies give off coded chemical signals via sweat, excretions and pheromones that convey messages to other members of our species. Yet the significance of odorless human tears has continued to draw a blank since Charles Darwin first suggested that emotional displays were originally motivated by functional purposes. One hundred and fifty years later, new research from scientists at the Weizmann Institute’s Neurobiology Department suggests that in fact, tears may be a chemo-signal, as a chemical in women's tears seems to discourage sexual arousal in men.  Read More

The University of Copenhagen's Prof. Matthew Johnson, inventor of the Cleanair system

According to the University of Copenhagen’s Prof. Matthew Johnson, approximately one-sixth of the energy consumed in the world is used for heating, cooling and dehumidifying air in buildings. Because that air accumulates toxins and pathogens, he explains, it must constantly be expelled and replaced with new air that’s drawn in from outside. That new air must then be heated, cooled and/or dehumidified all over again. If only the air already in buildings could be cleaned up and reused, far less energy would be used on continuously conditioning fresh air. That’s why Johnson has invented the Cleanair system.  Read More

Mosquitoes won't lay their eggs wherever they detect a newly-identified chemical compound

Mosquitoes could be having a tough time of it before too long. First, scientists announced an experimental new technology that utilizes gene-silencing nanoparticles to keep mosquito larvae from fully developing their protective exoskeletons. This leaves them much more vulnerable to insecticides, once they become adults. Now we have word of another study, in which researchers have identified a natural, environmentally-friendly chemical compound that causes female skitters to go elsewhere to lay their eggs.  Read More

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