NNNS Chemistry Blog

  • Curiosity does it again
    I have the Curiosity rover in my Twitter contacts and last Thursday it had some great news to share, organic material found at last! The research done it had its colleagues on Earth write it all up in an article in Science. (DOI). Here are the key findings. The soil drill site was on a mudstone sur
  • DIY Vorinostat
    It does not stop: after Orkambi (link) and chenodeoxycholic acid (link) we now have another enterprising Dutch dispensing pharmacist home-brewing a an otherwise really expensive drug (NOS news). This time the drug is Vorinostat now available for patients at the AVL hospital not for the retail price
  • Whitesides on total synthesis
    George Whitesides has recently shared his thoughts on organic synthesis in an essay in The Israel Journal of Chemistry (DOI) In it he asks the big question about its future. Being a functional materials man Whitesides of course contrasts the aesthetics of complex biomolecule synthesis with the pract
  • Baran on Total Synthesis
    Almost written as a counter-essay to the Whitesides article on Organic Synthesis, Phil Baran has expressed his take on total synthesis in a recent JACS editorial. (DOI). The title suggests it is just another propaganda piece: "As Exciting as Ever and Here To Stay" but you cannot blame him. According
  • DIY chenodeoxycholic acid
    In a previous episode this blog has been reporting on a Dutch dispensing chemist who took it on himself the affordable production of a certain drug, otherwise only available from the pharmaceutical industry at highly inflated prices. This week in the news (link) a hospital doing something similar.
  • New in phosphorus chemistry
    How to recap this article: how to get from phosphate rock to drug fosinopril, but in two different ways? Seems a bit odd, just like discussing the merits of oil production from in the context of aspirin synthesis. Geeson and Cummins do just that in a recent Science article (DOI). They
  • The physics of ice scating
    With the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics it seemed my local newspaper The Volkskrant a great idea to include a segment on one of the great unsolved problems in physics: ice scating. If you look at the current unsolved problems Wikipedia page the official list contains the heavy-weight issues from
  • Energy crisis in The Netherlands
    The Gasmolecule is a sculpture of a methane molecule with a height of 8 meters and is located in Slochteren in the province of Groningen in the North of the Netherlands. The sculpture commemorates the find of a massive natural gas field (2700 billion cubic meters) in 1959 that has since provided mil
  • High-throughput at Pfizer
    News from Pfizer Worldwide Research and Development! Perera et al. promise 1500 organic reactions per day at nanomole scale and write about it in Science (doi). The work is an extension of automation efforts by competitor Merck who managed 1500 plus reactions in 2.5 hours in 2014 (hello academia?)
  • Introducing annulative chloroaryl dimerization
    In the journal Science this week Yoshito Koga et al. report on a new organic reaction type they call annulative dimerization (DOI). Imagine 2-chloro-p-terphenyl (carbon framework one up from biphenyl with a chlorine substituent in the middle section) get fused together at three edges. Apparently thi
  • Laboratory poison mystery
    The people at Dart NeuroScience and Accela ChemBio have been treating us to a true laboratory poison mystery in the latest OPR and D (DOI). Who said that commercial organic chemistry could not be fun? Making money and do science! An otherwise unremarkable Suzuki reaction (coupling two aryls together
  • Lanthanum decahydride
    In last week's Angewandte Geballe et al. (Carnegie) report on a new strategy towards the elusive metallic hydrogen DOI. In a previous edition of this blog we were left with Dias and Silvera of Harvard trying to find out where their sample went, so a bit of good news is in order. Instead of filli
  • Algae microswimmers
    In making-it-move news this week: weaponized spirulina platensis (make-it-move part XIX here) as reported by Li Zhang in Science Robotics (DOI) and the first microswimmer featured in this blog applied in an actual biological system! Spirulina is a microalgae with a natural helical shape and also wit
  • Do it yourself pharma
    Big news in The Netherlands: a dispensing chemist in The Hague is challenging a pharmaceutical company by starting a pharmaceutical production line in the back of his shop rather than being forced to wholesale some really expensive medicine (NOS News). The pharma bro's are Vertex, the product is Or
  • Spectacular magnet failure
    The other day I bought a set of magnets that failed the moment I unpacked them. At 4 euro's not the end of the world but the material failure was spectacular. The button-sized pieces of metal just shattered on any impact, made worse by their large magnetic strength. So before returning them to the
  • Duped!
    From September 2014 to June 2017 Wikipedia user Carolineneil was creating one new chemistry page after the other. Typical titles were 'Modified Wittig-Claisen tandem reaction' and 'Multivalued treatment'. These articles had serious issues and fellow editors and administrators spent many hours sortin
  • You can call me Al=Al
    A seemingly odd article from the Catalysis Research Center and Institute of Silicon Chemistry, the presentation of an aluminum to aluminum double bond compound (Bag et al. DOI) but silicon has everything to do with it. This dialumene (Al=Al) in question is stabilised by two NHC carbene ligands bot
  • Desalination with a battery
    A battery can be used as a desalination plant. The technique is called capacitive deionization: apply a current over two electrodes and use them to temporarily to store the sodium ions and chloride ions and create deionised water. At discharge release the ions again to produce concentrated salt wast
  • Niemeier and Tilmes on global cooling
    In a recent Science perspective Niemeier (Max Planck Institute for Meteorology) and Tilmes ( National Center for Atmospheric Research) nicely sum up the present state of climate engineering with sulfur (DOI). In a nutshell: somehow inject a lot of sulfur into the atmosphere and make it counter globa
  • Herbicides and where to find them
    An interesting notion from Corral et al. in the Angewandte: when scouting for new herbicides look at existing antimalarial drugs (DOI). The rationale: malaria and plants share part of their evolution. Where the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum has an apicoplast (a kind of organelle used for st


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