Archive for the ‘Chemistry’ Category

Man-made contribution to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is just 4.3%

February 26, 2017

This new paper finds that CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has risen by 110 ppm since 1750, but of this the human contribution is just 17 ppm. With the concentration now at 400 ppm, the human contribution is just 4.3%. The results indicate that almost all of the observed change of CO2 during the Industrial Era comes, not from anthropogenic emissions, but from changes of natural emission.

The general assumption by IPCC and the global warming fraternity that natural carbon dioxide absorption and emissions are miraculously in balance and, therefore that man-made emissions are solely responsible for the increase in carbon dioxide concentration is deeply flawed (if not plain stupid).

Clearly this paper is not at all to the liking of the religious zealots of the “global warming brigade” and is causing much heartburn among the faithful.

Hermann Harde, Scrutinizing the carbon cycle and CO2 residence time in the atmosphereGlobal and Planetary Change, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2017.02.009

Highlights

•An alternative carbon cycle is presented in agreement with the carbon 14 decay.
•The CO2 uptake rate scales proportional to the CO2 concentration.
•Temperature dependent natural emission and absorption rates are considered.
•The average residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is found to be 4 years.
•Paleoclimatic CO2 variations and the actual CO2 growth rate are well-reproduced.
•The anthropogenic fraction of CO2 in the atmosphere is only 4.3%.
•Human emissions only contribute 15% to the CO2 increase over the Industrial Era.

AbstractClimate scientists presume that the carbon cycle has come out of balance due to the increasing anthropogenic emissions from fossil fuel combustion and land use change. This is made responsible for the rapidly increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations over recent years, and it is estimated that the removal of the additional emissions from the atmosphere will take a few hundred thousand years. Since this goes along with an increasing greenhouse effect and a further global warming, a better understanding of the carbon cycle is of great importance for all future climate change predictions. We have critically scrutinized this cycle and present an alternative concept, for which the uptake of CO2 by natural sinks scales proportional with the CO2 concentration. In addition, we consider temperature dependent natural emission and absorption rates, by which the paleoclimatic CO2 variations and the actual CO2 growth rate can well be explained. The anthropogenic contribution to the actual CO2 concentration is found to be 4.3%, its fraction to the CO2 increase over the Industrial Era is 15% and the average residence time 4 years.

Conclusions.

Climate scientists assume that a disturbed carbon cycle, which has come out of balance by the increasing anthropogenic emissions from fossil fuel combustion and land use change, is responsible for the rapidly increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations over recent years. While over the whole Holocene up to the entrance of the Industrial Era (1750) natural emissions by heterotrophic processes and fire were supposed to be in equilibrium with the uptake by photosynthesis and the net oceanatmosphere gas exchange, with the onset of the Industrial Era the IPCC estimates that about 15 – 40 % of the additional emissions cannot further be absorbed by the natural sinks and are accumulating in the atmosphere.

The IPCC further argues that CO2 emitted until 2100 will remain in the atmosphere longer than 1000 years, and in the same context it is even mentioned that the removal of human-emitted CO2 from the atmosphere by natural processes will take a few hundred thousand years (high confidence) (see AR5-Chap.6-Executive-Summary).

Since the rising CO2 concentrations go along with an increasing greenhouse effect and, thus, a further global warming, a better understanding of the carbon cycle is a necessary prerequisite for all future climate change predictions. In their accounting schemes and models of the carbon cycle the IPCC uses many new and detailed data which are primarily focussing on fossil fuel emission, cement fabrication or net land use change (see AR5-WG1-Chap.6.3.2), but it largely neglects any changes of the natural emissions, which contribute to more than 95 % to the total emissions and by far cannot be assumed to be constant over longer periods (see, e.g.: variations over the last 800,000 years (Jouzel et al., 2007); the last glacial termination (Monnin et al., 2001); or the younger Holocene (Monnin et al., 2004; Wagner et al., 2004)).

Since our own estimates of the average CO2 residence time in the atmosphere differ by several orders of magnitude from the announced IPCC values, and on the other hand actual investigations of Humlum et al. (2013) or Salby (2013, 2016) show a strong relation between the natural CO2 emission rate and the surface temperature, this was motivation enough to scrutinize the IPCC accounting scheme in more detail and to contrast this to our own calculations.

Different to the IPCC we start with a rate equation for the emission and absorption processes, where the uptake is not assumed to be saturated but scales proportional with the actual CO2 concentration in the atmosphere (see also Essenhigh, 2009; Salby, 2016). This is justified by the observation of an exponential decay of 14C. A fractional saturation, as assumed by the IPCC, can directly be expressed by a larger residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere and makes a distinction between a turnover time and adjustment time needless. Based on this approach and as solution of the rate equation we derive a concentration at steady state, which is only determined by the product of the total emission rate and the residence time. Under present conditions the natural emissions contribute 373 ppm and anthropogenic emissions 17 ppm to the total concentration of 390 ppm (2012). For the average residence time we only find 4 years.

The stronger increase of the concentration over the Industrial Era up to present times can be explained by introducing a temperature dependent natural emission rate as well as a temperature affected residence time. With this approach not only the exponential increase with the onset of the Industrial Era but also the concentrations at glacial and cooler interglacial times can well be reproduced in full agreement with all observations. So, different to the IPCC’s interpretation the steep increase of the concentration since 1850 finds its natural explanation in the self accelerating processes on the one hand by stronger degassing of the oceans as well as a faster plant growth and decomposition, on the other hand by an increasing residence time at reduced solubility of CO2 in oceans.

Together this results in a dominating temperature controlled natural gain, which contributes about 85 % to the 110 ppm CO2 increase over the Industrial Era, whereas the actual anthropogenic emissions of 4.3 % only donate 15 %. These results indicate that almost all of the observed change of CO2 during the Industrial Era followed, not from anthropogenic emission, but from changes of natural emission.

The results are consistent with the observed lag of CO2 changes behind temperature changes (Humlum et al., 2013; Salby, 2013), a signature of cause and effect. Our analysis of the carbon cycle, which exclusively uses data for the CO2 concentrations and fluxes as published in AR5, shows that also a completely different interpretation of these data is possible, this in complete conformity with all observations and natural causalities. 

I expect there will be a concerted effort by the faithful to try and debunk this (and it has already started).

But I am inclined to give credence to this work – and not merely because it is in general agreement with my own conclusions about the Carbon cycle. Back in 2013 I posted

Even though the combustion of fossil fuels only contributes less than 4% of total carbon dioxide production (about 26Gt/year of 800+GT/year), it is usually assumed that the sinks available balance the natural sources and that the carbon dioxide concentration – without the effects of man – would be largely in equilibrium.  (Why carbon dioxide concentration should not vary naturally escapes me!). It seems rather illogical to me to claim that sinks can somehow distinguish the source of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and preferentially choose to absorb natural emissions and reject anthropogenic emissions! Also, there is no sink where the absorption rate would not increase with concentration.

Carbon dioxide emission sources (GT CO2/year)

  • Transpiration 440
  • Release from oceans 330
  • Fossil fuel combustion 26
  • Changing land use 6
  • Volcanoes and weathering 1

Carbon dioxide is accumulating in the atmosphere by about 15 GT CO2/ year. The accuracy of the amounts of carbon dioxide emitted by transpiration and by the oceans is no better than about 2 – 3% and that error band (+/- 20GT/year)  is itself almost as large as the total amount of emissions from fossil fuels.


 

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Chemistry Nobel awarded – for development of nanoscopy (super-resolved fluorescence microscopy)

October 8, 2014

UPDATE! Well the award has gone to the development of optical microscopy beyond the limits of what was thought possible.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2014 to

Eric Betzig
Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ashburn, VA, USA,

Stefan W. Hell
Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, and German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany

and

William E. Moerner
Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

“for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy”

From microscopy to nanoscopy.

Limits of microscopy – npl


All chemistry is physics of course. And so is medicine. Even if chemistry needs a separate language it is still the fundamental forces of physics which govern chemistry (and medicine and biology). But physics ultimately has to invoke “magic” to explain the fundamental forces of the physical world.

It is the turn of chemistry at the Nobels today.

While the predictions of organic LED’s being recognised are now probably ruled out after the blue LED recognition for physics yesterday, it could still be for discoveries which are leading to the creation of new materials.

Or , as I thought might happen last year, it could be Svante Pääbo and others who have developed the techniques for the extraction of DNA from ancient remains.

Svante Pääbo an outsider for the Chemistry Nobel today

October 9, 2013

I leave it to real Chemists – such as here – to make predictions. And one can always fall-back on Thomson Reuters who correctly predicted the Physics prize yesterday:

CHEMISTRY

A. Paul Alivisatos  and Chad A. Mirkin and Nadrian C. Seeman
For contributions to DNA nanotechnology

Bruce N. Ames
For the invention of the Ames test of mutagenicity

M.G. Finn and Valery V. Fokin and K. Barry Sharpless
For the development of modular click chemistry

But based on a throw-away comment by somebody on Swedish Radio this morning and based on my interest in paleo-anthropology, Svante Pääbo may be an outside bet. He is a participant in Nobel Week in December and this bio is from there:

Svante Pääbo

A Swedish biologist specializing in evolutionary genetics, Dr Svante Pääbo investigates ways that the archaic genome can be explored to understand our own history better.

Svante Pääbo has developed technical approaches that allow DNA sequences from extinct creatures such as mammoths, ground sloths and Neandertals to be determined. He also works on the comparative genomics of humans, extinct hominins and apes, particularly the evolution of gene activity and genetic changes that may underlie aspects of traits specific to humans such as speech and language.

In 2010, his group determined the first Neandertal genome sequence and described Denisovans, a sister group of Neandertals, based on a genome sequence determined from a small bone found inSiberia.

Pääbo has received four honorary doctorates and several scientific prizes and is a member of numerous academies. He is currently a Director at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and a Guest Professor at the University of Uppsala, Sweden.

Super heavy element with atomic number 115 (Un un pentium) confirmed

August 27, 2013

Ununpentium is historically known as eka-bismuthUnunpentium is a temporary IUPAC systematic element name derived from the digits 115.

Eka -bismuth was the name assigned by Dmitri Mendelev to the then unknown element with atomic number 115. Eka-, dvi- and tri- derive from the Sanskrit words for one, two, and three, and Mendelev used these for unknown elements according to whether the predicted element was one, two, or three places down from the known element in his table with similar chemical properties. Eka-bismuth was thus predicted to be one position down from Bismuth with Atomic Number 83 in his table. His predicted Eka-aluminium became Gallium and Eka-silicon became Germanium. His original table was made in 1869 along with his initial predictions.

Photo ALAMY (via The Telegraph)

Photo ALAMY (via The Telegraph)

The first reported synthesis of this heavy element was in 2004 by a team composed of Russian scientists at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, and American scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It exists for less than a second and is highly radioactive. About 25 atoms of “Ununpentium” were synthesised at that time. Now it seems the synthesis of the element has been independently confirmed though it still has to be ratified.

File:Electron shell 115 Ununpentium - no label.svg

Expected electron configuration of “Ununpentium” – Wikipedia

Science2.0: 

An international team at the GSI research facility in Germany have confirmed the existence of a new element with atomic number 115, verifying earlier measurements performed by research groups in Russia. 

By bombarding a thin film of americium with calcium ions, the research team was able to measure photons in connection with the new element’s alpha decay. Certain energies of the photons agreed with the expected energies for X-ray radiation, which is a ‘fingerprint’ of a given element.

The new super-heavy element has yet to be named. A committee comprising members of the international unions of pure and applied physics and chemistry will review the new findings to decide whether to recommend further experiments before the discovery of the new element is acknowledged.

The new super-heavy element has yet to be named. A committee comprising members of the international unions of pure and applied physics and chemistry will review the new findings to decide whether to recommend further experiments before the discovery of the new element is acknowledged.

Fallout from the Dorta – Drinkel paper

August 18, 2013

When publishing a paper based on her thesis, Professor Reto Dorta apparently “instructed” Emma Drinkel to “make up an elemental analysis” which – to her credit – she did not. But the “instruction” was inadvertently left in the supplemental information to the paper (which itself was rather sloppy editing and by her but his responsibility as the corresponding author).

Apparently since the news came out in ChemBark and RetractionWatch and other sites, Emma Drinkel’s reputation and career are severely threatened and the attention and “hounding” she has received has caused much distress. Quite probably much of the criticism is the usual anonymous abuse in the blogosphere and quite unjustified.

But what is missing as far as I am aware is any “explanation” from Prof. Reto Dorta who wrote the “instruction” and was the senior author and – presumably – her supervisor. Though it was a very long time ago since I was subject -academically – to the whims and the power of a supervisor, I know how difficult it is to resist a supervisor’s instructions. Was he in the habit of giving such “instructions” to his students?

Synthetic Remarks carries an admirable post entitled “In Defense of Emma with an email from Emma’s mother which does not need any commentary.

From: Mary-Anne Drinkel [mailto:xxxxa@xxxx.co.uk]
Sent: 15 August 2013 21:04
To: Fredrik von Kieseritzky ‘xxx@xxx.com’
Subject: Emma Drinkel – the Dorta Affair

Dear Dr Kieseritzky

I hope you don’t mind me contacting you, but I would just like to thank you for your comment on ChemBark. My name is Mary-Anne Drinkel, and I am mother of Emma. We are very proud of our daughter she has worked hard and conscientiously to earn her first class degree at Durham, her PhD at Zurich, and presently her Post doctorate work in Brazil- we know that fabricating data would be alien to her. I cannot believe that her good reputation, built up over these years can be destroyed in a week. I know nothing of the academic community, but the hostile and aggressive comments left on the blog sites are unbelievable. I don’t know if Reto Dorta was careless or has done a very bad thing, but I do know that Emma is the innocent party in this affair. How many PhD thesis could withstand the hostile scrutiny that Emma’s has been subjected to, with these bloggers determined to find evidence of wrongdoing – boasting about who broke the news first.

Emma’s husband has a new industry position in Switzerland, and they will be moving back to Europe very soon; this means Emma will be applying for jobs – she fears this affair will affect her chances, as she would be honest with prospective employers about her situation. They had decided to leave the academic world long before this episode because the competitiveness and political environment of university life was not for them. Emma is devastated that her good name at Durham and Zurich University will be forever tarnished by this affair.

My husband and I have felt so sad and so helpless as these events have developed – when I saw your comment that was sympathetic to Emma’s plight, it was the first bit of humanity I had witnessed in the whole affair, and I am grateful to you for that. Emma will get through this, she is resilient and has the support of her husband, family and friends – but we feel so angry that Emma has been subjected to this through no fault of her own.

Once again thank- you,

Best wishes,

Mary-Anne Drinkel

“Just make up an elemental analysis…..”

August 8, 2013

ChemBark has the details of this case where sloppy writing and/or editing shows up some not so ethical behaviour:

Just make up the data..

Just make up the data ……

This instruction apparently from the senior author to the first author was found inadvertently left in the Supplemental Information for this paper – which has been archived here in case it disappears: SI Emma E Drinkel et al.

What is particularly noteworthy is the casual nature of the instruction to “just make up the data…”. It would almost appear that faking data is a routine and regular procedure. Less shocking but a telling commentary on the review process is that such a statement made it all the way to publication.

Emma E. Drinkel, Linglin Wu, Anthony Linden and Reto Dorta, Synthesis, Structure and Catalytic Studies of Palladium and Platinum Bissulfoxide Complexes, Organometallics, Article ASAP, DOI: 10.1021/om4000067

The affiliations of the authors is given as  the University of Zurich, but the senior author, Professor Reto Dorta now seems to be at the University of Western Australia while Emma Drinkel is in Brazil at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina.

ChemBark:

A recently published ASAP article in the journal Organometallics is sure to raise some eyebrows in the chemical community. While the paper itself is a straightforward study of palladium and platinum bis-sulfoxide complexes, page 12 of the corresponding Supporting Information file contains what appears to be an editorial note that was inadvertently left in the published document:

Emma, please insert NMR data here! where are they? and for this compound, just make up an elemental analysis…

This statement goes beyond a simple embarrassing failure to properly edit the manuscript, as it appears the first author is being instructed to fabricate data. Elemental analyses would be very easy to fabricate, and long-time readers of this blog will recall how fake elemental analyses were pivotal to Bengu Sezen’s campaign of fraud in the work she published from 2002 to 2005 out of Dalibor Sames’ lab at Columbia.

The compound labeled 14 (an acac complex) in the main paper does not appear to correspond to compound 14 in the SI. In fact, the bridged-dichloride compound appears to be listed an as unlabeled intermediate in Scheme 5, which should raise more eyebrows. Did the authors unlist the compound in order to avoid having to provide robust characterization for it? ….

Related:

 Insert data here … Did researcher instruct co-author to make up results for chemistry paper?

When Authors Forget to Fake an Elemental Analysis

2,000 year old thin film coating technology

July 25, 2013

Ancient gold and silversmiths used empirical methods with little knowledge of physics and chemistry to gild (silver and gold) statues and other works of art. It was an art – generally involving the use of mercury – which was also used by counterfeiters. Many of their techniques are still unknown. Some of the quality they achieved has still not been matched. A new paper is published in Accounts of Chemical Research (paywalled).

ACS Press ReleaseGabriel Maria Ingo and colleagues point out that scientists have made good progress in understanding the chemistry of many ancient artistic and other artifacts — crucial to preserve them for future generations. Big gaps in knowledge remained, however, about how gilders in the Dark Ages and other periods applied such lustrous, impressively uniform films of gold or silver to intricate objects. Ingo’s team set out to apply the newest analytical techniques to uncover the ancients’ artistic secrets.

They discovered that gold- and silversmiths 2,000 years ago developed a variety of techniques, including using mercury like a glue to apply thin films of metals to statues and other objects. Sometimes, the technology was used to apply real gold and silver. It also was used fraudulently, to make cheap metal statues that look like solid gold or silver. The scientists say that their findings confirm “the high level of competence reached by the artists and craftsmen of these ancient periods who produced objects of an artistic quality that could not be bettered in ancient times and has not yet been reached in modern ones.

Gabriel Maria Ingo, Giuseppe Guida, Emma Angelini, Gabriella Di Carlo, Alessio Mezzi, Giuseppina Padeletti.Ancient Mercury-Based Plating Methods: Combined Use of Surface Analytical Techniques for the Study of Manufacturing Process and Degradation PhenomenaAccounts of Chemical Research, 2013; : 130705111206005 DOI: 10.1021/ar300232e

 

Abstract

Abstract Image

Fire gilding and silvering are age-old mercury-based processes used to coat thesurface of less precious substrates with thin layers of gold or silver. In ancient times, these methods were used to produce and decorate different types of artefacts, such as jewels, statues, amulets, and commonly-used objects. Gilders performed these processes not only to decorate objects but also to simulate the appearance of gold or silver, sometimes fraudulently. From a technological point of view, the aim of these workmen over 2000 years ago was to make the precious metal coatings as thin and adherent as possible. This was in order to save expensive metals and to improve the resistance to the wear caused by continued use and circulation.

Without knowledge about the chemical–physical processes, the ancient crafts-men systematically manipulated these metals to create functional and decorative artistic objects. The mercury-based methods were also fraudulently used in ancient times to produce objects such as jewels and coins that looked like they were made of silver or gold but actually had a less precious core. These coins were minted by counterfeiters but also by the official issuing authorities. The latter was probably because of a lack of precious metals, reflecting periods of severe economic conditions.

In this Account, we discuss some representative cases of gold- and silver-coatedobjects, focusing on unique and valuable Roman and Dark Ages period works of art, such as the St. Ambrogio’s altar (825 AD), and commonly used objects. We carried out the investigations using surface analytical methods, such as selected area X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy combined with energy-dispersive spectroscopy. We used these methods to investigate the surface and subsurface chemical features of these important examples of art and technology, interpreting some aspects of the manufacturing methods and of disclosing degradation agents and mechanisms. These findings may contribute to cultural heritage preservation, thus extending the applicability of the surface analytical techniques.

 

Shale gas boosts petrochemical developments as fracking proves as important as catalytic cracking

December 19, 2012

The advent of shale gas (and shale oil) is having more profound effects than just on the production of energy or electric power. The development of “fracking” technology is providing an impetus for developments in the petrochemical industry which can be compared to the “golden years” which followed the introduction of catalytic cracking.  Petrochemical processing costs are now lower in the US than in many other countries and there has been a sharp increase in projects for the “cracking” of ethane to make ethylene as a feedstock.

As put by the Financial Times: “The international chemicals industry is undergoing its most profound upheaval for 75 years, according to Kevin Swift of the American Chemistry Council. Not since the years before the second world war, when there was a flood of discoveries including nylon, synthetic rubber, PVC plastic and polystyrene, has there been technological change with such far-reaching consequences.”

The American Chemistry Council has just published its Year End 2012 Situation and Outlook and issued this press release.

HydrocarbonProcessing writes:

Favorable oil-to-gas price ratios driven by the production of natural gas from shale will drive a renewed US competitiveness that will boost exports and fuel greater domestic investment, economic growth and job creation within the business of chemistry.

(more…)

Could Chemistry Nobel today go to evolutionary genetics?

October 10, 2012

UPDATE! Awarded to Robert J Lefkowitz and to Brian K Kobilka for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors“.

==================================

Thomson Reuters predicts conventional areas of research for the Chemistry Nobel

1. Louis E. Brus

For discovery of colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals (quantum dots)

2. Akira Fujishima

For the discovery of photocatalytic properties of titanium dioxide (the Honda-Fujishima Effect)

and

3. Masatake Haruta and Graham J. Hutchings

For independent foundational discoveries of catalysis by gold

But Swedish Radio is predicting / hoping that it might be awarded to a Swedish scientist Svante Pääbo who is himself the son of a Nobel laureate. He is Director, Department of Genetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. In February 2009 the Max Planck Institute completed the first draft version of the Neanderthal genome. In 2010 they discovered the Denisovan genome. The techniques developed by Pääbo and his team for the DNA analysis of ancient specimens is what might be acknowledged.

2011 Chemistry Nobel awarded to Prof. Dan Shechtman for the discovery of quasi-crystals

October 5, 2011

The Nobel prize for Chemistry 2011 has been awarded to Prof. Dan Shechtman, Philip Tobias Professor of Materials Science at the Technion for the discovery of quasi-crystals.

Dan Schechtman

Daniel Shechtman, Israeli citizen. Born 1941 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Ph.D. 1972 from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel. Distinguished Professor, The Philip Tobias Chair, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.

The official press release states:

A remarkable mosaic of atoms

In quasicrystals, we find the fascinating mosaics of the Arabic world reproduced at the level of atoms: regular patterns that never repeat themselves. However, the configuration found in quasicrystals was considered impossible, and Daniel Shechtman had to fight a fierce battle against established science. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2011 has fundamentally altered how chemists conceive of solid matter.

On the morning of 8 April 1982, an image counter to the laws of nature appeared in Daniel Shechtman’s electron microscope. In all solid matter, atoms were believed to be packed inside crystals in symmetrical patterns that were repeated periodically over and over again. For scientists, this repetition was required in order to obtain a crystal.

Shechtman’s image, however, showed that the atoms in his crystal were packed in a pattern that could not be repeated. Such a pattern was considered just as impossible as creating a football using only six-cornered polygons, when a sphere needs both five- and six-cornered polygons. His discovery was extremely controversial. In the course of defending his findings, he was asked to leave his research group. However, his battle eventually forced scientists to reconsider their conception of the very nature of matter. 

Aperiodic mosaics, such as those found in the medieval Islamic mosaics of the Alhambra Palace in Spain and the Darb-i Imam Shrine in Iran, have helped scientists understand what quasicrystals look like at the atomic level. In those mosaics, as in quasicrystals, the patterns are regular – they follow mathematical rules – but they never repeat themselves.

File:Quasicrystal1.jpg

Atomic model of an Ag-Al quasicrystal: Wikipedia

When scientists describe Shechtman’s quasicrystals, they use a concept that comes from mathematics and art: the golden ratio. This number had already caught the interest of mathematicians in Ancient Greece, as it often appeared in geometry. In quasicrystals, for instance, the ratio of various distances between atoms is related to the golden mean.

Following Shechtman’s discovery, scientists have produced other kinds of quasicrystals in the lab and discovered naturally occurring quasicrystals in mineral samples from a Russian river. A Swedish company has also found quasicrystals in a certain form of steel, where the crystals reinforce the material like armor. Scientists are currently experimenting with using quasicrystals in different products such as frying pans and diesel engines.

Chemistry Nobel: 102 Nobel Prizes in Chemistry have been awarded since 1901. It was not awarded on eight occasions: in 1916, 1917, 1919, 1924, 1933, 1940, 1941 and 1942. Of 160 Laureates Frederick Sanger was awarded twice and there are 159 individuals (but including only 4 women) who have received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. All previous winners of the Chemistry Nobel are here. Chemistry was the most important science for Alfred Nobel’s own work. The development of his inventions as well as the industrial processes he employed were based upon chemical knowledge. Chemistry was the second prize area that Nobel mentioned in his will.

In 1901 the very first Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Jacobus H. van ‘t Hoff for his work on rates of reaction, chemical equilibrium, and osmotic pressure. In more recent years, the Chemistry Laureates have increased our understanding of chemical processes and their molecular basis, and have also contributed to many of the technological advancements we enjoy today.

The award of this year’s Chemistry Nobel has attracted many predictions at ChemBark, Thomsons Reuters, Curious Wavefunction and Interfacial Digressions among others but few (if any) predicted Schectman.

Dan Schectman 0n You-Tube


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