Dec 24, 2009
Over on the Intute site in the physical sciences section you will find the December science news round up from yours truly:
What’s the buzz at the LHC? – After a frustrating false start, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) finally got it up and running in its underground home at CERN on the Swiss-French border near Geneva. The scientists behind the world’s biggest scientific, announced that they had primed to energies higher than any previous particle accelerator has ever reached; beating the US Tevatron at Fermilab in Illinois by 20%.
Diatom delights – Researchers have shown that networks of chitin filaments are an integral part of the silica shells of tiny marine creatures known as diatoms. The discovery could open the way to emulating these incredibly diverse and potentially very useful substances for materials science and engineering applications.
Mercury mystery unearthed – A recent study shows just how long mercury pollutants can persist in the environment and continue to cause problems. The study demonstrates that riverbank and floodplain soils contaminated by a textile manufacturing plant in Waynesboro, Virginia more than half a century ago are the major source of mercury in fish from several Shenandoah Valley rivers.
And, chemistry news in my Alchemist column on ChemWeb.com, a little later than usual, but just in time for the festivities:
Amyloid fibres could become a target for novel therapeutics in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, according to UK scientists who have demonstrated the toxicity of these substances once thought to be inert. In nanotechnology, US researchers have developed a resonating detector that can count and size up nanoparticles without the need for any kind of tag. Chemists at Harvard U have developed oxidizing gold nanoparticles for making esters, the key ingredients of biofuels and fragrances. In the analytical world, scientists have discovered that the mysterious varnish on Stradivarius violins has no secret sauce after all. A peptide forest coating windows and solar panels could make window cleaners redundant. Finally, anticancer compounds win Guillaume Lessene a major award in Australia.