Physicists design a device inspired by sonic screwdriver

physics researchers

Physicists have designed a handheld device inspired by the sonic screwdriver in Doctor Who and the tricorder in Star Trek that will use the power of MRI and mass spectrometry to perform a chemical analysis of objects.

The sonic screwdriver is a tool used in Doctor Who to scan and identify matter, among other functions, while the multi-purpose tricorder in Star Trek can provide a detailed analysis of living things.

Lead researcher Dr Marcus Doherty from The Australian National University (ANU) said the team had proven the concept of a diamond-based quantum device to perform similar functions to these science fiction tools and would now develop a prototype. Continue reading Physicists design a device inspired by sonic screwdriver

How protein misfolding may kickstart chemical evolution

gene

Researchers from Emory University and Georgia Tech have demonstrated the connection between abnormal folding of proteins and the emergence of life. Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerative conditions involving abnormal folding of proteins, may help explain the emergence of life – and how to create it.

Researchers at Emory University and Georgia Tech demonstrated this connection in two new papers published by Nature Chemistry: “Design of multi-phase dynamic chemical networks” and “Catalytic diversity in self-propagating peptide assemblies.”

“In the first paper we showed that you can create tension between a chemical and physical system to give rise to more complex systems. And in the second paper, we showed that these complex systems can have remarkable and unexpected functions,” said David Lynn, a systems chemist at Emory who led the research. “The work was inspired by our current understanding of Darwinian selection of protein misfolding in neurodegenerative diseases.” Continue reading How protein misfolding may kickstart chemical evolution

New model predicts once-mysterious chemical reactions

radiation from hydrogen

A team of researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Curtin University in Australia developed a theoretical model to forecast the fundamental chemical reactions involving molecular hydrogen (H2), which after many decades and attempts by scientists had remained largely unpredicted and unsolved

“Chemical reactions are the basis of life so predicting what happens during these reactions is of great importance to science and has major implications in innovation, industry and medicine,” said Mark Zammit, a post-doctorate fellow in the Physics and Chemistry of Materials group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “Our model is the first to very accurately calculate the probability of fundamental electron-molecular hydrogen reactions.” Continue reading New model predicts once-mysterious chemical reactions