Congratulations to Siegfried R. Waldvogel who received the 2020 ECS Organic and Biological Electrochemistry Division Manuel M. Baizer Award in recognition of his significant contributions to the field of organic electrochemistry. The award is sponsored by The Electrosynthesis Company, Inc. and Monsanto Company. A symposium and reception in his honor will be held at the 237th ECS Meeting with IMCS 2020.

Siegfried R. Waldvogel

Waldvogel received his PhD in 1996 from the University of Bochum/Max-Planck-Institute for Coal Research. After postdoctoral research at the Scripps Research Institute, he worked at the University of Münster, then as professor of organic chemistry at the University of Bonn. Waldvogel became a full professor in 2010 at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. He has recently been named the director of the Gutenberg University Forschungskollegs.

Allen J. Bard

Allen J. Bard, regarded as the “father of modern electrochemistry,” was recently announced the winner of the 2019 King Faisal International Prize in Science. According to UT NEWS, the University of Texas at Austin professor of chemistry received $200,000 and a gold medal from the King Faisal Foundation, as a result of the big win.

Bard, an ECS member for over 50 years, is a big believer in chemistry—the chemistry found among people.

“There’s a chemistry that can develop in a group, and that chemistry can lead to very good science,” says Bard.

So it’s no surprise that his team player mentality has indeed led him to “very good science,” so good it earned him the international award, given to only those who have made outstanding contributions in physics, chemistry, biology, or mathematics through original scientific research that brings major benefits to humanity.

(more…)

Green chemistryNew research is building a bridge from nature’s chemistry to greener, more efficient synthetic chemistry.

Researchers analyzed biocatalysts evolved by nature for their effectiveness in a variety of synthetic chemical reactions. The results, published in Nature Chemistry, open the door to promising practices for chemists, pointing to not only more efficient but also more powerful tools for chemists.

The researchers started with microorganisms that have, over the millennia, developed complex chemical reactions to create molecules with important biological activity for various purposes, such as defense mechanisms. The scientists then analyzed the chemical pathways that give rise to these potentially useful molecules to determine how they can be repurposed to create compounds synthetically in the lab.

“Nature has evolved catalytic tools that would enable chemists to build molecules that we can’t easily build just using traditional chemistry,” says senior study author Alison Narayan, assistant professor at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute. “Our work bridges the two worlds of biosynthesis and synthetic chemistry.”

(more…)

By: Timothy J. Jorgensen, Georgetown University

Ask people to name the most famous historical woman of science and their answer will likely be: Madame Marie Curie. Push further and ask what she did, and they might say it was something related to radioactivity. (She actually discovered the radioisotopes radium and polonium.) Some might also know that she was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. (She actually won two.)

But few will know she was also a major hero of World War I. In fact, a visitor to her Paris laboratory in October of 1917 – 100 years ago this month – would not have found either her or her radium on the premises. Her radium was in hiding and she was at war.

For Curie, the war started in early 1914, as German troops headed toward her hometown of Paris. She knew her scientific research needed to be put on hold. So she gathered her entire stock of radium, put it in a lead-lined container, transported it by train to Bordeaux – 375 miles away from Paris – and left it in a safety deposit box at a local bank. She then returned to Paris, confident that she would reclaim her radium after France had won the war.

With the subject of her life’s work hidden far away, she now needed something else to do. Rather than flee the turmoil, she decided to join in the fight. But just how could a middle-aged woman do that? She decided to redirect her scientific skills toward the war effort; not to make weapons, but to save lives.

(more…)

OceanScientists have found that a common enzyme can speed up—by 500 times—the rate-limiting part of the chemical reaction that helps the Earth lock away, or sequester, carbon dioxide in the ocean.

“While the new paper is about a basic chemical mechanism, the implication is that we might better mimic the natural process that stores carbon dioxide in the ocean,” says lead author Adam Subhas, a California Institute of Technology (Caltech) graduate student.

Simple problem, complex answer

The researchers used isotopic labeling and two methods for measuring isotope ratios in solutions and solids to study calcite—a form of calcium carbonate—dissolving in seawater and measure how fast it occurs at a molecular level.

It all started with a very simple, very basic problem: measuring how long it takes for calcite to dissolve in seawater.

“Although a seemingly straightforward problem, the kinetics of the reaction is poorly understood,” says Berelson, professor of earth sciences at the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.

(more…)

Enzyme-embedded polymer

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researcher Sarah Baker measures the amount of methanol produced by the enzyme-embedded polymer.
Image: George Kitrinos/LLNL

A new study has emerged from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory demonstrating that through the combination of biology and 3-D printing, scientists can turn methane into methanol.

In recent years, methanol has shown a lot of promise as a clean burning fuel. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the alcohol’s high-performance and low emission levels could make it an ideal alternative to gasoline for cars.

On the other hand, methane is a potent greenhouse gas that is adding to the acceleration of climate change. While the chemical compound does not stay in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide, it is 84 times more potent due to its ability to effectively absorb the sun’s heat and warm the atmosphere. In fact, methane has outpaced carbon dioxide in climate change impact over the least 100 years, with methane’s impact being 25 times greater.

The development from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory not only provide a clean burning fuel alternative, it effectively helps combat the pressing effects of climate change.

(more…)

Remembering Harry Kroto

Harry KrotoA giant among giants

Harry Kroto, distinguished chemist and pioneering nanocarbons researcher, passed away on April 30, 2016 at the age of 76. Kroto, a giant among giants, made an immense impact not only on ECS and its scientific discipline – but the world at large.

“Harry Kroto’s passing is a great loss to science and society as a whole,” says Bruce Weisman, professor at Rice University and division chair of the ECS Nanocarbons Division. “He was an exceptional researcher whose 1985 work with Rick Smalley and Bob Curl launched the field of nanocarbons research and nanotechnology.”

Revolutionizing chemistry

That work conducted by Kroto, Smalley, and Curl yielded the discovery of the C60 structure that became known as the buckminsterfullerene (or the “buckyball” for short). Prior to this breakthrough, there were only two known forms of pure carbon: graphite and diamond. The work opened a new branch in chemistry with unbound possibilities, earning the scientists the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

The field of nanocarbons and fullerenes, since the discovery by Kroto and company, has evolved into an area with almost limitless potential. The applications for this scientific discipline are wide-ranging – from energy harvesting to sensing and biosensing to biomedical applications and far beyond. Research in this field continues to fill the pages of scholarly journals, making possible innovations that were not even conceived before the seminal 1985 work.

(more…)

Up until the 1948, the lemon-lime soda 7-Up contained lithium salts, a substance most commonly known for its medical qualities used in the treatment of major depressive disorders.

While the additive has long since been removed from 7-Up, the scientists from the YouTube channel Periodic Videos thought it would be interesting to drop a piece of lithium into the current day recipe for the soda.

Initially, the results were as expected: nothing special. But after a few more seconds, the solution began transforming from its clear, bubbly state to a dark, sludgy brown. Watch as Sir Martyn Poliakoff explains the unexpected phenomena.

Observing a Chemical Reaction

In order to improve upon existing technology, researchers typically take a deeper look into current generation models to get a deeper understanding of everything that is happening on the small-scale. Answering questions as to why something happens or when it happens could allow researchers to make current technology more efficient.

One of the things that researchers have been working to more fully understand for some time now is that of a chemical reaction. For the first time ever, researchers from MIT have observed the exact moment when a chemical reaction occurs between two substances. From this, the researchers were able to measure the energy of the transition state—something that was previously thought impossible due to the complexity of chemical reactions.

“Your reactants and products are stable valleys on either side of a mountain range, and the transition state is the pass,” said Josh Baraban, lead author of the study. “It’s the most convenient way to get from one to the other. Because it only exists as you go from as one thing to another, it’s never really been thought of as something that you can easily study directly.”

This from IFL Science:

The team studied a chemical process called isomerization. In this reaction, one molecule is transformed into another molecule that has the same atoms but they are arranged in a different way. The researchers looked at acetylene, a molecule formed by two carbon atoms bound to each other, and each bound to a hydrogen atom.

(more…)

Simple, Inexpensive Electrochemical Diagnostics

A team of chemists from the University of Montreal have developed a DNA-based electrochemical diagnostic test that is inexpensive and can provide results in just a few minutes. This development has the potential to lead to point-of-care medical devices that can provide results for diagnoses ranging from cancer to autoimmune diseases in just minutes.

Not only is this development exciting for the advancement of the scientific community, it also has the potential to impact global health due to the low cost and ease of use of the test. The new development could help cut lag time and expenses between diagnosis and treatment for both communicable and non-communicable diseases on a global level.

Molecular Diagnostics at Home

“Despite the power of current diagnostic tests, a significant limitation is that they still require complex laboratory procedures. Patients typically must wait for days or even weeks to receive the results of their blood tests,” Alex Vallée-Bélisle said, head of the research team.

At the core of the DNA-based device is one of the simplest forces in chemistry: steric effects. Essentially, the new development focuses on the phenomenon of atoms getting too close to one another and using force to push off each other. This reaction allows researchers to detect a wide array of protein markers.

(more…)

  • Page 1 of 6