Smelly alchemist

In the Alchemist chemistry news section over on ChemWeb this week – two smelly discoveries caught my nose. The first points the way to a clearer understanding of how we smell, while the second explains the biochemistry of geosmin, the earthy smell of freshly turned soil and the particular bouquet after rain showers.

We now learn from GATech scientists how a sensor array can weigh up atmospheric or aqueous pollutants and why stirring a dendrimer solution could explain the origins of life. Finally, this week, researchers in California have taken the first steps towards building a gamma-ray laser using a quasi-molecule based on positronium. And, the award mentioned this week goes to the RSC’s Project Prospect team, which received the 2007 ALPSP/Charlesworth Award for Publishing Innovation.

Also, in pharma news this week an interesting development reported in FierceBiotech regarding the issue of whether or not clinical trials are safe. I’ve included it in the comments on the write-up I did on the TGN1412 clinical trial that went disastrously wrong in 2006.