In my SpectroscopyNOW.com column this week: US researchers have used NMR to help them develop a new high explosive material that can be melt cast into a charge with any shape (and presumably whose explosions could be monitored by the blast-proof thermometer).
Nanotubes and geckos caught the eye of The Alchemist this week as US chemists describe a way to out-gecko the gecko by developing a new material that simulates the animal’s hairy feet but is ten times as sticky. Adhering with the theme of sticking, European researchers have found a way to tether prions to a model cell membrane that could open up new research into diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob, BSE and scrapie.
In environmental news, recent insights into dust from the Sahara could improve our understanding of climate change. Finally, dust of another kind is being used in an entirely different way, by British researchers to protect a new type of thermometer used to measure the 3000 Kelvin temperatures of an explosion.
The crystal structure of a cancer-killing virus has been revealed. The 3D structure of the recently discovered Seneca Valley Virus-001 shows that it is unlike any other known member of the Picornaviridae viral family (which includes the common cold viruses), and confirms its recent designation as a separate genus “Senecavirus”.
Morbid tales for Waco CSI reveals how cheminformatics forensic scientists might use spectroscopy on skeletal remains to determine post-mortem interval, how long the corpse has been dead, in other words.
Under the Spotlight, over on Intute:
Oily fungus helps reduce acid rain – Researchers in Iran have discovered a fungus that can metabolise and absorb sulfur from crude oil and so reduce one of the major sources of air pollution when petroleum products are burned…
Radio samples – More than 20 years after Chernobyl, US researchers have travelled to Sweden and Poland to gain insight into how radioactive elements spewed out by the reactor fire have undergone “downward migration” into the soil…
The dark energy illusion – What if Copernicus were wrong and the earth actually has a special place in the universe? Not some metaphysical, philosophical, supernatural special place, but just special in that the local environment is not the same as other local environments across the reaches of space?