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Happy Birthday to the man who found life slipping away from his fingers

“In my quest for the secret of life I started my research in histology. Unsatisfied by the information that cellular morphology could give me about life, I turned to physiology. Finding physiology too complex, I took up pharmacology....Show More Summary

Functional Stupidity in Academia Blocks Meaningful Efforts to Pursue Sustainability

by Josh Kearns Hi - Your erstwhile correspondent Josh Kearns here! As a Chemist Without Borders doing work of on-the-ground relevance, you may enjoy this critical look at the continuing struggle to bring academia into accord with the real world.... Show More Summary

Cell phones really are becoming the all-in-one device

George M. Whitesides of Harvard University and coworkers have invented uMed, an electrochemical detector that uses the voice channel of a cell phone on any cellular network to transmit data for remote analysis. It costs about $25, so it could bring water quality testing to people that cannot afford expensive electrochemical instruments. Show More Summary

"Smart lens" technology

I have a pretty strong corrective lens prescription. I have astigmatism in my left eye which is not corrected very well by glasses, but toric contact lenses do a pretty good job since they are weighted and return to proper position with every blink. Show More Summary

REMINDER - IdeaConnection Projects Q&A call: 9am PST August 7, 2014

IdeaConnection Projects Q&A call: 9am PST August 7, 2014 Chemists Without Borders - IdeaConnection Projects Conference Call Agenda Dates: Aug 7 th 2014 9am PST LISTEN -- IdeaConnection QA Conf Call July 17 2014 6pm.WMA Project Overview...Show More Summary

Business, Bees, and Nicotine

Since 1945, the use of pesticides has risen 3,300 percent, however crop loss due to pests has not decreased. Despite the fact that USA (on average) uses 2.2 billion pounds of pesticides annually, crop loss has increased by 20 percent. Show More Summary

IdeaConnection Projects Q&A call: 6pm PST July 17, 2014

Chemists Without Borders - IdeaConnection Projects Conference Call Agenda Dates: July 17 6pm PST and ALSO on Aug 7 th 2014 9am PST Project Overview in Google Docs: CWB IdeaConnection Solutions Join a Team: 1) ACTIVE 8504 Cottage Industry...Show More Summary

Hack your inkjet printer and turn it into a lab robot

If you stop and think about it for a moment, you will realise what an astonishing feat of precision engineering your colour printer is. It can take the primary colours – cyan, yellow, magenta and black – and mix them together carefully enough to achieve more than a million different hues and shades. Not only … Continue reading »

Happy Birthday to the man with five brains

Today is Murray Gell-Mann's birthday. John Brockman calls him "the man with five brains, each one of which is smarter than yours". We are thankful he is still with us and holding forth on a variety of important problems. Gell-Mann of...Show More Summary

Major fire destroys Nottingham University’s new GSK labs

Nottingham University, last night, lost its new chemistry building in what has been described as a ‘major fire‘. The building which has been part fund GSK was still under construction, so thankfully no-one injured. Pictures posted on twitter show the building engulfed with flames. However firefighters have brought the blaze under control, and no other … Continue reading »

Aspiring Graduate Students: You have questions, FSU Graduate Recruiting & Admissions Committee has answers!

Last December, Mike Shatruk, chair of Florida State University’s chemistry graduate recruiting & admissions committee, hosted an AMA (ask me anything) on The post generated considerable interest with 191 upvotes and 178 comments. Show More Summary

Total Recall - Synthetic organic chemistry is kinda slow and complicated!

To everyone's surprise I spent a day in the lab the other day doing some actual real life research. I forgot how hard, slow and complicated that stuff is. It would probably not be a bad idea for supervisors to leave the office and spend a day doing some lab work occasionally. Show More Summary

Modular drug design software?

The latest issue of C&EN has an interesting article (unfortunately subscription only) about how quantum chemists are making code for standard protocols in quantum chemistry calculations available to each other as off-the-shelf modules. Show More Summary

The 2014 Fields and Nevanlinna prizes: Celebrating diversity

"And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity." - John F. Kennedy An Iranian woman, a first and a second generation Indian, an Englishman and a Brazilian. Most of them working in the United States - The 2014 Fields and Nevanlinna prizes celebrate diversity like no other. Show More Summary

How Robin Williams helped me out in graduate school

Spring 2004. I was a callow first year graduate student, with an insouciance and naiveté befitting a first year graduate student. At that point like most of my fellow grads, I was hungry for knowledge and thought that everything that I needed to know would be found in books and lectures. Show More Summary

Celebrating the 1939 Leo Szilard letter to FDR and setting the record straight

Leo Szilard was the principal architect of the famousletter to FDR. But even today Einstein's name is the onemost associated with the event. This needs to change(Image: NNSA). Today marks the 74th anniversary of the famous letter that physicist Leo Szilard wrote to President Franklin Roosevelt. Show More Summary

The complex truth about "smart" drugs

In 'Limitless', the character played by Bradley Cooper takes a cognitive enhancement pill that allows him to finish his book in four days, learn the piano in a week and make millions on the stock market in two weeks (Picture: Philadelphia Soundstages). Show More Summary

The clearest essay on physics I have read: The beauty and clarity of Paul Dirac's prose

Paul Dirac was sort of the Ernest Hemingway of physics, only better. Both his equations and his prose were as tight, spare and to the point as Hemingway. But unlike the delightfully rough-hewn storytelling of Hemingway Dirac's creation were, in Freeman Dyson's words, "like perfect mathematical sculptures falling from the sky". Show More Summary

Genius and Einstein: From 'Great Man' to 'Every Man'?

Einstein is the poster child for genius because he was a genius The American organic chemist Robert Burns Woodward was a genius; the craft at which he excelled better than anyone else was making molecules, some of which were so complex that nobody before him thought they could be made. Show More Summary

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