Chemistry, News, Nutrition

Simple way of cooking rice could halve its calories

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I know, the title sounds like one of those scams that promise you’ll lose weight – but this is all science all the way. Researchers in Sri Lanka have found a simple way of cooking the rice that not only reduces calories by half, but also provides other health benefits. The key addition is coconut oil.

Chemistry, News

Sandwiching water between graphene makes square ice crystals at room temperature

In square ice (left) water molecules are locked at a right angle. This looks nothing like the familiar hexagonal ice (right).

In a most unexpected find, the same University of Manchester team that isolated graphene for the first time in 2003 found that water flattens into square crystals – a never encountered lattice configuration – when squeezed between two layers of graphene. The square ice qualifies as a new crystalline phase of ice, joining 17 others previously discovered. The finding could potentially improve filtration, distillation and desalination processes.

Chemistry, News

This 3D printer for small molecules might change organic chemistry forever

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At his lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Martin Burke laid the foundation for what he simply calls “The Machine” – an automated small molecule synthesizer that’s set to change the way chemists assemble chemicals forever. It’s like a 3D printer, only for molecules. Starting with some basic chemicals, which Burke and colleagues separate into blocks, the machine assembles all sorts of molecules in a modular fashion, like pinning Lego bricks. Hours and hours of toiling in the lab might now be dedicated to more important business, and molecules yet to be synthesized can now be attempted. These small molecules hold tremendous potential in medicine, but technology is also sure to exploit the machine – anything from LEDs to solar cells.

Chemistry, News

Why Van Gogh’s paintings are fading to white

Left: Van Gogh painting “Wheat Stack under a Cloudy Sky” (Kröller-Müller Museum, Netherlands). The paint sample area is indicated by a white circle. Upper right: Detail of the painting in the sample area, lower right: Detail of the paint sample (picture: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)

Belgian scientists have revealed a refined explanation for the chemical process that’s currently degrading Vincent van Gogh’s famous paintings, which are losing their bright red. Like other old paintings, van Gogh’s works are losing their saturated hue because of the interaction between red led and light. Using sophisticated X-ray crystallographic methods, the researchers identified a key carbon mineral called plumbonacrite in one of his paintings, which explains the process even better.

Archaeology, Chemistry

Scientists taste 170 year old shipwrecked beer

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Scientists in Finland have been keeping themselves busy testing two different beers… for science, of course. These are not just your average beers though – they’re almost two centuries old, recovered by divers exploring a 1840s shipwreck in the Baltic Sea back in 2010.

Chemistry, News, Nutrition

What makes indian cuisine so special – a molecular explanation

Image Credit: Pixshark

After they analyzed more than 2,000 traditional Indian recipes down to the molecular levels, scientists now think they know what makes Indian cuisine so appealing. Unlike western dishes, Indian recipes are based on ingredients whose flavors that don’t overlap for a unique taste that dumbstrucks anyone who tries it for the first time.

Biology, Chemistry, News

Spider Venom May Hold Key to New Generation of Painkillers

Spider venom may be crucial in alleviating chronic pain - something which affects 20% of all people. Image via Wiki Commons.

Scientists undertook the gargantuan task of analyzing the compound chemicals found in the venom of 206 spiders, and they discovered what may lead to a new generation of painkillers, improving the lives of over 1 billion people.

Alien life, Chemistry

NASA finds methane on Mars, indicates life may have existed

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After an exhaustive analysis conducted over a year and a half, NASA’s Curiosity Rover has finally confirmed the existence of methane on Mars, somewthing which indicates that life may have existed (or still exist) on Mars.

Chemistry, News

A chemical bond is born: X-rays image reactants as they form new molecules for the first time

chemical bond image

Using ultra-fast laser techniques employed by the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists have peered through the transitional state that reactants go through before joining in a molecule. The implications for chemistry are massive and the findings might spur a new field of science. Already, we’re hearing about some very interesting conclusions, although much more work needs to be

Chemistry, Materials, News, Technology

Penta-graphene is stronger and better than graphene – we only need to make it, now

Penta-graphene would be a unique two-dimensional carbon allotrope composed exclusively of pentagons.

Chinese researchers ran simulations and found that a pentagon-containing version of graphene is theoretically stable. The 2D allotrope of carbon is made up of atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a repeating pentagon pattern, while graphene is made up of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagon pattern, like a chicken wire. Graphene is the strongest material in the world and fantastic electrical conductor,