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Another four bricks in the wall (part III)

Editor’s note: this post written by Brett Thornton and Shawn Burdette is a follow-up piece to the blog post ‘New kids on the p-block‘, the Commentary article ‘Another four bricks in the wall‘ published in the April 2016 issue of Nature Chemistry, and the blog post ‘Another four bricks in the wall (part II)‘.  Read more

On Patrick Blackett, the ideal experimental physicist, and what it takes to excel at interdisciplinary research

The grandly named Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett was the Cambridge physicist on whose desk Robert Oppenheimer purportedly left a poisoned apple. The veracity of this yarn will likely never be determined, and it’s rather unfortunateShow More Summary

Lessons on management styles from Edward Teller, Hans Bethe and Robert Oppenheimer: A question of temperament

Oppenheimer entertaining at Los Alamos. He could be awonderful host. March, 1943. War is raging across the European continent. The Nazis have faced two significant drawbacks in their relentless quest for racial and geographical conquest...Show More Summary

So, what exactly do you do for Evil McSinister Corporation?

Science magazine has an article on one of those ubiquitous, awkward situations that anyone who works for the chemical, pharmaceutical or biotech industry must find themselves in at least once or twice in their careers: having to explain...Show More Summary

Two politicians speak out against the Air Force's new cruise missile

There are three key questions that remain unanswered. First, does the military need a new nuclear cruise missile? In other words, are there any enemy targets we can no longer “hold at risk” using existing nuclear and conventional weapons and the platforms used to deliver them? We are aware of no such military necessity. Show More Summary

Through the Lens: Interview with Andrea TomlinsonBy Emilie...

Through the Lens: Interview with Andrea Tomlinson By Emilie Haertsch Andrea Tomlinson works as the technical services librarian at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. She has a long history with the organization and joined the staff in...Show More Summary

Unifiers and diversifiers in chemistry and other sciences

Dmitri Mendeleev was a rare example of aunifier in chemistry. Chemistry in general hasbenefited more from diversifiers. On my computer screen right now are two molecules. They are both large rings with about thirty atoms each, a motley mix of carbons, hydrogens, oxygens and nitrogens. Show More Summary

Take a deep breath. The oxygen you just inhaled was once a...

Take a deep breath. The oxygen you just inhaled was once a weapon of mass destruction. Nearly 2.5 billion years ago cyanobacteria—more commonly known by the misnomer blue-green algae—evolved to use sunlight to cleave hydrogen from water molecules, storing the pilfered hydrogen as a chemical fuel while expelling the leftover oxygen in the air. Show More Summary

The Periodic Table of Element Eytmologies

Tweet Follow @Sci_ents The seventh row of the periodic table is complete, resplendent with four new names for the elements 113, 115, 117 and 118. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (the organisation charged with naming the elements) has suggested these should be called nihonium (Nh); moscovium (Mc); tennessine (Ts) and oganesson (Og) … Continue reading »

Through the Lens: Interview with Ron BrashearBy Emilie...

Through the Lens: Interview with Ron Brashear By Emilie Haertsch Ronald Brashear is the Arnold Thackray Director of the Othmer Library and director of the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry. For over twenty years he has worked in the special collections libraries and history of science fields. 1. Show More Summary

"Understand what I love about America": Physicist Hans Bethe's moving letter to his teacher Arnold Sommerfeld

Hans Bethe, one of the true giants of twentieth century science, was also one of Adolf Hitler's greatest gifts to the United States. Fired from his position at the University of Tubingen in 1933, Bethe moved first to Britain and then, after an invitation from a former colleague, to Cornell University in 1935. Show More Summary

Chemists Without Borders Receives Award from the American Chemical Society

Congratulations to Chemists Without Borders for receiving an American Chemical Society P3 Award! The purpose of the Partners for Progress and Prosperity (P3) Award is to encourage and recognize successful and exemplary partnerships.Show More Summary

Mendel, Weldon and the uncertainty of counterfactals

Nature has an opinion piece by Gregory Radick who is a professor at the University of Leeds about Mendel's legacy. The focus of Radick's article which is titled "Teach students the biology of their time" is on a counterfactual: whatShow More Summary

Guess who I found “hanging around” at the Beckman...

Guess who I found “hanging around” at the Beckman Institute in Illinois? Displayed proudly in the interdisciplinary research institute they founded, Arnold and Mabel Beckman’s portrait reminded me of a few of Dr. Beckman’s “Rules that...Show More Summary

Friday levity: Darwin Myths

There's a hashtag named ?#? DarwinMyths? going around on Twitter. Here are a few that I made up. Except that they aren't myths, of course. 1. Darwin who was a failed doctor originally planned to write a book titled "The Origin of Sepsis" to make up for his medical school failures.2. Show More Summary

Skeptics need to cast a much wider net

Professional provocateur John Horgan bravely took on a room full of skeptics a few days ago when he scolded them for what he thinks are their misplaced priorities. Horgan thinks that a lot of skeptics are taking on ‘soft’ targets – homeopathy, astrology, UFOS etc. Show More Summary

The future - not in our stars but in our genes: A review of Siddhartha Mukherjee's "The Gene: An Intimate History"

Genetics is humanity and life writ large, and this book on the gene by physician and writer Siddhartha Mukherjee paints on a canvas as large as life itself. It deals with both the history of genetics and its applications in health and disease. Show More Summary

Secrets from the Archives

I was recently asked to give a talk. “About what?” I asked. “Anything you like as long as there’s...

Cancer and the origins of life: The Age of Metabolism

The NYT has an interesting article on the Warburg Effect and how it can be used to provide a new weapon in the treatment of cancer (the article is part of a larger series on cancer in the weekend magazine). The effect which is namedShow More Summary

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