Hot, Tardy Alchemist

copper-alchemistBit late with the update for The Alchemist this week, had so much else to talk about before a slot was available, there was also the matter of our family vacation, hope readers find the info current enough to be of interest.

The Alchemist recently learned that music could be the key to the smooth running of a lab-on-a-chip, while tweaking quantum dots for the light show might be possible through physical rather than chemical changes. Imprinted polymers could remove vitamin B2 from beer giving it a longer-lasting flavor, we learn, while Japanese scientists have sniffed out the chemical basis of at least one form of aromatherapy. In the analytical arena, a simple enzyme-based test has been devised for spotting melamine adulteration in milk samples. Finally, the establishment of the InChI Trust will promote the use of chemical string theory for structure searching.

My Intute Spotlight column migrated to the all-new Hot Topics section on Intute while I was on holiday, so you can access my physical words for August here:

Inorganic oil – The stock explanation for the origins of crude oil and natural gas is that these hydrocarbons are the end product of millions of years of geochemical processing of long-dead sea creatures. But, these materials might also be found much deeper in the Earth’s mantle and may have a non-organic origin hinting at a controversial mechanism for a partial replenishment of reserves.

Over and Oort on the comet’s tale – An enormous asteroid or comet smashing into the Earth 65 million years ago killed off the dinosaurs. But, according to a new study by US scientists, published in the wake of an impact event on Jupiter, cometary collisions with Earth probably didn’t cause any more than one other extinction event during life’s history.

Nano X-ray tube – Material scientists, medical physicists, and cancer biologists will all benefit from the development by US researchers of a low-cost X-ray tube packed with sharp-tipped carbon nanotubes.