ACS Philadelphia 2008: Escaping the conference

I haven’t spent much time outside the confines of the conference – apart from the sun-drenched stroll between the convention centre and another venue, the Sheraton, about a mile away. So yesterday I thought, enough is enough. I went for a run over the Benjamin Franklin bridge with Neil Gussman, PR guy for the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and US army sergeant.  Read more

ACS Philadelphia 2008: When will cheap solar power become reality?

The answer to the question posed above isn’t clear. I went to a session about plastic devices that could be used as solar cells instead of expensive silicon, hoping to hear a breakthrough was nigh. Sadly I was wrong. Advances in plastics that can capture light over a useful wavelength, that can separate the charge into electrons and holes, that can carry that charge and finally, do something useful with it, are being made. But slowly.  Read more

ACS Philadelphia 2008: On the presidential campaign trail

At the general poster session the other night I was delighted to see the two candidates campaigning for the job everyone is talking about. No, not McCain and Obama, but the two candidates for the president-elect of the ACS. As the biggest scientific society in the world, this is a big job.  Read more

ACS Philadelphia 2008: Viruses make batteries

I wrote a story yesterday about a clever way to make tiny batteries using a rubber stamp and a virus. It was actually from a paper that came out in PNAS, but one of the authors, Paula Hammond is here at the meeting. She is working with Angela Belcher on some very cool viruses.  Read more

ACS Philadelphia 2008: Posters…

Last night was the poster session. It was late, I was jet-lagged, tired and emotional, but I dutifully showed up, if only to get my free beer. As ever this was a really well-attended event. It’s impossible to see everything so I decided to pick some of my favourite titles for you to muse over. They show the amazing breadth of this meeting, and some of them actually make chemistry sound, well, really interesting.**  … Read more

ACS Philadelphia 2008: Big talk

A few weeks ago I wrote a news story about some work done by Dan Nocera at MIT. He’s managed to make a very simple catalyst that can generate oxygen directly from water – so helping those people trying to mimic photosynthesis and save the world’s energy crisis.  Read more

ACS Philadelphia 2008: Trees eat pollution

I had a slight deviation from the ACS yesterday while I finished up writing a story about trees that can absorb organic nitrates and turn them into amino acids. But seeing as in that single sentence I spotted at least four chemistry-related words, I thought this would be a good place to write about the research.  Read more