Archive by date | April 2007

Endangered elements

I was chatting recently with an academic friend about the merits of homogeneous gold catalysis in organic chemistry (inspired by our recent review on the subject), and he expressed the opinion that it was just platinum chemistry in disguise. Then he surprised me by saying “But we need gold chemistry, because we’re going to run out of platinum in a few years time.” On further questioning, he said that the demand for platinum has increased enormously (not least because it is used in catalytic converters in cars), so that Earth’s limited supplies are running out. He believes that the same applies to rhodium, for much the same reasons.  Read more

Who’s the hardest of them all?

A chemistry paper in Science came out yesterday where materials scientists have studied the hardness of rhenium diboride. It is SUPER hard and ULTRA incompressible (my addition of capitals for extra emphasis – I like saying things like ULTRA in a booming voice).  Read more

On the streets of Philadelphia

You may have already seen this news story in C&EN about a recent trial in Philadelphia: Merisant (the company that produces Equal and NutraSweet) has sued McNeil Nutritionals (the company that makes Splenda) because Merisant doesn’t think it’s fair that Splenda’s marketing campaign includes the phrase “made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.”  … Read more

50 ways to write a (cover) letter

Kyle’s blog entry on writing scientific papers got me thinking about an important – and underappreciated – part of submitting your work to a journal. So I thought I’d write down a few of my thoughts about cover letters. A caveat, of course, is that these are just my opinions – maybe other NPG editors can chime in and let me know if they agree/disagree with the items on this list…  … Read more