2011 Fall MRS: Stiff storage

Posted on behalf of Rosamund Daw (Senior Editor, Nature) What technological innovations will form the car of the future? Carbon fibre composites are increasingly a viable option for the structural components of next-generation cars for improved energy efficiency, particularly as their use in the aerospace industry will undoubtedly bring manufacturing costs down. Energy storage devices such as capacitors and batteries will also be the order of the day. Milo Shaffer and colleagues at Imperial College have recognised this as an opportunity for further energy savings. Both structural re-inforcement composites and electrochemical devices rely on the use of layered architectures. So  … Read more

2011 Fall MRS: A plug for stem cells

Posted on behalf of Rosamund Daw (Senior Editor, Nature) In the field of materials science as applied to regenerative medicine, a common theme is the design of novel scaffold materials as supports for stem cell growth and differentiation. However not all stem cell therapies use scaffolds. In some biomedical research efforts, cells are injected directly into the site of need. Such a strategy has been applied to a variety of different injuries and diseases, for example Parkinson’s disease, stroke, heart attack and spinal-cord injuries. Though the approach has had some successes, a major stumbling block has been simply the ability  … Read more

Fall MRS Meeting 2011: Bioinspired energy efficiency

Posted on behalf of Rosamund Daw (Senior Editor, Nature) At the Fall MRS meeting this year we are enjoying unusually mild weather. I can remember Christmassy snow at MRS’s past where woolly hats were a must. This year, many of the attendees are wandering around without coats and I have even spotted one or two brave individuals wearing T-shirts. Two major themes at this year’s meeting are energy and the interface of materials with biology and medicine. An intriguing presentation from Philseok Kim on Monday combined these themes in a talk describing a bio-inspired approach to improve the energy efficiency  … Read more

From crazy chemists to engaged learners through education

Editor’s note: We published a series of ‘beyond the bench’ Commentary articles in our September 2011 issue to celebrate the International Year of Chemistry. These are free just for the rest of September, so get them while you can! We recently received some correspondence from John Spevacek on the chemistry education article written by David Smith from York – and so we are publishing it here, with a reply from Smith. We encourage you to add your own thoughts in the comments section here on the blog.  Read more

Winter School anyone?

The European Winter School on Physical Organic Chemistry will take place in Bressanone early next year, straddling the end of January and the beginning of February. Why am I telling you this? Well, although the main focus of the winter school is going to be catalysis, the organizers have kindly invited me to give a talk about scientific publishing.  Read more

Marie mosaic

Marie mosaic

If you haven’t noticed yet, our September issue is a little bit different to all the other issues we’ve published so far. It contains what we call an ‘Insight’, which in this case is a collection of Commentary articles that look at broader issues in chemistry beyond the science itself. We’re doing this to mark the International Year of Chemistry – which happens to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Marie Curie being awarded the second of her Nobel Prizes (the chemistry one).  Read more