Archive for the ‘chemistry’ category

Nov 25, 2021

‘Super jelly’ made from 80 per cent water can survive being run over

Posted by in categories: chemistry, robotics/AI, transportation

It could replace cartilage in knees and even help create soft robots 🤯

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s ‘super jelly’ — a bizarre new material that can survive being run over by a car even though it’s composed of 80 per cent water.

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Nov 24, 2021

We might not know half of what’s in our cells, new AI technique reveals

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, media & arts, robotics/AI

Most human diseases can be traced to malfunctioning parts of a cell—a tumor is able to grow because a gene wasn’t accurately translated into a particular protein or a metabolic disease arises because mitochondria aren’t firing properly, for example. But to understand what parts of a cell can go wrong in a disease, scientists first need to have a complete list of parts.

By combining microscopy, biochemistry techniques and , researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and collaborators have taken what they think may turn out to be a significant leap forward in the understanding of human cells.

The technique, known as Multi-Scale Integrated Cell (MuSIC), is described November 24, 2021 in Nature.

Nov 23, 2021

A UK Rocket Company Wants to Put Nuclear Fusion Power in Orbit by 2027

Posted by in categories: chemistry, military, nuclear energy, space travel

And it could halve the transit time to Mars.

Pulsar Fusion Ltd., a nuclear fusion company based in the United Kingdom, has recently designed and successfully tested its first launch-capable, high-power chemical rocket engine.

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Nov 23, 2021

Artificial intelligence powers protein-folding predictions

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, particle physics, robotics/AI

Rarely does scientific software spark such sensational headlines. “One of biology’s biggest mysteries ‘largely solved’ by AI”, declared the BBC. Forbes called it “the most important achievement in AI — ever”. The buzz over the November 2020 debut of AlphaFold2, Google DeepMind’s (AI) system for predicting the 3D structure of proteins, has only intensified since the tool was made freely available in July.

The excitement relates to the software’s potential to solve one of biology’s thorniest problems — predicting the functional, folded structure of a protein molecule from its linear amino-acid sequence, right down to the position of each atom in 3D space. The underlying physicochemical rules for how proteins form their 3D structures remain too complicated for humans to parse, so this ‘protein-folding problem’ has remained unsolved for decades.

Researchers have worked out the structures of around 160,000 proteins from all kingdoms of life. They have been using experimental techniques, such as X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), and then depositing their 3D information in the Protein Data Bank. Computational biologists have made steady gains in developing software that complements these methods, and have correctly predicted the 3D shapes of some molecules from well-studied protein families.

Nov 22, 2021

Quantum computers to explore precision oncology

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, computing, information science, quantum physics

The most promising application in biomedicine is in computational chemistry, where researchers have long exploited a quantum approach. But the Fraunhofer Society hopes to spark interest among a wider community of life scientists, such as cancer researchers, whose research questions are not intrinsically quantum in nature.

“It’s uncharted territory,” says oncologist Niels Halama of the DKFZ, Germany’s national cancer center in Heidelberg. Working with a team of physicists and computer scientists, Halama is planning to develop and test algorithms that might help stratify cancer patients, and select small subgroups for specific therapies from heterogeneous data sets.

This is important for precision medicine, he says, but classic computing has insufficient power to find very small groups in the large and complex data sets that oncology, for example, generates. The time needed to complete such a task may stretch out over many weeks—too long to be of use in a clinical setting, and also too expensive. Moreover, the steady improvements in the performance of classic computers are slowing, thanks in large part to fundamental limits on chip miniaturization.

Nov 21, 2021

Is the Universe Fine Tuned for Life? The Case FOR and AGAINST Fine Tuning

Posted by in categories: alien life, chemistry, particle physics

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Arguments for fine tuning: Physics has many constants like the charge of the electron, the gravitational constant, Planck’s constant. If any of their values were different, our universe, as we know it, would not be the same, and life would probably not exist.
0:00 — Defining fine tuning.
2:20 — Gravitational constant.
3:59 — Electromagnetic Force.
5:02 — Strong force.
6:13 — Weak force.
7:51 — Philosophical Arguments against fine tuning.
9:36 — Scientific arguments against fine tuning.
11:59 — Sentient puddle.
13:29 — Does fine tuning need an agent.
15:14 — Louse on the tail a lion.
Some say that it could not have occurred by chance, that there must be some agent, like a god that set up the constants to enable life.

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Nov 21, 2021

China unveils detailed goals for 5G-aided Industrial Internet of Things development

Posted by in categories: chemistry, information science, internet, robotics/AI

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on Saturday released its second batch of extended goals for promoting the usage of China’s 5G network and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

IIoT refers to the interconnection between sensors, instruments and other devices to enhance manufacturing efficiency and industrial processes. With a strong focus on machine-to-machine communication, big data and machine learning, the IIoT has been applied across many industrial sectors and applications.

The MIIT announced that the 5G IIoT will be applied in the petrochemical industry, building materials, ports, textiles and home appliances as the 2021 China 5G + Industrial Internet Conference kicked off Saturday in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province.

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Nov 20, 2021

Sustainable electrochemical process could revolutionize lithium-ion battery recycling

Posted by in categories: chemistry, sustainability

Spent lithium-ion batteries contain valuable metals that are difficult to separate from each other for recycling purposes. Used batteries present a sustainable source of these metals, especially cobalt and nickel, but the current methods used for their separation have environmental and efficiency drawbacks. A new technology uses electrochemistry to efficiently separate and recover the metals, making spent batteries a highly sustainable secondary source of cobalt and nickel—the reserves of which are currently dwindling.

A new study, led by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Xiao Su, uses selective electrodeposition to recover valuable metals from commercially sourced lithium manganese oxide—or NMC—battery electrodes. The method, published in the journal Nature Communications, produces final product purities of approximately 96.4% and 94.1% for cobalt and nickel, respectively, from spent NMC wastes.

Su said cobalt and nickel have similar electrochemical properties—or standard reduction potentials—making it challenging for chemists to recover pure forms of each metal from battery electrodes.

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Nov 18, 2021

What Causes “Old Book Smell”?

Posted by in categories: chemistry, materials

“A combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness” is how an international team of chemists describes the unique odor of old books in a study. Poetic, sure, but what causes it?

Books are made up almost entirely of organic materials: paper, ink, glue, fibers. All these materials react to light, heat, moisture, and even each other over the years, and release a number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). While the blend of compounds released by any one book is dependent on the exact things that went into making it, there’s only so much variation in materials.

The researchers tested 72 books and found some 15 compounds that came up again and again. They were reliable markers for degradation. These include acetic acid, benzaldehyde, butanol, furfural, octanal, methoxyphenyloxime, and other chemicals with funny-sounding names. A book’s smell is also influenced by its environment and materials it encounters over the course of its life (which is why some books have hints of cigarette smoke, others smell a little like coffee, and still others, cat dander).

Nov 18, 2021

Atom Computing: A Quantum Computing Startup That Believes It Can Ultimately Win The Qubit Race

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, engineering, particle physics, quantum physics

While traditional computers use magnetic bits to represent a one or a zero for computation, quantum computers use quantum bits or qubits to represent a one or a zero or simultaneously any number in between.

Today’s quantum computers use several different technologies for qubits. But regardless of the technology, a common requirement for all quantum computing qubits is that it must be scalable, high quality, and capable of fast quantum interaction with each other.

IBM uses superconducting qubits on its huge fleet of about twenty quantum computers. Although Amazon doesn’t yet have a quantum computer, it plans to build one using superconducting hardware. Honeywell and IonQ both use trapped-ion qubits made from a rare earth metal called ytterbium. In contrast, Psi Quantum and Xanadu use photons of light.

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