May 29, 2007
In my fortnightly Alchemist column over on ChemWeb, I take a fast and furious look at a few of the chemical happenings in the news. This week, geochemical biomarkers are rewarded for pioneering our historical understanding of climate change, while a seemingly paradoxical polymer emerges from mathematics to help compute future optical chips.
Also on the roster a Titanic effort has been undertaken to reveal the chemical nature of the smog that shrouds one of Saturn’s moons (Titan, in case you couldn’t guess) and we reveal the stickiest of sticky materials that can bond materials as disparate as copper and silica tighter than ever before.
At least one dyed in the wool media health scare story has been cut short this month with the discovery that chemical relaxers, used by African-American women to straighten their hair, do not cause breast cancer, after all.
And, finally, new forensic information can now be dabbed from fingerprints thanks to research carried out in the UK. Antibody assays carried out on fingerprints can now be used to tell if an unidentified suspect smokes, whether they use drugs, or even if they have an illness.