Dec 12, 2007
This month’s physical sciences Spotlight over on the Intute site turns on oceanic plans, lunar volcanoes, and pearl necklaces:
Infertile Global Warming Plan – Plans to fertilize the oceans with iron or other nutrients in order to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide and so ward off global warming are not viable according to a report from researchers at Stanford and Oregon State Universities.
Buckyball Pearl Necklace – A new type of polymer material made by stringing together the tiny football-shaped fullerene molecules has been synthesised by chemists in Spain. Under the microscope, the material resembles a string of pearls.
Volcanoes of the Moon – Even though astronauts have set foot on the Moon, analysed its surface and brought samples back to Earth, we do not yet fully understand the Moon’s origins nor how it has evolved during the last few billion years since its formation. New clues have now emerged from a study of the Moon’s past volcanic activity that suggest that volcanic activity began 4.35 billion years ago (+/- 0.15billion), a relatively short time after the formation of our planet’s biggest satellite.
And, in ChemWeb’s The Alchemist newsletter: Small-scale chemistry with a variety of applications that could improve not only healthcare but the environment has led to the Small Times innovation award going to Louisiana Tech’s Yuri Lvov, The Alchemist hears this week. Also in chemistry news, old anticancer drugs could be repurposed for treating genetic blood disorders sickle-cell anemia and beta-thalassemia.
A barrel of fun is to be had analyzing wine barrels for dioxins and polyaromatic hydrocarbons, while laser light has been found to switch vanadia films from reflective to transparent without heating, a possible boon for optoelectronics applications. Finally, in this week’s Alchemical selection, holy double-helical nanorings of DNA with single-stranded gaps have been engineered by German scientists while US researchers have demonstrated that pouring millions of dollars and tons of iron into the oceans may not have the desired effect on reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels after all.