The element is found only in chemically combined form in nature. Vanadium was originally discovered by Andrés Manuel del Río, a Spanish-born Mexican mineralogist, in 1801. Del Río extracted the element from a sample of Mexican “brown lead” ore, later named vanadinite.
How To Cut a Drop of Water In Half
This may not sound like a particularly difficult task, but a lot of science has gone in to producing an easier way of doing so. Antonio Garcia of Arizona State University has made “knives” for this task by coating zinc or polyethylene in hydrophobic chemicals such as silver nitrate and a superhydrophobic solution known as HDFT.
The implications of being able to cleanly cleave a drop of water is in biomedical research where it could make separating proteins in biological fluids much easier.
Lead(II) iodide (PbI2)
It is a bright yellow solid at room temperature, that reversibly becomes brick red by heating. In its crystalline form it is used as a detector material for high energy photons including x-rays and gamma rays.
Lead iodide can be obtained as a yellow precipitate by reacting solutions of lead(II) nitrate and potassium iodide:
Pb(NO3)2(aq) + 2KI(aq) → PbI2(s) + 2KNO3(aq)
It is sparingly soluble in cold water but quite soluble in hot water, yielding a colorless solution; on cooling it crystallizes as yellow hexagonal platelets.
Researchers Create World’s Smallest Reaction Chamber
Scientists from New Zealand, Austria and the UK have created the world’s smallest reaction chamber, with a mixing volume that can be measured in femtoliters (million billionths of a liter).
Using this minuscule reaction chamber, lead researcher Peter Derrick, professor of chemical physics and physical chemistry and head of the Institute of Fundamental Sciences at Massey Univ. in New Zealand, plans to study the kind of speedy, nanoscale biochemical reactions that take place inside individual cells. This work appears in the latest issue of the European Journal of Mass Spectrometry.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2012/12/researchers-create-world%E2%80%99s-smallest-reaction-chamber
The discovery of huge amounts of water ice and possible organic compounds on the heat-blasted planet Mercury suggests that the raw materials necessary for life as we know it may be common throughout the solar system, researchers say.
Image: The radar image of Mercury’s north polar region from Image 2.1 is shown superposed on a mosaic of MESSENGER images of the same area. All of the larger polar deposits are located on the floors or walls of impact craters. Deposits farther from the pole are seen to be concentrated on the north-facing sides of craters. Image released Nov. 28, 2012. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington/National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, Arecibo Observatory
Mercury likely harbors between 100 billion and 1 trillion metric tons of water ice in permanently shadowed areas near its poles, scientists analyzing data from NASA’s Messenger spacecraft announced Thursday (Nov. 29).
Life on sun-scorched Mercury remains an extreme longshot, the researchers stressed, but the new results should still put a spring in the step of astrobiologists around the world.
“The more we examine the solar system, the more we realize it’s a soggy place,” Jim Green, the director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, said during a press conference today.
“And that’s really quite exciting, because that means the amount of water that we have here on Earth — that was not only inherent when it was originally formed but probably brought here — that water and other volatiles were brought to many other places in the solar system,” Green added. “So it really bodes well for us to continue on the exploration, following the water and its signs throughout the solar system.”
Recent tests aboard the International Space Station have shown that fire in space can be less predictable and potentially more lethal than it is on Earth. “There have been experiments,” says NASA aerospace engineer Dan Dietrich, “where we observed fires that we didn’t think could exist, but did.”
Image: A composite false-color image of fire in space. The bright yellow traces the path of a drop of fuel, shrinking as it burns, producing green soot Credit: Paul Ferkul / NASA
That fire continues to surprise us is itself surprising when you consider that combustion is likely humanity’s oldest chemistry experiment, consisting of just three basic ingredients: oxygen, heat and fuel.
Here on Earth, when a flame burns, it heats the surrounding atmosphere, causing the air to expand and become less dense. The pull of gravity draws colder, denser air down to the base of the flame, displacing the hot air, which rises. This convection process feeds fresh oxygen to the fire, which burns until it runs out of fuel. The upward flow of air is what gives a flame its teardrop shape and causes it to flicker.
But odd things happen in space, where gravity loses its grip on solids, liquids and gases. Without gravity, hot air expands but doesn’t move upward. The flame persists because of the diffusion of oxygen, with random oxygen molecules drifting into the fire. Absent the upward flow of hot air, fires in microgravity are dome-shaped or spherical—and sluggish, thanks to meager oxygen flow. “If you ignite a piece of paper in microgravity, the fire will just slowly creep along from one end to the other,” says Dietrich. “Astronauts are all very excited to do our experiments because space fires really do look quite alien.”
Such fires might appear eerily tranquil to people accustomed to the capricious nature of earthly flames. But a flame in microgravity can be more tenacious, capable of surviving on less oxygen and burning for longer periods of time.
A diagram showing the structure of DNA, with detail showing the structure of the four bases:adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine, and the location of the major and minor groove. Along with RNA and proteins, DNA is one of the three major macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life. Most DNA molecules are double-stranded helices, consisting of two long polymers of simple units called nucleotides, molecules with backbones made of alternating sugars (deoxyribose) and phosphate groups, with the bases attached to the sugars.
(image: Richard Wheeler) (via: Wikipedia)
Lower extremity of newborn, under running water for several months - formation of “adipocere”
One of the most interesting things to find in a cadaver is when adipocere forms. This so-called “grave wax” shows that a body is at least several months old, as it takes a while for the biochemical reactions to take place that form this substance.
While most cadavers go through the full decomposition process and are rotted away by bacteria and other organisms, bodies that form adipocere begin a process of anaerobic bacterial hydrolysis at the start of the putrefaction stage of decomposition. As most of the proteins in the body are digested, the fat in the body racidifies, and instead of being digested with everything else, breaks down into glycerine, fatty solids (saturated fats), and fluid fatty acids (unsaturated fat). The glycerine and fluid fatty acids are washed away or dissolved, and the solid fat remains behind, forming a cast of the body.
Adipocere is white or gray, and very much like thick cottage cheese in its crumbly texture. It’s very hardy and preservative in quality, and cadavers over 700 years old have been found to have easily-discernible fine facial structures because of it. However, the formation of the substance requires very specific conditions to be met, the most important of which is a body with a relatively high fat content (though there are occasional exceptions). Because of this, infants, young women, and the obese are most likely to be found in this state.
Atlas of Legal Medicine. Dr. Eduard von Hofmann, 1898.
- If you started with a mole of pennies and spent $1,000,000 every second for 100 years, you would still have more than 99.99% of what you started with.
- There are approximately two moles of stars in the universe.
- A mole of salt crystals would cover the Earth 17 cm deep, or stacked in a cube, would 27 miles in every dimension.
- A sphere made up of a mole of popcorn seeds would have a radius of 193 miles.
- If the Earth was made up of a mole of lego bricks, each brick would be 12 cm wide.
- A mole of donuts would cover the Earth to a depth of 5 miles; a mole of basketballs would be the same size as our planet.
Happy Mole Day everyone!
Badass Scientist of the Week: Ellen Swallow Richards
Ellen Swallow Richards (1842–1911) was the most prominent female American chemist of the 19th century, and a pioneer in sanitary engineering. Her family was relatively poor, so she had to work to save enough money to attend Vassar College. She earned earned a Bachelor of Science in 1870, and was most attracted to astronomy (as a pupil of Maria Mitchell) and chemistry. After being rejected by various industrial chemists, she instead applied to MIT and soon became their first female student. She received her second bachelor’s degree, then a master’s from Vassar, and continued with hopes of earning a doctorate from MIT. Although MIT would not award doctorates to women until 1886, Richards perservered, establishing a Women’s Laboratory and becoming an (unpaid) instructor in chemistry and mineralogy. When MIT opened the nation’s first laboratory of sanitary chemistry, she was appointed its instructor. Around this time, Richards also undertook a survey of the pollution Massachusetts’ water supplies, and from this the first water quality standards were born. She served as a water analyst for the State Board of Health as well as working as an instructor at MIT, and she was primarily concerned with both public health and applying scientific ideas of domestic ideas—she believed that having good nutrition, proper clothing, fitness, sanitation and efficiency would give women more time to pursue interests other than cooking and cleaning. Richards co-founded the American Association of University Women, which helps open the doors of higher education to other women even to this day, and in 1910 she was granted an honorary doctor of science degree from Vassar College. A powerful leader, a wise teacher and a tireless worker, Richards died from illness in 1911.
Soviet chemist and academician Alexander Nesmeyanov who served as the president of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1951-1961.
Japanese scientists claim first synthesis of element 113
A group of Japanese scientists announced Wednesday that they have finally synthesized the elusive element 113, which has been called ununtrium.
If confirmed, the feat would mark the first time Japanese researchers have been first to synthesize an element of the periodic table. It would also be the first time an Asian research team has had the honor of naming an element.
Tetrahedrane is a platonic hydrocarbon with chemical formula C4H4 and a tetrahedral structure. Extreme angle strain (carbon bond angles deviate considerably from the tetrahedral bond angle of 109.5°) prevents this molecule from forming naturally.
Colourful Heavy Metal Ion Test
When testing for heavy metals in solutions these days, the process usually involves expensive equipment which requires skilled technicians. But now a new technique developed by scientists in China using simple colour changes may have revolutionised the process.
Using singled stranded DNA or RNA molecules - aptamers, which can reversibly bind with mercury and lead, several sensors have been developed. For example, one reaction in default was red, but upon contact and binding with a metal ion; the hydrogel shrinks, altering the colloidal crystals causing them to change colour.
This is amazing because the process is simple and requires no more than your eyes. In the future this technology is expected to be adapted for use in analysis of drugs, good, additives, and pesticides.