Archive by date | September 2006

ACS: Sweet surrender

I went to the carbohydrate-protein interactions and glycolipids session this morning (I’m at the ACS, in case you forgot). It was a great session! Even with the best efforts from the session chair, there were so many questions that we got way behind (which unfortunately meant that I missed George Wang’s talk due to a previous engagement). One particularly interesting part of the morning was yet another tribute to Emil Fischer, who seems to have done more work in his life than occurs in a year at most universities. In this particular story, Jacqueline Gervay-Hague was discussing the troubles with substituting sugars at the alpha position, and had tried to use trimethylsilyl iodine in combination with an alcohol to activate the center and incorporate the alcohol as a substituent.  Read more

ACS: All that glitters is gold

The morning session of the Arthur C. Cope Award and Arthur C. Cope Scholar Awards just finished – I was really impressed with F. Dean Toste’s talk, which was a whirlwind tour of some of the work his group has done involving gold(I)-catalyzed reactions.  Read more

ACS: I love technology

David Schwartz gave a great talk this afternoon – he’s the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, which recently created the ‘Genes and Environment Initiative,’ a five-year research effort that hopes to identify the genetic and environmental causes of asthma, arthritis, and other common diseases.  Read more

ACS: Mongolian Licorice

This meeting has it all. Today I caught a wonderful presentation by Frank Lee of Nanchang University about efforts to introduce “Good Agriculture Practice” or GAP (See the FAO’s page on this approach here), on the growing of herbs for traditional medicines. The idea is to make sure the medicines are what they purport to be, are not chock-full of mercury or other toxins, and are being harvested in a sustainable way.  Read more

ACS: Nobel laureate book club

I only have time for a quick post before I run off to David Schwartz‘s talk on ’Environmental genomics and human health.’ I just left the H.C. Brown Legacy Symposium, where Professor Sharpless talked about ‘click’ chemistry, azido-phobia, pandas, and Kevin Kelly’s Out of Control (which he highly recommended). Needless to say, it was a great talk and I learned a few new things about ‘click’ chemistry: it turns out that the Huisgen 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition works pretty well in Jack Daniel’s whiskey and in human plasma…  … Read more

ACS: Against “molecular gastronomy”

The hype-heavy world of haute cuisine has recently been rolling its tongue over the phrase “molecular gastronomy”, said to be practiced by such chefs célèbres as Pierre Gagnaire and Ferran Adrià. The trend is for innovative foods, and new ingredients. Shrimp treated with protein-knitting enzymes, so it can be coaxed into noodle shape, glass-like spheres of isomalt, filled with the smoke from roasting mushrooms, flavored foam.  Read more

ACS: Fuelmen

Went to some sessions on hydrogen storage (you know, so that cars can run around emitting just clean, pure water vapor, and so that we can enter the “hydrogen economy”) today and was introduced to ammonia borate by Bill Tumas of Los Alamos. I liked him, because he kept telling us “the hard cold facts”. I’ve heard people talk about the “cold hard facts,” but somehow, the “hard cold facts” seem even more bitterly inevitable. One of these was that no one has found a solution to storing hydrogen. The other is that his favorite candidate—ammonia borate—is not going to slot neatly into the current infrastructure.  Read more

ACS: Big in America

The conference gets underway even before my plane lands. A fellow from a microscopy concern is leaning across the aisle chatting to a chemist about his latest model. In the airport shuttle to downtown, chemists wedge inside the van, their poster tubes making the whole process seems like some complex protein folding problem. And today the streets of downtown San Francisco are alive with chemists—teeming with badged hordes looking for a cup of coffee between sessions.  Read more

Goin’ back to Cali

After my recent trip to San Diego, I’m heading back to California for the ACS meeting in San Francisco. The meeting looks great (especially for us chemical biology types); if you want to see what I’ll be up to (and some of the other NPG editors), check out our editor’s choice site (I know, Josh already told you that).  Read more