Archive for the ‘chemistry’ Category
For some reason I had the book Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA, by Brenda Maddox, unread on my bookshelf, I’m not exactly sure how it got to be there. I had heard of Rosalind Franklin, and the opinion that she had been robbed of a Nobel Prize. I gladly took the chance to discover much more about her.
The book is a biography of a woman best known for her enormously important contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA and RNA. A woman struggling with institutionalized sexism in post war Great Britain, yet highly regarded in the UK and overseas for her work with coal, graphite and X-ray crystallographer. A woman with a brilliant mind, who was apparently not even annoyed after Crick and Watson so obviously borrowed her work, leaving her to play second fiddle to them with a discovery which was entirely hers.
The book is divided into three parts, the first covering her family’s roots from Breslau (Wrocław, Poland) and their establishment in the UK. This establishes a context for Rosalind’s life and breakthrough into the male dominated scientific world. It proceeds to tell Rosalind’s story from birth, school, into academia through-out the Second World War, up to the point that she has made a success of herself in the UK and France, in her coal and graphite research, and decides to re-establishes herself in London at King’s College.
Part two mostly covers her work on DNA and her troubled times at King’s. And although not a highly scientific look at the process in which DNA was discovered, most informative to a layperson.
The final part starts with her move to Birkbeck College, her work on RNA and plant viruses, and travels round Europe and the United States for lectures, research and to make contacts. Maddox does explain that Rosalind’s untimely death was almost certainly the reason she didn’t get the Nobel Prize, as the rules of the Nobel Prize forbid posthumous nominations.
A sad tale, and fantastic read.
I like non-fiction and I loved Forever young: Science and the search for immortality.
The book covers Alzheimer’s, Genetics and Organ Replacement well and although it helps that I have some medical knowledge it’s not difficult for a layman to understand. The genetics portion is very interesting, and I learned a lot about enzyms and the inner workings of the human brain.
Naturally I’ve started taking my NSAIDs to prevent Alzheimer.
In 2001, on the first anniversary of the World Trade Centre attacks, my father and I left New York on a Lufthansa bound for Frankfurt. I should even have the stubs somewhere. You would think that airport security would be heightened on the 11th or the days surrounding, as a precaution. Yet it isn’t. Added to this fact the [S]even in liquid bombs case to face retrial had occurred on the 10th.
On September 11th a friend of mine was travelling out from a UK airport. He had forgotten to put a 175ml bottle of liquid in his checked luggage, and without realizing the possible implications he had put it in his carry-on luggage. This wouldn’t be so funny if not for the fact that they made him take off his very long Dr Martin boots, which don’t contain any metal but a composite material. The bag and the boots went through the X-ray machine, and they then put the bag through a second time. They thanked him and he went on his way.
The problem? The bag contained 175ml bottle of a high quality nitrogen based liquid fertilizer in it’s original packaging.
In the article A dash of lime — a new twist that may cut CO2 levels back to pre-industrial levels they go into the details of removing CO2 from the air by adding lime to seawater. “Adding lime to seawater increases alkalinity, boosting seawater’s ability to absorb CO2 from air and reducing the tendency to release it back again. … The process of making lime generates CO2, but adding the lime to seawater absorbs almost twice as much CO2. The overall process is therefore ‘carbon negative’. ” There is a nice Open Source project Cquestrate.
So we have a problem of our own creation, a problem from introducing too much of one chemical into the environment. The solution might be to pour a different chemical into the sea to fix the problem. It could also be completely misguided.
Your beautiful kitchen could be poisoning you! I though it was very funny when I started reading it. “Granite, as it turns out, contains levels of uranium, which is not only radioactive but releases radon gas as it decays.1” According to the article it can also contain other nuclear materials such as thorium and potassium, although I can’t exactly remember when potassium became nuclear.