This week, The Alchemist hears chemical clicking in the DNA lab, wonders about safer lithium batteries, learns how a plant virus might improve medical scanning, and muses on an ancient world without oxygen. In future materials, a boron-based cousin for graphene might soon be on the way. Finally, Arctic chemical research receives funding amounting to the equivalent of $2.7 million.
The Alchemist learns how materials scientists are taking inspiration from peel to make better structural aluminum, a Coloumbic explosion can reveal absolute configuration and how to achieve crystalline perfection. In the bio world, crystallography, we hear, offers new insights into DNA polymerase enzymes and clues to certain cancers and iron could be the green industrial catalyst of choice, according to Canadian chemists. Finally, funding for new approaches to drug testing that reduce the number of rodents sacrificed each year is being made available to a major initiative in the UK.