Midsummer Alchemist

Midsummer alchemistFirst online in The Alchemist, this week, is an award for pioneering work in mass spectrometry and the study of molecules colliding with surfaces.

A way to create the thinnest polyethylene plastic bag ever has been devised by a team in Germany, while Australian researchers are hoping to defeat HIV by thickening the protective keratin layer of the penis using the female hormone estrogen. The Alchemist also learns that the Brits are turning to waste oil from that wondrous delicacy Fish & Chips to power up their cars.

Also in this week’s issue, Japanese chemists have synthesized what at first site looks to be a hexavalent carbon compound. Finally, with the long summer months stretching ahead of those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, The Alchemist cracks open a tinny and discovers that researchers in Venezuela have uncovered the secret to making beer last longer – add a little poison.

Grab all leads in my Alchemist column on Chemweb.com

Also live this week, the latest Intute Spotlight, covering rule-breaking quantum mechanics, exploiting pathological proteins in polymer science, and size does matter (on a planetary scale). Switch on the Spotlight. You may also like to check out the recent scientific discoveries archive on Sciencebase.