Chemistry

German pilsner? Spanish lager? Test has answer

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: December 1, 2011   View Article

Beer snobs wishing to know the provenance of their favorite European pilsners and lagers are in luck: Scientists have developed a new chemical test that can tell you where the brew originated.

Though such tests have long existed for products such as wine, spirits, coffee and tea, one hasn’t been developed yet for beer, noted Jose Marcos Jurado, a chemist at the University of Seville in Spain.

“That surprised me because beer is one of the most consumed beverages in the world,” he told me in an email today.

A nano-sized electric motor

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: September 5, 2011   View Article

Scientists have downsized the electric motor to the molecular level. That is, they’ve created an electrical motor that’s the size of a nanometer. About 60,000 of them equal the width of a human hair.

The molecular motor is a breakthrough that could lead to new types of electrical circuitry, according to Charles Sykes, an associate professor of chemistry at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

Periodic table gains two elements

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: June 7, 2011   View Article

The periodic table has two new heavyweights, elements 114 and 116, according to a committee of international chemists and physicists.

The elements are fleeting — they are created by bombarding lighter elements together and exist for less than a second before undergoing radioactive decay.

Fill’er up – with hydrogen?

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: May 2, 2011   View Article

Scientists have found and tested an abundant and inexpensive catalyst needed to make hydrogen fuel from sunlight and water, a necessary step on the road to the elusive clean, green hydrogen economy.

The new catalyst — molybdenum sulfide— is an alternative to platinum, an expensive and rare catalyst used to convert single ions of hydrogen split off from water into hydrogen gas.

Fast Food Made Up Mostly of Corn

Publication: Fast Food Made Up Mostly of Corn   Date: November 11, 2008   View Article

If you are what you eat, most Americans are an ear of corn, new research suggests.

A chemical analysis of popular fast foods reveals that some form of the grain appears as a main ingredient in most items—especially beef.

Life Began Between the Sheets … of Mica, Expert Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 10, 2007   View Article

Hot action between the sheets has given many human lives their start. Now a scientist says chemical comings and goings between sheets of the mineral mica may have gotten all life on Earth going.

The layered, flaky mineral could have provided support, shelter, and an energy source to jump-start formation of the first complex organic molecules, according to the new theory.

Antifreeze-Like Blood Lets Frogs Freeze and Thaw With Winter’s Whims

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 20, 2007   View Article

The freeze-thaw, freeze-thaw see-saw of this winter’s temperatures may be a sign of global warming. But for now wood frogs are weathering the flux in style, according to an expert on the amphibians.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach