ACS: Detecting disease

Catching disease early, particularly cancer, can make a huge difference when successfully treating that disease. Luckily, we have nanoparticles to help us. Molly Stevens from Imperial College London has developed a fiendishly simple test for disease-related proteases. Read all about it over at Nature News.

ACS: Making triangles

Today I learned how shining different coloured lights on solutions of silver ions, or silver nanoparticles, can make triangular prisms of silver grow. Chad Mirkin from Northwestern University, showed us this neat trick. The prisms are incredible – all exactly the same size and shape.  Read more

ACS: Rosalind Franklin’s missed chances to solve DNA

Lynne Osman Elkin, professor emerita at California State University, East Bay, has made a detailed study of Franklin, and the different personalities involved in DNA’s deciphering in the period right after the war. And the personalities are forceful, dominating the story. Elkin spoke today in the history of chemistry session.

Elkin says that Franklin missed two perfect opportunities to realise what the structure of DNA was in 1952.

ACS: Green Grubbs

The theme of this conference is sustainability and green chemistry, loosely speaking. The plenary session this afternoon embraced this theme with gusto and focussed on how green chemistry can save the world.

In case you don’t know what green chemistry is, it’s a field of chemistry that’s all about improving processes by coming up with reaction conditions that use fewer chemicals, in smaller quantities and with less waste. Catalysis is important in orchestrating this change and today’s plenary session featured a giant of catalysis, Robert Grubbs from Caltech.

ACS: nanoparticles help deliver Taxol safely

Eugene Zubarev from Rice University spoke at the ACS meeting this morning about some other successes in using nanoparticles, made from gold, for treating cancer. And it’s pretty neat stuff. Zubarev has been findings ways to make the well-used cancer drug paclitaxel, or more commonly known as taxol, more efficient, and less toxic.

San Francisco!

San Francisco!

Hello from sunny San Francisco! I’m at one of the biggest meetings of the year – the American Chemical Society spring meeting. Gathered together are over 16,000 chemists, giving between them over 13,000 presentations (you’ll forgive me if I don’t write about all of them).

The theme of this meeting is chemistry for a sustainable world. We’ll be hearing from some of the world’s leading authorities on green chemistry, and learning about efforts that continue to improve chemical processes, and technologies whether they are better synthesis methods or advances in renewables technology.