The American Chemical Society sends you a mug every year when you pay your dues. Each year the element featured on the mug advances along the periodic table by 1 atomic number. This year I got carbon, or element 6, which has a nice drawing of graphite on it. I joined ACS when I was 34, meaning to get an osmium mug I will have to live to be 110, so literally what is the point can you tell me.
Electrochemist Allen J. Bard was awarded the Enrico Fermi Award earlier this year. He graduated from the City College of New York (where I work) in 1955. A few times a week I tell someone to look something up in his book.
I just had a paper published in The Journal of Materials Chemistry A about some research done at Brookhaven National Lab. It’s cool and new because it uses extremely high-power X-rays that can penetrate thick materials, even metals. The technique was developed to find points of strain inside high-performance materials like turbine blades. We use it to do the same thing, but inside batteries. And not just small batteries, but very thick ones, like D-cell batteries, which are an inch or two across.
Inside the battery, the X-rays bounce off crystal faces of the materials, and because of that you can know things about how far apart the atoms are. A D-cell has zinc at its center (anode) and manganese dioxide around its outside (cathode). The lines in the image above are like fingerprints of these materials. (And the numbers like (002) refer to the crystal faces themselves.)
Another cool thing about this technique is that it is very fast. You can scan the battery in a few minutes. This means that as it’s charging and discharging you can watch the materials changing in real time, inside the sealed battery. Basically this is what we do in the paper, seeing some things no one has ever been able to see before (except by cracking a battery open after cycling it, which can sometimes be effective, but not always). Brookhaven (on Long Island, in New York) is one of the only places in the world you can do this.
We took the data for this paper during a couple of intense sessions at Brookhaven. One was almost a year ago during a snowstorm, and another was a 20-hour block of borrowed time that ended with a fire alarm.
THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, and has been shown effective in treating several medical conditions such as MS, chronic pain, and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it also causes cognitive side effects such as impaired working memory, lethargy, and paranoia. Especially for long-term treatment, these side effects might be detrimental for some patients. Thus there is a concerted effort to understand how THC’s cognitive side effects work and how to inhibit them.
A recent paper by researchers at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center shows that THC causes increased production of an enzyme COX-2. Ironically COX-2 is associated with inflammation and pain because it produces the chemical agents that cause them. Certain classes of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) work by inhibiting COX-2.
The researchers found that mice given THC with COX-2 inhibitors did not exhibit the characteristic memory loss and “fear conditioning” of mice given THC alone. Importantly, the anti-Alzheimer’s benefit was also retained. This could be a major finding for medical marijuana.
Clear Science on recent medical research re: what causes the “druggy” effects of marijuana. If this doesn’t get me in with the millennial generation I surrender.
I poured water on a grease fire. Guess what, that shit flames up just like they say it does.
— Thanks Tea Party. What is it again that you guys contribute to society?
There are 5.7 million scientists and engineers in the United States. They make up the largest percentage of the workforce in Los Angeles, Denver, and Boston, all of which are great places to find a science job.
Today I don’t have to give attribution for this graphic or study, because the National Science Foundation website is shut down.
Since water is diamagnetic, i.e. is very (very) weakly repulsed in a magnetic field, you can use a big magnet to levitate anything containing water like cherry tomatoes, frogs, and grasshoppers. Don’t recall the details, but when this research came out I read the paper and I think the magnet was the size of a room with all the cooling, etc, and the hole was just big enough for the smallest kind of tomato and a tiny species of frog. There might be a lawyerly clause in Magneto’s contract that excludes paramagnetism and diamagnetism. PS It said it didn’t hurt the frog that I remember.
“The news is bad.” That’s how Photon Sciences Accelerator Operations Group Leader Emil Zitvogel started an email to key individuals, alerting them to a vacuum leak that occurred in the NSLS X-Ray Ring on Saturday, June 15.
I was complaining about this a while back because I was supposed to have time at the National Synchrotron Light Source starting that weekend. It was finally fixed on July 8. They were nice enough to write an article about the dudes who actually fixed it.
In the coming weeks Clear Science is going to talk about how carbon from CO2 gets stitched together into chains of carbon. That’s called “carbon fixation” and it’s how the carbon you’re made of initially gets put together that way.
It’s important for global warming, because when you burn fossil fuels like we are you’re making CO2 way faster than plants/bacteria can stitch it back together.
Whoever made that cool transparent png of a tree, thanks man.