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  • richardmitnick 1:04 pm on October 7, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New process could enable more efficient plastics recycling", A catalyst made of a microporous material called a zeolite containing cobalt can selectively break down various plastic polymer molecules and turn more than 80 percent of them into propane., A chemical process using a catalyst based on cobalt has been found to be very effective at breaking down a variety of plastics., A key problem is that plastics come in so many different varieties and chemical processes for breaking them down into a form that can be reused in some way tend to be very specific to each type., , Chemistry, , , Polyethylene (PET) and polypropylene (PP)-two widely produced forms of plastic-can be broken down into propane. Propane can then be used as a fuel or a feedstock for a variety of products., Recycling plastics has been a thorny problem because the long-chain molecules in plastics are held together by carbon bonds which are very stable and difficult to break apart., The accumulation of plastic waste is one of the major pollution issues of modern times., , The materials needed for the process-zeolites and cobalt-are both quite cheap and widely available., Today much of the plastic material gathered through recycling programs ends up in landfills anyway.   

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “New process could enable more efficient plastics recycling” 

    From The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    10.6.22
    David L. Chandler

    1
    A new chemical process can break down a variety of plastics into usable propane — a possible solution to our inability to effectively recycle many types of plastic. Image: Courtesy of the researchers. Edited by MIT News.

    The accumulation of plastic waste in the oceans, soil, and even in our bodies is one of the major pollution issues of modern times, with over 5 billion tons disposed of so far. Despite major efforts to recycle plastic products, actually making use of that motley mix of materials has remained a challenging issue.

    A key problem is that plastics come in so many different varieties, and chemical processes for breaking them down into a form that can be reused in some way tend to be very specific to each type of plastic. Sorting the hodgepodge of waste material, from soda bottles to detergent jugs to plastic toys, is impractical at large scale. Today much of the plastic material gathered through recycling programs ends up in landfills anyway. Surely there’s a better way.

    According to new research from MIT and elsewhere, it appears there may indeed be a much better way. A chemical process using a catalyst based on cobalt has been found to be very effective at breaking down a variety of plastics, such as polyethylene (PET) and polypropylene (PP), the two most widely produced forms of plastic, into a single product, propane. Propane can then be used as a fuel for stoves, heaters, and vehicles, or as a feedstock for the production of a wide variety of products — including new plastics, thus potentially providing at least a partial closed-loop recycling system.

    The finding is described today in the open access journal JACS Au [below], in a paper by MIT professor of chemical engineering Yuriy Román-Leshkov, postdoc Guido Zichitella, and seven others at MIT, the DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

    Recycling plastics has been a thorny problem, Román-Leshkov explains, because the long-chain molecules in plastics are held together by carbon bonds, which are “very stable and difficult to break apart.” Existing techniques for breaking these bonds tend to produce a random mix of different molecules, which would then require complex refining methods to separate out into usable specific compounds. “The problem is,” he says, “there’s no way to control where in the carbon chain you break the molecule.”

    But to the surprise of the researchers, a catalyst made of a microporous material called a zeolite that contains cobalt nanoparticles can selectively break down various plastic polymer molecules and turn more than 80 percent of them into propane.

    Although zeolites are riddled with tiny pores less than a nanometer wide (corresponding to the width of the polymer chains), a logical assumption had been that there would be little interaction at all between the zeolite and the polymers. Surprisingly, however, the opposite turned out to be the case: Not only do the polymer chains enter the pores, but the synergistic work between cobalt and the acid sites in the zeolite can break the chain at the same point. That cleavage site turned out to correspond to chopping off exactly one propane molecule without generating unwanted methane, leaving the rest of the longer hydrocarbons ready to undergo the process, again and again.

    “Once you have this one compound, propane, you lessen the burden on downstream separations,” Román-Leshkov says. “That’s the essence of why we think this is quite important. We’re not only breaking the bonds, but we’re generating mainly a single product” that can be used for many different products and processes.

    The materials needed for the process, zeolites and cobalt, “are both quite cheap” and widely available, he says, although today most cobalt comes from troubled areas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some new production is being developed in Canada, Cuba, and other places. The other material needed for the process is hydrogen, which today is mostly produced from fossil fuels but can easily be made other ways, including electrolysis of water using carbon-free electricity such as solar or wind power.

    The researchers tested their system on a real example of mixed recycled plastic, producing promising results. But more testing will be needed on a greater variety of mixed waste streams to determine how much fouling takes place from various contaminants in the material — such as inks, glues, and labels attached to the plastic containers, or other nonplastic materials that get mixed in with the waste — and how that affects the long-term stability of the process.

    Together with collaborators at NREL, the MIT team is also continuing to study the economics of the system, and analyzing how it can fit into today’s systems for handling plastic and mixed waste streams. “We don’t have all the answers yet,” Román-Leshkov says, but preliminary analysis looks promising.

    The research team included Amani Ebrahim and Simone Bare at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory; Jie Zhu, Anna Brenner, Griffin Drake and Julie Rorrer at MIT; and Greg Beckham at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), the Swiss National Science Foundation, and the DoE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), and Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), as part of the the Bio-Optimized Technologies to keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment (BOTTLE) Consortium.

    Science paper:
    JACS Au
    See the science paper for instructive material.

    See the full article here.


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    MIT Seal

    USPS “Forever” postage stamps celebrating Innovation at MIT.

    MIT Campus

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River. The institute also encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory , the MIT Bates Research and Engineering Center , and the Haystack Observatory , as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Whitehead Institute.

    Massachusettes Institute of Technology-Haystack Observatory Westford, Massachusetts, USA, Altitude 131 m (430 ft).

    Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, Massachusetts Institute of Technology adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. It has since played a key role in the development of many aspects of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and is widely known for its innovation and academic strength. It is frequently regarded as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

    As of December 2020, 97 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 3 Mitchell Scholars, 22 Schwarzman Scholars, 41 astronauts, and 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force have been affiliated with The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The university also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a member of the Association of American Universities.

    Foundation and vision

    In 1859, a proposal was submitted to the Massachusetts General Court to use newly filled lands in Back Bay, Boston for a “Conservatory of Art and Science”, but the proposal failed. A charter for the incorporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, proposed by William Barton Rogers, was signed by John Albion Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, on April 10, 1861.

    Rogers, a professor from the University of Virginia , wanted to establish an institution to address rapid scientific and technological advances. He did not wish to found a professional school, but a combination with elements of both professional and liberal education, proposing that:

    “The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.”

    The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.

    Early developments

    Two days after The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was chartered, the first battle of the Civil War broke out. After a long delay through the war years, MIT’s first classes were held in the Mercantile Building in Boston in 1865. The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes” and was a land-grant school. In 1863 under the same act, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts founded the Massachusetts Agricultural College, which developed as the University of Massachusetts Amherst ). In 1866, the proceeds from land sales went toward new buildings in the Back Bay.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was informally called “Boston Tech”. The institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. Despite chronic financial problems, the institute saw growth in the last two decades of the 19th century under President Francis Amasa Walker. Programs in electrical, chemical, marine, and sanitary engineering were introduced, new buildings were built, and the size of the student body increased to more than one thousand.

    The curriculum drifted to a vocational emphasis, with less focus on theoretical science. The fledgling school still suffered from chronic financial shortages which diverted the attention of the MIT leadership. During these “Boston Tech” years, Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty and alumni rebuffed Harvard University president (and former MIT faculty) Charles W. Eliot’s repeated attempts to merge MIT with Harvard College’s Lawrence Scientific School. There would be at least six attempts to absorb MIT into Harvard. In its cramped Back Bay location, MIT could not afford to expand its overcrowded facilities, driving a desperate search for a new campus and funding. Eventually, the MIT Corporation approved a formal agreement to merge with Harvard, over the vehement objections of MIT faculty, students, and alumni. However, a 1917 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court effectively put an end to the merger scheme.

    In 1916, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology administration and the MIT charter crossed the Charles River on the ceremonial barge Bucentaur built for the occasion, to signify MIT’s move to a spacious new campus largely consisting of filled land on a one-mile-long (1.6 km) tract along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. The neoclassical “New Technology” campus was designed by William W. Bosworth and had been funded largely by anonymous donations from a mysterious “Mr. Smith”, starting in 1912. In January 1920, the donor was revealed to be the industrialist George Eastman of Rochester, New York, who had invented methods of film production and processing, and founded Eastman Kodak. Between 1912 and 1920, Eastman donated $20 million ($236.6 million in 2015 dollars) in cash and Kodak stock to MIT.

    Curricular reforms

    In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios. The Compton reforms “renewed confidence in the ability of the Institute to develop leadership in science as well as in engineering”. Unlike Ivy League schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology catered more to middle-class families, and depended more on tuition than on endowments or grants for its funding. The school was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934.

    Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology that “the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school”, a “partly unjustified” perception the committee sought to change. The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the MIT Sloan School of Management were formed in 1950 to compete with the powerful Schools of Science and Engineering. Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences continued to develop under the successive terms of the more humanistically oriented presidents Howard W. Johnson and Jerome Wiesner between 1966 and 1980.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology‘s involvement in military science surged during World War II. In 1941, Vannevar Bush was appointed head of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development and directed funding to only a select group of universities, including MIT. Engineers and scientists from across the country gathered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s Radiation Laboratory, established in 1940 to assist the British military in developing microwave radar. The work done there significantly affected both the war and subsequent research in the area. Other defense projects included gyroscope-based and other complex control systems for gunsight, bombsight, and inertial navigation under Charles Stark Draper’s Instrumentation Laboratory; the development of a digital computer for flight simulations under Project Whirlwind; and high-speed and high-altitude photography under Harold Edgerton. By the end of the war, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology became the nation’s largest wartime R&D contractor (attracting some criticism of Bush), employing nearly 4000 in the Radiation Laboratory alone and receiving in excess of $100 million ($1.2 billion in 2015 dollars) before 1946. Work on defense projects continued even after then. Post-war government-sponsored research at MIT included SAGE and guidance systems for ballistic missiles and Project Apollo.

    These activities affected The Massachusetts Institute of Technology profoundly. A 1949 report noted the lack of “any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute” to match the return to peacetime, remembering the “academic tranquility of the prewar years”, though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities. The faculty doubled and the graduate student body quintupled during the terms of Karl Taylor Compton, president of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology between 1930 and 1948; James Rhyne Killian, president from 1948 to 1957; and Julius Adams Stratton, chancellor from 1952 to 1957, whose institution-building strategies shaped the expanding university. By the 1950s, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.

    In late 1960s and early 1970s, student and faculty activists protested against the Vietnam War and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ‘s defense research. In this period Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles. The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology ultimately divested itself from the Instrumentation Laboratory and moved all classified research off-campus to the MIT Lincoln Laboratory facility in 1973 in response to the protests. The student body, faculty, and administration remained comparatively unpolarized during what was a tumultuous time for many other universities. Johnson was seen to be highly successful in leading his institution to “greater strength and unity” after these times of turmoil. However, six Massachusetts Institute of Technology students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT’s role in military research and its suppression of these protests. (Richard Leacock’s film, November Actions, records some of these tumultuous events.)

    In the 1980s, there was more controversy at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology over its involvement in SDI (space weaponry) and CBW (chemical and biological warfare) research. More recently, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s research for the military has included work on robots, drones and ‘battle suits’.

    Recent history

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman’s GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the MIT Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and Jerome Wiesner to promote research into novel uses of computer technology; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; the MIT OpenCourseWare project has made course materials for over 2,000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology classes available online free of charge since 2002; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs. Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus; the Tang Center for Management Education; several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research; and a number of new “backlot” buildings on Vassar Street including the Stata Center. Construction on campus in the 2000s included expansions of the Media Lab, the Sloan School’s eastern campus, and graduate residences in the northwest. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the MIT Energy Research Council to investigate the interdisciplinary challenges posed by increasing global energy consumption.

    In 2001, inspired by the open source and open access movements, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched “OpenCourseWare” to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed. While the cost of supporting and hosting the project is high, OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages. In 2011, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its “MITx” program, for a modest fee. The “edX” online platform supporting MITx was initially developed in partnership with Harvard and its analogous “Harvardx” initiative. The courseware platform is open source, and other universities have already joined and added their own course content. In March 2009 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has its own police force. Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day. One week later, Collier’s memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada. On November 25, 2013, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to “an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community and in all aspects of his life”. The announcement further stated that “Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness”.

    In September 2017, the school announced the creation of an artificial intelligence research lab called the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab. IBM will spend $240 million over the next decade, and the lab will be staffed by MIT and IBM scientists. In October 2018 MIT announced that it would open a new Schwarzman College of Computing dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, named after lead donor and The Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman. The focus of the new college is to study not just AI, but interdisciplinary AI education, and how AI can be used in fields as diverse as history and biology. The cost of buildings and new faculty for the new college is expected to be $1 billion upon completion.

    The Caltech/MIT Advanced aLIGO was designed and constructed by a team of scientists from California Institute of Technology , Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and industrial contractors, and funded by the National Science Foundation .

    Caltech /MIT Advanced aLigo

    It was designed to open the field of gravitational-wave astronomy through the detection of gravitational waves predicted by general relativity. Gravitational waves were detected for the first time by the LIGO detector in 2015. For contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves, two Caltech physicists, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Rainer Weiss won the Nobel Prize in physics in 2017. Weiss, who is also a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, designed the laser interferometric technique, which served as the essential blueprint for the LIGO.

    The mission of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the twenty-first century. We seek to develop in each member of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:55 am on October 6, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Satellites detect methane plume in Nord Stream leak", A suite of complementary Earth observation satellites carrying optical and radar imaging instruments were called upon to characterize the gas leak bubbling in the Baltic., , Chemistry, , , Following unusual seismic disturbances in the Baltic Sea several leaks were discovered last week in the underwater Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines near Denmark and Sweden., ,   

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU): “Satellites detect methane plume in Nord Stream leak” 

    ESA Space For Europe Banner

    European Space Agency – United Space in Europe (EU)

    From The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)

    10.6.22

    1
    Nord Stream leak as captured by Pléiades Neo.

    Following unusual seismic disturbances in the Baltic Sea, several leaks were discovered last week in the underwater Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines near Denmark and Sweden. Neither pipeline was transporting gas at the time of the blasts, but they still contained pressurised methane – the main component of natural gas – which spewed out producing a wide stream of bubbles on the sea surface.

    With the unexplained gas release posing a serious question about the incident’s environmental impact, a suite of complementary Earth observation satellites carrying optical and radar imaging instruments were called upon to characterize the gas leak bubbling in the Baltic.

    Although methane partly dissolves in water, released later as carbon dioxide, it is not toxic, but it is the second most abundant anthropogenic greenhouse gas in our atmosphere causing climate change.

    As the pressurized gas leaked through the broken pipe and travelled rapidly towards the sea surface, the size of the gas bubbles increased as the pressure reduced. On reaching the surface, the large gas bubbles disrupted the sea surface above the location of the pipeline rupture. The signature of the gas bubbling at the sea surface can be seen from space in several ways.

    Owing to the persistent cloud cover over the area, image acquisitions from optical satellites proved extremely difficult. High-resolution images captured by Pléiades Neo and Planet, both part of ESA’s Third Party Mission Programme, showed the disturbance ranging from 500 to 700 m across the sea surface.

    Several days later, a significant reduction in the estimated diameter of the methane disturbance was witnessed as the pipelines’ gas emptied. Images captured by Copernicus Sentinel-2 and US Landsat 8 mission confirmed this.

    As disturbances such as these cause a ‘roughening’ of the sea surface, this increases the backscatter observed by Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instruments, which are extremely sensitive to changes in the sea surface at such a scale. These include instruments onboard the Copernicus Sentinel-1 and ICEYE constellation – the first New Space company to join the Copernicus Contributing Missions fleet.

    ESA’s Scientist for Ocean and Ice, Craig Donlon, said, “The power of active microwave radar instruments is that they can monitor the ocean surface signatures of bubbling methane through clouds over a wide swath and at a high spatial resolution overcoming one of the major limitations to optical instruments. This allows for a more complete picture of the disaster and its associated event-timing to be established.”

    One of the ruptures occurred southeast of the Danish Island of Bornholm. Images from Sentinel-1 on 24 September showed no disturbance to the water. However, an ICEYE satellite passing over the area on the evening of 28 September acquired an image showing a disturbance to the sea surface above the rupture.

    3
    ICEYE image from 28 September.

    What about the methane released?

    Although optical satellites can provide us with the radius of the methane bubbling over water, they provide little information on how much methane has been released into the atmosphere.

    Monitoring methane over water is extremely difficult as water absorbs most of the sunlight in the shortwave infrared wavelengths used for methane remote sensing. This limits the amount of light reaching the sensor, thus making it extremely difficult to measure methane concentrations over the sea at high latitudes.

    4
    Gas leak detected by GHGSat satellite.

    5
    GHGSat satellite.

    GHGSat, a leader in methane emissions monitoring from space and also part of ESA’s Third Party Mission Programme, tasked its satellites to measure the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline leak with its constellation of high-resolution (around 25 m) satellites. By tasking its satellites to obtain measurements at larger viewing angles, GHGSat were able to target the area where the sun’s light reflected the strongest off the sea surface – known as the ‘glint spot’.

    On 30 September, the estimated emission rate derived from its first methane concentration measurement was 79 000 kg per hour – making it the largest methane leak ever detected by GHGSat from a single point-source. This rate is extremely high, especially considering its four days following the initial breach, and this is only one of four rupture points in the pipeline.

    GHGSat Director for Europe, Adina Gillespie, said, “Predictably, the media and the world have turned to space to understand the scale of the Nord Stream industrial disaster. While we await further investigation on the cause, GHGSat responded quickly, measuring 79 000 kg per hour of methane coming from the leaks. We will continue tasking GHGSat satellites for the Nord Stream sites until we no longer detect emissions.”

    Claus Zehner, Copernicus Sentinel-5P, Altius and Flex Missions Manager, mentions: “Besides GHGSat, the Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite provided methane concentration measurements emitted by this pipeline leak which highlights the feasibility to use both public funded and commercial satellites in a synergistic way.”

    6
    Gas leak detected by Copernicus Sentinel-2.

    Environmental impact

    Although closed at the time, the two Nord Stream stems contained enough gas to release 300 000 tonnes of methane – more than twice the amount released by the Aliso Canyon leak in California over several months in 2015-16.

    As large as it may be, the Nord Stream release pales in comparison with the 80 million tonnes emitted each year by the oil and gas industry. The latest release is roughly equivalent to one and a half days of global methane emissions.

    Methane observations from the Sentinel-5P satellite can observe regions with enhanced methane concentrations from strong point sources all over the world.

    Satellite observations are a powerful tool for improving estimates of emission strength, seeing how they change over time and can also help detect previously unknown emission sources.

    Looking ahead, the upcoming atmospheric Copernicus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Monitoring mission (CO2M) will carry a near-infrared spectrometer to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide, but also methane, at a good spatial resolution. This mission will provide the EU with a unique and independent source of information to assess the effectiveness of policy measures, and to track their impact towards decarbonizing Europe and meeting national emission reduction targets.

    Yasjka Meijer, ESA’s Scientist for Copernicus Atmospheric Missions, commented, “The CO2M Mission will provide global coverage and has a special mode above water to increase observed radiances by looking toward the sunglint spot, however it will be equally limited by clouds.”

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU), established in 1975, is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space, currently with 19 member states. Headquartered in Paris, ESA has a staff of more than 2,000. ESA’s space flight program includes human spaceflight, mainly through the participation in the International Space Station program, the launch and operations of unmanned exploration missions to other planets and the Moon, Earth observation, science, telecommunication as well as maintaining a major spaceport, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou, French Guiana, and designing launch vehicles. ESA science missions are based at ESTEC (NL) in Noordwijk, Netherlands, Earth Observation missions at ESRIN in Frascati, Italy, ESA Mission Control (ESOC) is in Darmstadt, Germany, the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) that trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany, and the
    European Space Astronomy Centre is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.

    ESA’s space flight programme includes human spaceflight (mainly through participation in the International Space Station program); the launch and operation of uncrewed exploration missions to other planets and the Moon; Earth observation, science and telecommunication; designing launch vehicles; and maintaining a major spaceport, the The Guiana Space Centre [Centre Spatial Guyanais; CSG also called Europe’s Spaceport) at Kourou, French Guiana. The main European launch vehicle Ariane 5 is operated through Arianespace with ESA sharing in the costs of launching and further developing this launch vehicle. The agency is also working with The National Aeronautics and Space Agency to manufacture the Orion Spacecraft service module that will fly on the Space Launch System.

    The agency’s facilities are distributed among the following centres:

    ESA European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) (NL) in Noordwijk, Netherlands;
    ESA Centre for Earth Observation [ESRIN] (IT) in Frascati, Italy;
    ESA Mission Control ESA European Space Operations Center [ESOC](DE) is in Darmstadt, Germany;
    ESA -European Astronaut Centre [EAC] trains astronauts for future missions is situated in Cologne, Germany;
    European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) (UK), a research institute created in 2009, is located in Harwell, England;
    ESA – European Space Astronomy Centre [ESAC] (ES) is located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid, Spain.
    European Space Agency Science Programme is a long-term programme of space science and space exploration missions.

    Foundation

    After World War II, many European scientists left Western Europe in order to work with the United States. Although the 1950s boom made it possible for Western European countries to invest in research and specifically in space-related activities, Western European scientists realized solely national projects would not be able to compete with the two main superpowers. In 1958, only months after the Sputnik shock, Edoardo Amaldi (Italy) and Pierre Auger (France), two prominent members of the Western European scientific community, met to discuss the foundation of a common Western European space agency. The meeting was attended by scientific representatives from eight countries, including Harrie Massey (United Kingdom).

    The Western European nations decided to have two agencies: one concerned with developing a launch system, ELDO (European Launch Development Organization) , and the other the precursor of the European Space Agency, ESRO (European Space Research Organization) . The latter was established on 20 March 1964 by an agreement signed on 14 June 1962. From 1968 to 1972, ESRO launched seven research satellites.

    ESA in its current form was founded with the ESA Convention in 1975, when ESRO was merged with ELDO. ESA had ten founding member states: Belgium, Denmark, France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These signed the ESA Convention in 1975 and deposited the instruments of ratification by 1980, when the convention came into force. During this interval the agency functioned in a de facto fashion. ESA launched its first major scientific mission in 1975, Cos-B, a space probe monitoring gamma-ray emissions in the universe, which was first worked on by ESRO.

    ESA50 Logo large

    Later activities

    ESA collaborated with National Aeronautics Space Agency on the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE), the world’s first high-orbit telescope, which was launched in 1978 and operated successfully for 18 years.

    ESA Infrared Space Observatory.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration Solar Orbiter annotated.

    A number of successful Earth-orbit projects followed, and in 1986 ESA began Giotto, its first deep-space mission, to study the comets Halley and Grigg–Skjellerup. Hipparcos, a star-mapping mission, was launched in 1989 and in the 1990s SOHO, Ulysses and the Hubble Space Telescope were all jointly carried out with NASA. Later scientific missions in cooperation with NASA include the Cassini–Huygens space probe, to which ESA contributed by building the Titan landing module Huygens.

    ESA/Huygens Probe from Cassini landed on Titan.

    As the successor of ELDO, ESA has also constructed rockets for scientific and commercial payloads. Ariane 1, launched in 1979, carried mostly commercial payloads into orbit from 1984 onward. The next two versions of the Ariane rocket were intermediate stages in the development of a more advanced launch system, the Ariane 4, which operated between 1988 and 2003 and established ESA as the world leader in commercial space launches in the 1990s. Although the succeeding Ariane 5 experienced a failure on its first flight, it has since firmly established itself within the heavily competitive commercial space launch market with 82 successful launches until 2018. The successor launch vehicle of Ariane 5, the Ariane 6, is under development and is envisioned to enter service in the 2020s.

    The beginning of the new millennium saw ESA become, along with agencies like National Aeronautics Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JP), Indian Space Research Organization (IN), the Canadian Space Agency(CA) and Roscosmos (RU), one of the major participants in scientific space research. Although ESA had relied on co-operation with NASA in previous decades, especially the 1990s, changed circumstances (such as tough legal restrictions on information sharing by the United States military) led to decisions to rely more on itself and on co-operation with Russia. A 2011 press issue thus stated:

    “Russia is ESA’s first partner in its efforts to ensure long-term access to space. There is a framework agreement between ESA and the government of the Russian Federation on cooperation and partnership in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and cooperation is already underway in two different areas of launcher activity that will bring benefits to both partners.”

    Notable ESA programs include SMART-1, a probe testing cutting-edge space propulsion technology, the Mars Express and Venus Express missions, as well as the development of the Ariane 5 rocket and its role in the ISS partnership. ESA maintains its scientific and research projects mainly for astronomy-space missions such as Corot, launched on 27 December 2006, a milestone in the search for exoplanets.

    On 21 January 2019, ArianeGroup and Arianespace announced a one-year contract with ESA to study and prepare for a mission to mine the Moon for lunar regolith.

    Mission

    The treaty establishing the European Space Agency reads:

    The purpose of the Agency shall be to provide for and to promote, for exclusively peaceful purposes, cooperation among European States in space research and technology and their space applications, with a view to their being used for scientific purposes and for operational space applications systems…

    ESA is responsible for setting a unified space and related industrial policy, recommending space objectives to the member states, and integrating national programs like satellite development, into the European program as much as possible.

    Jean-Jacques Dordain – ESA’s Director General (2003–2015) – outlined the European Space Agency’s mission in a 2003 interview:

    “Today space activities have pursued the benefit of citizens, and citizens are asking for a better quality of life on Earth. They want greater security and economic wealth, but they also want to pursue their dreams, to increase their knowledge, and they want younger people to be attracted to the pursuit of science and technology. I think that space can do all of this: it can produce a higher quality of life, better security, more economic wealth, and also fulfill our citizens’ dreams and thirst for knowledge, and attract the young generation. This is the reason space exploration is an integral part of overall space activities. It has always been so, and it will be even more important in the future.”

    Activities

    According to the ESA website, the activities are:

    Observing the Earth
    Human Spaceflight
    Launchers
    Navigation
    Space Science
    Space Engineering & Technology
    Operations
    Telecommunications & Integrated Applications
    Preparing for the Future
    Space for Climate

    Programs

    Copernicus Programme
    Cosmic Vision
    ExoMars
    FAST20XX
    Galileo
    Horizon 2000
    Living Planet Programme
    Mandatory

    Every member country must contribute to these programs:

    Technology Development Element Program
    Science Core Technology Program
    General Study Program
    European Component Initiative

    Optional

    Depending on their individual choices the countries can contribute to the following programs, listed according to:

    Launchers
    Earth Observation
    Human Spaceflight and Exploration
    Telecommunications
    Navigation
    Space Situational Awareness
    Technology

    ESA_LAB@

    ESA has formed partnerships with universities. ESA_LAB@ refers to research laboratories at universities. Currently there are ESA_LAB@

    Technische Universität Darmstadt (DE)
    École des hautes études commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris) (FR)
    Université de recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres (FR)
    The University of Central Lancashire (UK)

    Membership and contribution to ESA

    By 2015, ESA was an intergovernmental organization of 22 member states. Member states participate to varying degrees in the mandatory (25% of total expenditures in 2008) and optional space programs (75% of total expenditures in 2008). The 2008 budget amounted to €3.0 billion whilst the 2009 budget amounted to €3.6 billion. The total budget amounted to about €3.7 billion in 2010, €3.99 billion in 2011, €4.02 billion in 2012, €4.28 billion in 2013, €4.10 billion in 2014 and €4.33 billion in 2015. English is the main language within ESA. Additionally, official documents are also provided in German and documents regarding the Spacelab are also provided in Italian. If found appropriate, the agency may conduct its correspondence in any language of a member state.

    Non-full member states
    Slovenia
    Since 2016, Slovenia has been an associated member of the ESA.

    Latvia
    Latvia became the second current associated member on 30 June 2020, when the Association Agreement was signed by ESA Director Jan Wörner and the Minister of Education and Science of Latvia, Ilga Šuplinska in Riga. The Saeima ratified it on July 27. Previously associated members were Austria, Norway and Finland, all of which later joined ESA as full members.

    Canada
    Since 1 January 1979, Canada has had the special status of a Cooperating State within ESA. By virtue of this accord, The Canadian Space Agency [Agence spatiale canadienne, ASC] (CA) takes part in ESA’s deliberative bodies and decision-making and also in ESA’s programs and activities. Canadian firms can bid for and receive contracts to work on programs. The accord has a provision ensuring a fair industrial return to Canada. The most recent Cooperation Agreement was signed on 15 December 2010 with a term extending to 2020. For 2014, Canada’s annual assessed contribution to the ESA general budget was €6,059,449 (CAD$8,559,050). For 2017, Canada has increased its annual contribution to €21,600,000 (CAD$30,000,000).

    Enlargement

    After the decision of the ESA Council of 21/22 March 2001, the procedure for accession of the European states was detailed as described the document titled The Plan for European Co-operating States (PECS). Nations that want to become a full member of ESA do so in 3 stages. First a Cooperation Agreement is signed between the country and ESA. In this stage, the country has very limited financial responsibilities. If a country wants to co-operate more fully with ESA, it signs a European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement. The ECS Agreement makes companies based in the country eligible for participation in ESA procurements. The country can also participate in all ESA programs, except for the Basic Technology Research Programme. While the financial contribution of the country concerned increases, it is still much lower than that of a full member state. The agreement is normally followed by a Plan For European Cooperating State (or PECS Charter). This is a 5-year programme of basic research and development activities aimed at improving the nation’s space industry capacity. At the end of the 5-year period, the country can either begin negotiations to become a full member state or an associated state or sign a new PECS Charter.

    During the Ministerial Meeting in December 2014, ESA ministers approved a resolution calling for discussions to begin with Israel, Australia and South Africa on future association agreements. The ministers noted that “concrete cooperation is at an advanced stage” with these nations and that “prospects for mutual benefits are existing”.

    A separate space exploration strategy resolution calls for further co-operation with the United States, Russia and China on “LEO” exploration, including a continuation of ISS cooperation and the development of a robust plan for the coordinated use of space transportation vehicles and systems for exploration purposes, participation in robotic missions for the exploration of the Moon, the robotic exploration of Mars, leading to a broad Mars Sample Return mission in which Europe should be involved as a full partner, and human missions beyond LEO in the longer term.”

    Relationship with the European Union

    The political perspective of the European Union (EU) was to make ESA an agency of the EU by 2014, although this date was not met. The EU member states provide most of ESA’s funding, and they are all either full ESA members or observers.

    History

    At the time ESA was formed, its main goals did not encompass human space flight; rather it considered itself to be primarily a scientific research organization for uncrewed space exploration in contrast to its American and Soviet counterparts. It is therefore not surprising that the first non-Soviet European in space was not an ESA astronaut on a European space craft; it was Czechoslovak Vladimír Remek who in 1978 became the first non-Soviet or American in space (the first man in space being Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union) – on a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, followed by the Pole Mirosław Hermaszewski and East German Sigmund Jähn in the same year. This Soviet co-operation programme, known as Intercosmos, primarily involved the participation of Eastern bloc countries. In 1982, however, Jean-Loup Chrétien became the first non-Communist Bloc astronaut on a flight to the Soviet Salyut 7 space station.

    Because Chrétien did not officially fly into space as an ESA astronaut, but rather as a member of the French CNES astronaut corps, the German Ulf Merbold is considered the first ESA astronaut to fly into space. He participated in the STS-9 Space Shuttle mission that included the first use of the European-built Spacelab in 1983. STS-9 marked the beginning of an extensive ESA/NASA joint partnership that included dozens of space flights of ESA astronauts in the following years. Some of these missions with Spacelab were fully funded and organizationally and scientifically controlled by ESA (such as two missions by Germany and one by Japan) with European astronauts as full crew members rather than guests on board. Beside paying for Spacelab flights and seats on the shuttles, ESA continued its human space flight co-operation with the Soviet Union and later Russia, including numerous visits to Mir.

    During the latter half of the 1980s, European human space flights changed from being the exception to routine and therefore, in 1990, the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany was established. It selects and trains prospective astronauts and is responsible for the co-ordination with international partners, especially with regard to the International Space Station. As of 2006, the ESA astronaut corps officially included twelve members, including nationals from most large European countries except the United Kingdom.

    In the summer of 2008, ESA started to recruit new astronauts so that final selection would be due in spring 2009. Almost 10,000 people registered as astronaut candidates before registration ended in June 2008. 8,413 fulfilled the initial application criteria. Of the applicants, 918 were chosen to take part in the first stage of psychological testing, which narrowed down the field to 192. After two-stage psychological tests and medical evaluation in early 2009, as well as formal interviews, six new members of the European Astronaut Corps were selected – five men and one woman.

    Cooperation with other countries and organizations

    ESA has signed co-operation agreements with the following states that currently neither plan to integrate as tightly with ESA institutions as Canada, nor envision future membership of ESA: Argentina, Brazil, China, India (for the Chandrayan mission), Russia and Turkey.

    Additionally, ESA has joint projects with the European Union, NASA of the United States and is participating in the International Space Station together with the United States (NASA), Russia and Japan (JAXA).

    European Union
    ESA and EU member states
    ESA-only members
    EU-only members

    ESA is not an agency or body of the European Union (EU), and has non-EU countries (Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) as members. There are however ties between the two, with various agreements in place and being worked on, to define the legal status of ESA with regard to the EU.

    There are common goals between ESA and the EU. ESA has an EU liaison office in Brussels. On certain projects, the EU and ESA co-operate, such as the upcoming Galileo satellite navigation system. Space policy has since December 2009 been an area for voting in the European Council. Under the European Space Policy of 2007, the EU, ESA and its Member States committed themselves to increasing co-ordination of their activities and programs and to organizing their respective roles relating to space.

    The Lisbon Treaty of 2009 reinforces the case for space in Europe and strengthens the role of ESA as an R&D space agency. Article 189 of the Treaty gives the EU a mandate to elaborate a European space policy and take related measures, and provides that the EU should establish appropriate relations with ESA.

    Former Italian astronaut Umberto Guidoni, during his tenure as a Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009, stressed the importance of the European Union as a driving force for space exploration, “…since other players are coming up such as India and China it is becoming ever more important that Europeans can have an independent access to space. We have to invest more into space research and technology in order to have an industry capable of competing with other international players.”

    The first EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration took place in Prague on 22 and 23 October 2009. A road map which would lead to a common vision and strategic planning in the area of space exploration was discussed. Ministers from all 29 EU and ESA members as well as members of parliament were in attendance.

    National space organizations of member states:

    The Centre National d’Études Spatiales(FR) (CNES) (National Centre for Space Study) is the French government space agency (administratively, a “public establishment of industrial and commercial character”). Its headquarters are in central Paris. CNES is the main participant on the Ariane project. Indeed, CNES designed and tested all Ariane family rockets (mainly from its centre in Évry near Paris)
    The UK Space Agency is a partnership of the UK government departments which are active in space. Through the UK Space Agency, the partners provide delegates to represent the UK on the various ESA governing bodies. Each partner funds its own programme.
    The Italian Space Agency A.S.I. – Agenzia Spaziale Italiana was founded in 1988 to promote, co-ordinate and conduct space activities in Italy. Operating under the Ministry of the Universities and of Scientific and Technological Research, the agency cooperates with numerous entities active in space technology and with the president of the Council of Ministers. Internationally, the ASI provides Italy’s delegation to the Council of the European Space Agency and to its subordinate bodies.
    The German Aerospace Center (DLR)[Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e. V.] is the national research centre for aviation and space flight of the Federal Republic of Germany and of other member states in the Helmholtz Association. Its extensive research and development projects are included in national and international cooperative programs. In addition to its research projects, the centre is the assigned space agency of Germany bestowing headquarters of German space flight activities and its associates.
    The Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA)(ES) (National Institute for Aerospace Technique) is a Public Research Organization specialized in aerospace research and technology development in Spain. Among other functions, it serves as a platform for space research and acts as a significant testing facility for the aeronautic and space sector in the country.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency

    ESA has a long history of collaboration with NASA. Since ESA’s astronaut corps was formed, the Space Shuttle has been the primary launch vehicle used by ESA’s astronauts to get into space through partnership programs with NASA. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Spacelab programme was an ESA-NASA joint research programme that had ESA develop and manufacture orbital labs for the Space Shuttle for several flights on which ESA participate with astronauts in experiments.

    In robotic science mission and exploration missions, NASA has been ESA’s main partner. Cassini–Huygens was a joint NASA-ESA mission, along with the Infrared Space Observatory, INTEGRAL, SOHO, and others.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)/ASI Italian Space Agency [Agenzia Spaziale Italiana](IT) Cassini Spacecraft.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Integral spacecraft

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization] (EU)/National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationSOHO satellite. Launched in 1995.

    Also, the Hubble Space Telescope is a joint project of NASA and ESA.

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration/European Space Agency[La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU) Hubble Space Telescope

    ESA-NASA joint projects include the James Webb Space Telescope and the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency/European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne] [Europäische Weltraumorganization]Canadian Space Agency [Agence Spatiale Canadienne](CA) James Webb Space Telescope annotated. Scheduled for launch in December 2021.

    Gravity is talking. Lisa will listen. Dialogos of Eide.

    The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)/National Aeronautics and Space Administration eLISA space based, the future of gravitational wave research.

    NASA has committed to provide support to ESA’s proposed MarcoPolo-R mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth for further analysis. NASA and ESA will also likely join together for a Mars Sample Return Mission. In October 2020 the ESA entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NASA to work together on the Artemis program, which will provide an orbiting lunar gateway and also accomplish the first manned lunar landing in 50 years, whose team will include the first woman on the Moon.

    NASA ARTEMIS spacecraft depiction.

    Cooperation with other space agencies

    Since China has started to invest more money into space activities, the Chinese Space Agency[中国国家航天局] (CN) has sought international partnerships. ESA is, beside, The Russian Federal Space Agency Государственная корпорация по космической деятельности «Роскосмос»](RU) one of its most important partners. Two space agencies cooperated in the development of the Double Star Mission. In 2017, ESA sent two astronauts to China for two weeks sea survival training with Chinese astronauts in Yantai, Shandong.

    ESA entered into a major joint venture with Russia in the form of the CSTS, the preparation of French Guiana spaceport for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets and other projects. With India, ESA agreed to send instruments into space aboard the ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. ESA is also co-operating with Japan, the most notable current project in collaboration with JAXA is the BepiColombo mission to Mercury.

    European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganization](EU)/Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency [国立研究開発法人宇宙航空研究開発機構](JP) Bepicolumbo in flight illustration. Artist’s impression of BepiColombo – ESA’s first mission to Mercury. ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESOC Germany.

    ESA’s Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) will be operated from ESOC Germany.

    Speaking to reporters at an air show near Moscow in August 2011, ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain said ESA and Russia’s Roskosmos space agency would “carry out the first flight to Mars together.”

     
  • richardmitnick 10:24 am on October 6, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "An Essential Step in The Evolution of Life on Earth Could Have Taken Place in The Air", A unique reactivity of free amino acids at the air–water interface of micron-sized water droplets that leads to the formation of peptide isomers on the millisecond timescale., Amide bonds are actually hindered by water., Amide bonds are the links in the chains of amino acids that form the foundation of so many crucial components of life including peptides (short strings of amino acids) and proteins., , , Chemistry, Microdroplets may have been produced in the form of sea spray whipped up from the ocean and creating the essential chemical bonds for life to develop., , , The boundary between water and air could be where life got started., The reaction is performed under ambient conditions and does not require additional reagents; acid; catalysts or radiation.   

    From Purdue University Via “Science Alert (AU)” : “An Essential Step in The Evolution of Life on Earth Could Have Taken Place in The Air” 

    From Purdue University

    Via

    ScienceAlert

    “Science Alert (AU)”

    10.6.22
    David Nield

    1
    The boundary between water and air could be where life got started. (Yaorusheng/Moment/Getty Images)

    Life’s emergence in a ‘warm little pond’ some 4.5 billion years ago is a relatively solid foundation of modern biology.

    In spite of water’s vital role in facilitating early organic reactions on Earth, one of the most basic ingredients won’t form in aqueous surrounds, raising the question of how life initially acquired them.

    A new experiment reveals how these critical chemical reactions might have taken place.

    Amide bonds are the links in the chains of amino acids that form the foundation of so many crucial components of life, including peptides (short strings of amino acids) and proteins (longer strings of amino acids that can do work in the form of enzymes).

    The problem is that amide bonds are actually hindered by water, which is something of a problem on an oceanic world like ancient Earth. Something else must have come into play, scientists think, and the new study suggests it was at the boundary of water and air that the magic happened.

    “Here, we report a unique reactivity of free amino acids at the air–water interface of micron-sized water droplets that leads to the formation of peptide isomers on the millisecond timescale,” write Purdue University chemist Dylan Holdena and colleagues in their published paper [PNAS (below)].

    “This reaction is performed under ambient conditions and does not require additional reagents, acid, catalysts, or radiation.”

    The team sprayed microdroplets of water containing two amino acids, glycine and L-alanine, towards a mass spectrometer device for detailed chemical analysis. A chain of two amino acids, a dipeptide, was shown to form in the droplets.

    Since dipeptides are able to build further amino acid chains, the results are taken to imply airborne microdroplets could have sped up the early construction of peptide chains by exposing dissolved amino acids to the air.

    Billions of years ago, such microdroplets may have been produced in the form of sea spray was whipped up from the ocean, creating the essential chemical bonds for life to develop.

    What’s more, the reaction observed in these experiments happened without the addition of any other chemical agents, catalysts, or radiation sources, making it more likely that it could have been happening billions of years ago on Earth.

    “The observed generation of peptides from free amino acids at the air–water interface of pure water droplets, the simplest of all prebiotic systems, suggests that settings such as atmospheric aerosols or sea spray may have provided a unique and ubiquitous environment to overcome the energetic hurdles associated with condensation and polymerization of biomolecules in water,” write the researchers.

    If the team is right, where microdroplets of water hit the air, at the smallest scales the environment might be dry rather than wet – which means it would be providing conditions where dipeptides can be synthesized.

    Scientists have been busy looking at all kinds of explanations for how amino acid chains could have been formed in ocean environments. Hydrothermal vents may have played a role, for instance, or perhaps a visiting asteroid. Now, there’s a new option.

    It’s still a hypothesis for now though, and future studies will be required to work out just how these amino acid chains are being put together – and how these basic chemical building blocks led to the life on Earth that we know today.

    “This reactivity provides a plausible route for the formation of the first biopolymers in aqueous environments,” write the researchers.

    Science paper:
    PNAS

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Purdue University is a public land-grant research university in West Lafayette, Indiana, and the flagship campus of the Purdue University system. The university was founded in 1869 after Lafayette businessman John Purdue donated land and money to establish a college of science, technology, and agriculture in his name. The first classes were held on September 16, 1874, with six instructors and 39 students.

    The main campus in West Lafayette offers more than 200 majors for undergraduates, over 69 masters and doctoral programs, and professional degrees in pharmacy and veterinary medicine. In addition, Purdue has 18 intercollegiate sports teams and more than 900 student organizations. Purdue is a member of the Big Ten Conference and enrolls the second largest student body of any university in Indiana, as well as the fourth largest foreign student population of any university in the United States.

    Purdue University is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. Purdue has 25 American astronauts as alumni and as of April 2019, the university has been associated with 13 Nobel Prizes.

    In 1865, the Indiana General Assembly voted to take advantage of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act of 1862 and began plans to establish an institution with a focus on agriculture and engineering. Communities throughout the state offered facilities and funding in bids for the location of the new college. Popular proposals included the addition of an agriculture department at Indiana State University, at what is now Butler University. By 1869, Tippecanoe County’s offer included $150,000 (equivalent to $2.9 million in 2019) from Lafayette business leader and philanthropist John Purdue; $50,000 from the county; and 100 acres (0.4 km^2) of land from local residents.

    On May 6, 1869, the General Assembly established the institution in Tippecanoe County as Purdue University, in the name of the principal benefactor. Classes began at Purdue on September 16, 1874, with six instructors and 39 students. Professor John S. Hougham was Purdue’s first faculty member and served as acting president between the administrations of presidents Shortridge and White. A campus of five buildings was completed by the end of 1874. In 1875, Sarah A. Oren, the State Librarian of Indiana, was appointed Professor of Botany.

    Purdue issued its first degree, a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, in 1875, and admitted its first female students that autumn.

    Emerson E. White, the university’s president, from 1876 to 1883, followed a strict interpretation of the Morrill Act. Rather than emulate the classical universities, White believed Purdue should be an “industrial college” and devote its resources toward providing a broad, liberal education with an emphasis on science, technology, and agriculture. He intended not only to prepare students for industrial work, but also to prepare them to be good citizens and family members.

    Part of White’s plan to distinguish Purdue from classical universities included a controversial attempt to ban fraternities, which was ultimately overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court, leading to White’s resignation. The next president, James H. Smart, is remembered for his call in 1894 to rebuild the original Heavilon Hall “one brick higher” after it had been destroyed by a fire.

    By the end of the nineteenth century, the university was organized into schools of agriculture, engineering (mechanical, civil, and electrical), and pharmacy; former U.S. President Benjamin Harrison served on the board of trustees. Purdue’s engineering laboratories included testing facilities for a locomotive, and for a Corliss steam engine—one of the most efficient engines of the time. The School of Agriculture shared its research with farmers throughout the state, with its cooperative extension services, and would undergo a period of growth over the following two decades. Programs in education and home economics were soon established, as well as a short-lived school of medicine. By 1925, Purdue had the largest undergraduate engineering enrollment in the country, a status it would keep for half a century.

    President Edward C. Elliott oversaw a campus building program between the world wars. Inventor, alumnus, and trustee David E. Ross coordinated several fundraisers, donated lands to the university, and was instrumental in establishing the Purdue Research Foundation. Ross’s gifts and fundraisers supported such projects as Ross–Ade Stadium, the Memorial Union, a civil engineering surveying camp, and Purdue University Airport. Purdue Airport was the country’s first university-owned airport and the site of the country’s first college-credit flight training courses.

    Amelia Earhart joined the Purdue faculty in 1935 as a consultant for these flight courses and as a counselor on women’s careers. In 1937, the Purdue Research Foundation provided the funds for the Lockheed Electra 10-E Earhart flew on her attempted round-the-world flight.

    Every school and department at the university was involved in some type of military research or training during World War II. During a project on radar receivers, Purdue physicists discovered properties of germanium that led to the making of the first transistor. The Army and the Navy conducted training programs at Purdue and more than 17,500 students, staff, and alumni served in the armed forces. Purdue set up about a hundred centers throughout Indiana to train skilled workers for defense industries. As veterans returned to the university under the G.I. Bill, first-year classes were taught at some of these sites to alleviate the demand for campus space. Four of these sites are now degree-granting regional campuses of the Purdue University system. On-campus housing became racially desegregated in 1947, following pressure from Purdue President Frederick L. Hovde and Indiana Governor Ralph F. Gates.

    After the war, Hovde worked to expand the academic opportunities at the university. A decade-long construction program emphasized science and research. In the late 1950s and early 1960s the university established programs in veterinary medicine, industrial management, and nursing, as well as the first computer science department in the United States. Undergraduate humanities courses were strengthened, although Hovde only reluctantly approved of graduate-level study in these areas. Purdue awarded its first Bachelor of Arts degrees in 1960. The programs in liberal arts and education, formerly administered by the School of Science, were soon split into an independent school.

    The official seal of Purdue was officially inaugurated during the university’s centennial in 1969.

    1

    Consisting of elements from emblems that had been used unofficially for 73 years, the current seal depicts a griffin, symbolizing strength, and a three-part shield, representing education, research, and service.

    In recent years, Purdue’s leaders have continued to support high-tech research and international programs. In 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan visited the West Lafayette campus to give a speech about the influence of technological progress on job creation.

    In the 1990s, the university added more opportunities to study abroad and expanded its course offerings in world languages and cultures. The first buildings of the Discovery Park interdisciplinary research center were dedicated in 2004.

    Purdue launched a Global Policy Research Institute in 2010 to explore the potential impact of technical knowledge on public policy decisions.

    On April 27, 2017, Purdue University announced plans to acquire for-profit college Kaplan University and convert it to a public university in the state of Indiana, subject to multiple levels of approval. That school now operates as Purdue University Global, and aims to serve adult learners.

    Campuses

    Purdue’s campus is situated in the small city of West Lafayette, near the western bank of the Wabash River, across which sits the larger city of Lafayette. State Street, which is concurrent with State Road 26, divides the northern and southern portions of campus. Academic buildings are mostly concentrated on the eastern and southern parts of campus, with residence halls and intramural fields to the west, and athletic facilities to the north. The Greater Lafayette Public Transportation Corporation (CityBus) operates eight campus loop bus routes on which students, faculty, and staff can ride free of charge with Purdue Identification.

    Organization and administration

    The university president, appointed by the board of trustees, is the chief administrative officer of the university. The office of the president oversees admission and registration, student conduct and counseling, the administration and scheduling of classes and space, the administration of student athletics and organized extracurricular activities, the libraries, the appointment of the faculty and conditions of their employment, the appointment of all non-faculty employees and the conditions of employment, the general organization of the university, and the planning and administration of the university budget.

    The Board of Trustees directly appoints other major officers of the university including a provost who serves as the chief academic officer for the university, several vice presidents with oversight over specific university operations, and the regional campus chancellors.

    Academic divisions

    Purdue is organized into thirteen major academic divisions.

    College of Agriculture

    The university’s College of Agriculture supports the university’s agricultural, food, life, and natural resource science programs. The college also supports the university’s charge as a land-grant university to support agriculture throughout the state; its agricultural extension program plays a key role in this.

    College of Education

    The College of Education offers undergraduate degrees in elementary education, social studies education, and special education, and graduate degrees in these and many other specialty areas of education. It has two departments: (a) Curriculum and Instruction and (b) Educational Studies.

    College of Engineering

    The Purdue University College of Engineering was established in 1874 with programs in Civil and Mechanical Engineering. The college now offers B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in more than a dozen disciplines. Purdue’s engineering program has also educated 24 of America’s astronauts, including Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan who were the first and last astronauts to have walked on the Moon, respectively. Many of Purdue’s engineering disciplines are recognized as top-ten programs in the U.S. The college as a whole is currently ranked 7th in the U.S. of all doctorate-granting engineering schools by U.S. News & World Report.

    Exploratory Studies

    The university’s Exploratory Studies program supports undergraduate students who enter the university without having a declared major. It was founded as a pilot program in 1995 and made a permanent program in 1999.

    College of Health and Human Sciences

    The College of Health and Human Sciences was established in 2010 and is the newest college. It offers B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in all 10 of its academic units.

    College of Liberal Arts

    Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts contains the arts, social sciences and humanities programs at the university. Liberal arts courses have been taught at Purdue since its founding in 1874. The School of Science, Education, and Humanities was formed in 1953. In 1963, the School of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education was established, although Bachelor of Arts degrees had begun to be conferred as early as 1959. In 1989, the School of Liberal Arts was created to encompass Purdue’s arts, humanities, and social sciences programs, while education programs were split off into the newly formed School of Education. The School of Liberal Arts was renamed the College of Liberal Arts in 2005.

    Krannert School of Management

    The Krannert School of Management offers management courses and programs at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels.

    College of Pharmacy

    The university’s College of Pharmacy was established in 1884 and is the 3rd oldest state-funded school of pharmacy in the United States. The school offers two undergraduate programs leading to the B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences (BSPS) and the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) professional degree. Graduate programs leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are offered in three departments (Industrial and Physical Pharmacy, Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, and Pharmacy Practice). Additionally, the school offers several non-degree certificate programs and post-graduate continuing education activities.

    Purdue Polytechnic Institute

    The Purdue Polytechnic Institute offers bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in a wide range of technology-related disciplines. With over 30,000 living alumni, it is one of the largest technology schools in the United States.

    College of Science

    The university’s College of Science houses the university’s science departments: Biological Sciences; Chemistry; Computer Science; Earth, Atmospheric, & Planetary Sciences; Mathematics; Physics & Astronomy; and Statistics. The science courses offered by the college account for about one-fourth of Purdue’s one million student credit hours.

    College of Veterinary Medicine

    The College of Veterinary Medicine is accredited by the AVMA to offer the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in veterinary technology, master’s and Ph.D. degrees, and residency programs leading to specialty board certification. Within the state of Indiana, the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine is the only veterinary school, while the Indiana University School of Medicine is one of only two medical schools (the other being Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine). The two schools frequently collaborate on medical research projects.

    Honors College

    Purdue’s Honors College supports an honors program for undergraduate students at the university.

    The Graduate School

    The university’s Graduate School supports graduate students at the university.

    Research

    The university expended $622.814 million in support of research system-wide in 2017, using funds received from the state and federal governments, industry, foundations, and individual donors. The faculty and more than 400 research laboratories put Purdue University among the leading research institutions. Purdue University is considered by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education to have “very high research activity”. Purdue also was rated the nation’s fourth best place to work in academia, according to rankings released in November 2007 by The Scientist magazine. Purdue’s researchers provide insight, knowledge, assistance, and solutions in many crucial areas. These include, but are not limited to Agriculture; Business and Economy; Education; Engineering; Environment; Healthcare; Individuals, Society, Culture; Manufacturing; Science; Technology; Veterinary Medicine. The Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP), a global research consortium focused on global economic governance challenges (trade, climate, resource use) is also coordinated by the University. Purdue University generated a record $438 million in sponsored research funding during the 2009–10 fiscal year with participation from National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and Department of Health and Human Services. Purdue University was ranked fourth in Engineering research expenditures amongst all the colleges in the United States in 2017, with a research expenditure budget of 244.8 million. Purdue University established the Discovery Park to bring innovation through multidisciplinary action. In all of the eleven centers of Discovery Park, ranging from entrepreneurship to energy and advanced manufacturing, research projects reflect a large economic impact and address global challenges. Purdue University’s nanotechnology research program, built around the new Birck Nanotechnology Center in Discovery Park, ranks among the best in the nation.

    The Purdue Research Park which opened in 1961 was developed by Purdue Research Foundation which is a private, nonprofit foundation created to assist Purdue. The park is focused on companies operating in the arenas of life sciences, homeland security, engineering, advanced manufacturing and information technology. It provides an interactive environment for experienced Purdue researchers and for private business and high-tech industry. It currently employs more than 3,000 people in 155 companies, including 90 technology-based firms. The Purdue Research Park was ranked first by the Association of University Research Parks in 2004.

    Purdue’s library system consists of fifteen locations throughout the campus, including an archives and special collections research center, an undergraduate library, and several subject-specific libraries. More than three million volumes, including one million electronic books, are held at these locations. The Library houses the Amelia Earhart Collection, a collection of notes and letters belonging to Earhart and her husband George Putnam along with records related to her disappearance and subsequent search efforts. An administrative unit of Purdue University Libraries, Purdue University Press has its roots in the 1960 founding of Purdue University Studies by President Frederick Hovde on a $12,000 grant from the Purdue Research Foundation. This was the result of a committee appointed by President Hovde after the Department of English lamented the lack of publishing venues in the humanities. Since the 1990s, the range of books published by the Press has grown to reflect the work from other colleges at Purdue University especially in the areas of agriculture, health, and engineering. Purdue University Press publishes print and ebook monograph series in a range of subject areas from literary and cultural studies to the study of the human-animal bond. In 1993 Purdue University Press was admitted to membership of the Association of American University Presses. Purdue University Press publishes around 25 books a year and 20 learned journals in print, in print & online, and online-only formats in collaboration with Purdue University Libraries.

    Sustainability

    Purdue’s Sustainability Council, composed of University administrators and professors, meets monthly to discuss environmental issues and sustainability initiatives at Purdue. The University’s first LEED Certified building was an addition to the Mechanical Engineering Building, which was completed in Fall 2011. The school is also in the process of developing an arboretum on campus. In addition, a system has been set up to display live data detailing current energy production at the campus utility plant. The school holds an annual “Green Week” each fall, an effort to engage the Purdue community with issues relating to environmental sustainability.

    Rankings

    In its 2021 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked Purdue University the 5th most innovative national university, tied for the 17th best public university in the United States, tied for 53rd overall, and 114th best globally. U.S. News & World Report also rated Purdue tied for 36th in “Best Undergraduate Teaching, 83rd in “Best Value Schools”, tied for 284th in “Top Performers on Social Mobility”, and the undergraduate engineering program tied for 9th at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:58 am on October 6, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: " ATP": Adenosine Triphosphate, "ADP": Adenosine Diphosphate, "Every Life Form on Earth Uses The Same Chemical For Energy. This Could Explain Why", A phosphate molecule is added to ADP through a reaction called phosphorylation – resulting in ATP., , , , Chemistry, Reactions that release that same phosphate provide chemical energy that our cells use for countless processes., ,   

    From University College London (UK) Via “Science Alert (AU)” : “Every Life Form on Earth Uses The Same Chemical For Energy. This Could Explain Why” 

    UCL bloc

    From University College London (UK)

    Via

    ScienceAlert

    “Science Alert (AU)”

    10.6.22
    Tessa Koumoundouros

    1
    TEM of a mitochondria (believed to be of bacteria origin), where ATP production takes place in animal cells. (Callista Images/Image Source/Getty Images)

    All life as we know it uses the exact same energy-carrying molecule as a kind of ‘universal cellular fuel’. Now, ancient chemistry may explain how that all-important molecule ended up being ATP (adenosine triphosphate) a new study [PLOS Biology (below)] reports.

    ATP is an organic molecule, charged up by photosynthesis or by cellular respiration (the way organisms break down food) and used in every single cell. Every day, we recycle our own body weight in ATP.

    In both the above systems, a phosphate molecule is added to ADP (adenosine diphosphate) through a reaction called phosphorylation – resulting in ATP.

    Reactions that release that same phosphate (in another process called hydrolysis) provide chemical energy that our cells use for countless processes, from brain signaling to movement and reproduction.

    How ATP ascended to metabolic dominance, in place of many possible equivalents, has been a long-standing mystery in biology and the focus of the research.

    “Our results suggest… that the emergence of ATP as the universal energy currency of the cell was not the result of a ‘frozen accident’,” but arose from unique interactions of phosphorylation molecules, explains evolutionary biochemist Nick Lane from University College London.

    The fact that ATP is used by all living things suggests it has been around since life’s very beginning and even before, during the prebiotic conditions that preceded all us animate matter.

    But researchers are puzzled as to how this could be the case when ATP has such a complicated structure that involves six different phosphorylation reactions and a whole lot of energy to create it from scratch.

    “There is nothing particularly special about the ‘high-energy’ [phosphorus] bonds in ATP,” says biochemist Silvana Pinna who was with UCL at the time, and colleagues in their paper.

    But as ATP also helps build our cells’ genetic information, it may have been roped in for energy use through this other pathway, they note.

    Pinna and team suspect some other molecules must have been involved initially in the complicated phosphorylation process. So they took a close look at another phosphorylating molecule, AcP, that’s still used by bacteria and archaea in their metabolism of chemicals, including phosphate and thioester – a chemical thought to have been abundant at the beginning of life.

    In the presence of iron ions (Fe3+), AcP can phosphorylate ADP to ATP in water. Upon testing the ability of other ions and minerals to catalyze ATP formation in water, the researchers could not replicate this with other substitute metals or phosphorylating molecules.

    “It was very surprising to discover the reaction is so selective – in the metal ion, phosphate donor, and substrate – with molecules that life still uses,” says Pinna.

    “The fact that this happens best in water under mild, life-compatible conditions is really quite significant for the origin of life.”

    This suggests that with AcP, these energy-storing reactions could take place in prebiotic conditions, before biological life was there to hoard and spur the now self-perpetuating cycle of ATP production.

    Furthermore, the experiments suggest that the creation of prebiotic ATP was most likely to take place in freshwater, where photochemical reactions and volcanic eruptions, for instance, could provide the right mix of ingredients, the team explains.

    While this doesn’t completely preclude its occurrence in the sea, it does hint that the birth of life may have required a strong link to land, they note.

    “Our results suggest that ATP became established as the universal energy currency in a prebiotic, monomeric world, on the basis of its unusual chemistry in water,” Pinna and colleagues write.

    What’s more, pH gradients in hydrothermal systems could have created an uneven ratio of ATP to ADP, enabling ATP to drive work even in the prebiotic world of small molecules.

    “Over time, with the emergence of suitable catalysts, ATP could eventually displace AcP as a ubiquitous phosphate donor, and promote the polymerization of amino acids and nucleotides to form RNA, DNA, and proteins,” explains Lane.

    Science paper:
    PLOS Biology
    See the science paper for instructive material.

    See the full article here .

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    UCL campus

    Established in 1826, as London University by founders inspired by the radical ideas of Jeremy Bentham, University College London (UK) was the first university institution to be established in London, and the first in England to be entirely secular and to admit students regardless of their religion. University College London also makes contested claims to being the third-oldest university in England and the first to admit women. In 1836, University College London became one of the two founding colleges of the University of London, which was granted a royal charter in the same year. It has grown through mergers, including with the Institute of Ophthalmology (in 1995); the Institute of Neurology (in 1997); the Royal Free Hospital Medical School (in 1998); the Eastman Dental Institute (in 1999); the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (in 1999); the School of Pharmacy (in 2012) and the Institute of Education (in 2014).

    University College London has its main campus in the Bloomsbury area of central London, with a number of institutes and teaching hospitals elsewhere in central London and satellite campuses in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, east London and in Doha, Qatar. University College London is organised into 11 constituent faculties, within which there are over 100 departments, institutes and research centres. University College London operates several museums and collections in a wide range of fields, including the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology and the Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy, and administers the annual Orwell Prize in political writing. In 2019/20, UCL had around 43,840 students and 16,400 staff (including around 7,100 academic staff and 840 professors) and had a total income of £1.54 billion, of which £468 million was from research grants and contracts.

    University College London is a member of numerous academic organisations, including the Russell Group(UK) and the League of European Research Universities, and is part of UCL Partners, the world’s largest academic health science centre, and is considered part of the “golden triangle” of elite, research-intensive universities in England.

    University College London has many notable alumni, including the respective “Fathers of the Nation” of India; Kenya and Mauritius; the founders of Ghana; modern Japan; Nigeria; the inventor of the telephone; and one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA. UCL academics discovered five of the naturally occurring noble gases; discovered hormones; invented the vacuum tube; and made several foundational advances in modern statistics. As of 2020, 34 Nobel Prize winners and 3 Fields medalists have been affiliated with UCL as alumni, faculty or researchers.

    History

    University College London was founded on 11 February 1826 under the name London University, as an alternative to the Anglican universities of the University of Oxford(UK) and University of Cambridge(UK). London University’s first Warden was Leonard Horner, who was the first scientist to head a British university.

    Despite the commonly held belief that the philosopher Jeremy Bentham was the founder of University College London, his direct involvement was limited to the purchase of share No. 633, at a cost of £100 paid in nine installments between December 1826 and January 1830. In 1828 he did nominate a friend to sit on the council, and in 1827 attempted to have his disciple John Bowring appointed as the first professor of English or History, but on both occasions his candidates were unsuccessful. This suggests that while his ideas may have been influential, he himself was less so. However, Bentham is today commonly regarded as the “spiritual father” of University College London, as his radical ideas on education and society were the inspiration to the institution’s founders, particularly the Scotsmen James Mill (1773–1836) and Henry Brougham (1778–1868).

    In 1827, the Chair of Political Economy at London University was created, with John Ramsay McCulloch as the first incumbent, establishing one of the first departments of economics in England. In 1828 the university became the first in England to offer English as a subject and the teaching of Classics and medicine began. In 1830, London University founded the London University School, which would later become University College School. In 1833, the university appointed Alexander Maconochie, Secretary to the Royal Geographical Society, as the first professor of geography in the British Isles. In 1834, University College Hospital (originally North London Hospital) opened as a teaching hospital for the university’s medical school.

    1836 to 1900 – University College, London

    In 1836, London University was incorporated by royal charter under the name University College, London. On the same day, the University of London was created by royal charter as a degree-awarding examining board for students from affiliated schools and colleges, with University College and King’s College, London being named in the charter as the first two affiliates.

    The Slade School of Fine Art was founded as part of University College in 1871, following a bequest from Felix Slade.

    In 1878, the University College London gained a supplemental charter making it the first British university to be allowed to award degrees to women. The same year University College London admitted women to the faculties of Arts and Law and of Science, although women remained barred from the faculties of Engineering and of Medicine (with the exception of courses on public health and hygiene). While University College London claims to have been the first university in England to admit women on equal terms to men, from 1878, the University of Bristol(UK) also makes this claim, having admitted women from its foundation (as a college) in 1876. Armstrong College, a predecessor institution of Newcastle University (UK), also allowed women to enter from its foundation in 1871, although none actually enrolled until 1881. Women were finally admitted to medical studies during the First World War in 1917, although limitations were placed on their numbers after the war ended.

    In 1898, Sir William Ramsay discovered the elements krypton; neon; and xenon whilst professor of chemistry at University College London.

    1900 to 1976 – University of London, University College

    In 1900, the University College London was reconstituted as a federal university with new statutes drawn up under the University of London Act 1898. UCL, along with a number of other colleges in London, became a school of the University of London. While most of the constituent institutions retained their autonomy, University College London was merged into the University in 1907 under the University College London (Transfer) Act 1905 and lost its legal independence. Its formal name became University College London, University College, although for most informal and external purposes the name “University College, London” (or the initialism UCL) was still used.

    1900 also saw the decision to appoint a salaried head of the college. The first incumbent was Carey Foster, who served as Principal (as the post was originally titled) from 1900 to 1904. He was succeeded by Gregory Foster (no relation), and in 1906 the title was changed to Provost to avoid confusion with the Principal of the University of London. Gregory Foster remained in post until 1929. In 1906, the Cruciform Building was opened as the new home for University College Hospital.

    As it acknowledged and apologized for in 2021, University College London played “a fundamental role in the development, propagation and legitimisation of eugenics” during the first half of the 20th century. Among the prominent eugenicists who taught at University College London were Francis Galton, who coined the term “eugenics”, and Karl Pearson, and eugenics conferences were held at UCL until 2017.

    University College London sustained considerable bomb damage during the Second World War, including the complete destruction of the Great Hall and the Carey Foster Physics Laboratory. Fires gutted the library and destroyed much of the main building, including the dome. The departments were dispersed across the country to Aberystwyth; Bangor; Gwynedd; University of Cambridge; University of Oxford; Rothamsted near Harpenden; Hertfordshire; and Sheffield, with the administration at Stanstead Bury near Ware, Hertfordshire. The first UCL student magazine, Pi, was published for the first time on 21 February 1946. The Institute of Jewish Studies relocated to UCL in 1959.

    The Mullard Space Science Laboratory (UK) was established in 1967. In 1973, UCL became the first international node to the precursor of the internet, the ARPANET.

    ARPANET schematic

    Although University College London was among the first universities to admit women on the same terms as men, in 1878, the college’s senior common room, the Housman Room, remained men-only until 1969. After two unsuccessful attempts, a motion was passed that ended segregation by sex at University College London. This was achieved by Brian Woledge (Fielden Professor of French at University College London from 1939 to 1971) and David Colquhoun, at that time a young lecturer in pharmacology.

    1976 to 2005 – University College London (UK)

    In 1976, a new charter restored University College London’s legal independence, although still without the power to award its own degrees. Under this charter the college became formally known as University College London. This name abandoned the comma used in its earlier name of “University College, London”.

    In 1986, University College London merged with the Institute of Archaeology. In 1988, University College London merged with the Institute of Laryngology & Otology; the Institute of Orthopaedics; the Institute of Urology & Nephrology; and Middlesex Hospital Medical School.

    In 1993, a reorganization of the University of London meant that University College London and other colleges gained direct access to government funding and the right to confer University of London degrees themselves. This led to University College London being regarded as a de facto university in its own right.

    In 1994, the University College London Hospitals NHS Trust was established. University College London merged with the College of Speech Sciences and the Institute of Ophthalmology in 1995; the Institute of Child Health and the School of Podiatry in 1996; and the Institute of Neurology in 1997. In 1998, UCL merged with the Royal Free Hospital Medical School to create the Royal Free and University College Medical School (renamed the University College London Medical School in October 2008). In 1999, UCL merged with the School of Slavonic and East European Studies and the Eastman Dental Institute.

    The University College London Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, the first university department in the world devoted specifically to reducing crime, was founded in 2001.

    Proposals for a merger between University College London and Imperial College London(UK) were announced in 2002. The proposal provoked strong opposition from University College London teaching staff and students and the AUT union, which criticized “the indecent haste and lack of consultation”, leading to its abandonment by University College London provost Sir Derek Roberts. The blogs that helped to stop the merger are preserved, though some of the links are now broken: see David Colquhoun’s blog and the Save University College London blog, which was run by David Conway, a postgraduate student in the department of Hebrew and Jewish studies.

    The London Centre for Nanotechnology was established in 2003 as a joint venture between University College London and Imperial College London (UK). They were later joined by King’s College London(UK) in 2018.

    Since 2003, when University College London professor David Latchman became master of the neighboring Birkbeck, he has forged closer relations between these two University of London colleges, and personally maintains departments at both. Joint research centres include the UCL/Birkbeck Institute for Earth and Planetary Sciences; the University College London /Birkbeck/IoE Centre for Educational Neuroscience; the University College London /Birkbeck Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology; and the Birkbeck- University College London Centre for Neuroimaging.

    2005 to 2010

    In 2005, University College London was finally granted its own taught and research degree awarding powers and all University College London students registered from 2007/08 qualified with University College London degrees. Also in 2005, University College London adopted a new corporate branding under which the name University College London was replaced by the initialism UCL in all external communications. In the same year, a major new £422 million building was opened for University College Hospital on Euston Road, the University College London Ear Institute was established and a new building for the University College London School of Slavonic and East European Studies was opened.

    In 2007, the University College London Cancer Institute was opened in the newly constructed Paul O’Gorman Building. In August 2008, University College London formed UCL Partners, an academic health science centre, with Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust; Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust; and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. In 2008, University College London established the University College London School of Energy & Resources in Adelaide, Australia, the first campus of a British university in the country. The School was based in the historic Torrens Building in Victoria Square and its creation followed negotiations between University College London Vice Provost Michael Worton and South Australian Premier Mike Rann.

    In 2009, the Yale UCL Collaborative was established between University College London; UCL Partners; Yale University; Yale School of Medicine; and Yale – New Haven Hospital. It is the largest collaboration in the history of either university, and its scope has subsequently been extended to the humanities and social sciences.

    2010 to 2015

    In June 2011, the mining company BHP Billiton agreed to donate AU$10 million to University College London to fund the establishment of two energy institutes – the Energy Policy Institute; based in Adelaide, and the Institute for Sustainable Resources, based in London.

    In November 2011, University College London announced plans for a £500 million investment in its main Bloomsbury campus over 10 years, as well as the establishment of a new 23-acre campus next to the Olympic Park in Stratford in the East End of London. It revised its plans of expansion in East London and in December 2014 announced to build a campus (UCL East) covering 11 acres and provide up to 125,000m^2 of space on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. UCL East will be part of plans to transform the Olympic Park into a cultural and innovation hub, where University College London will open its first school of design, a centre of experimental engineering and a museum of the future, along with a living space for students.

    The School of Pharmacy, University of London merged with University College London on 1 January 2012, becoming the University College London School of Pharmacy within the Faculty of Life Sciences. In May 2012, University College London , Imperial College London (UK) and the semiconductor company Intel announced the establishment of the Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Sustainable Connected Cities, a London-based institute for research into the future of cities.

    In August 2012, University College London received criticism for advertising an unpaid research position; it subsequently withdrew the advert.

    University College London and the Institute of Education formed a strategic alliance in October 2012, including co-operation in teaching, research and the development of the London schools system. In February 2014, the two institutions announced their intention to merge, and the merger was completed in December 2014.

    In September 2013, a new Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP) was established within the Faculty of Engineering, one of several initiatives within the university to increase and reflect upon the links between research and public sector decision-making.

    In October 2013, it was announced that the Translation Studies Unit of Imperial College London would move to University College London, becoming part of the University College London School of European Languages, Culture and Society. In December 2013, it was announced that University College London and the academic publishing company Elsevier would collaborate to establish the UCL Big Data Institute. In January 2015, it was announced that University College London had been selected by the UK government as one of the five founding members of the Alan Turing Institute(UK) (together with the universities of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh(SCL), Oxford and University of Warwick(UK)), an institute to be established at the British Library to promote the development and use of advanced mathematics, computer science, algorithms and big data.

    2015 to 2020

    In August 2015, the Department of Management Science and Innovation was renamed as the School of Management and plans were announced to greatly expand University College London’s activities in the area of business-related teaching and research. The school moved from the Bloomsbury campus to One Canada Square in Canary Wharf in 2016.

    University College London established the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) in 2015 to promote interdisciplinary research in humanities and social sciences. The prestigious annual Orwell Prize for political writing moved to the IAS in 2016.

    In June 2016 it was reported in Times Higher Education that as a result of administrative errors hundreds of students who studied at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute between 2005–06 and 2013–14 had been given the wrong marks, leading to an unknown number of students being attributed with the wrong qualifications and, in some cases, being failed when they should have passed their degrees. A report by University College London’s Academic Committee Review Panel noted that, according to the institute’s own review findings, senior members of University College London staff had been aware of issues affecting students’ results but had not taken action to address them. The Review Panel concluded that there had been an apparent lack of ownership of these matters amongst the institute’s senior staff.

    In December 2016 it was announced that University College London would be the hub institution for a new £250 million national dementia research institute, to be funded with £150 million from the Medical Research Council and £50 million each from Alzheimer’s Research UK and the Alzheimer’s Society.

    In May 2017 it was reported that staff morale was at “an all time low”, with 68% of members of the academic board who responded to a survey disagreeing with the statement ” University College London is well managed” and 86% with “the teaching facilities are adequate for the number of students”. Michael Arthur, the Provost and President, linked the results to the “major change programme” at University College London. He admitted that facilities were under pressure following growth over the past decade, but said that the issues were being addressed through the development of UCL East and rental of other additional space.

    In October 2017 University College London’s council voted to apply for university status while remaining part of the University of London. University College London’s application to become a university was subject to Parliament passing a bill to amend the statutes of the University of London, which received royal assent on 20 December 2018.

    The University College London Adelaide satellite campus closed in December 2017, with academic staff and student transferring to the University of South Australia (AU). As of 2019 UniSA and University College London are offering a joint master’s qualification in Science in Data Science (international).

    In 2018, University College London opened UCL at Here East, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offering courses jointly between the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment and the Faculty of Engineering Sciences. The campus offers a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate master’s degrees, with the first undergraduate students, on a new Engineering and Architectural Design MEng, starting in September 2018. It was announced in August 2018 that a £215 million contract for construction of the largest building in the UCL East development, Marshgate 1, had been awarded to Mace, with building to begin in 2019 and be completed by 2022.

    In 2017 University College London disciplined an IT administrator who was also the University and College Union (UCU) branch secretary for refusing to take down an unmoderated staff mailing list. An employment tribunal subsequently ruled that he was engaged in union activities and thus this disciplinary action was unlawful. As of June 2019 University College London is appealing this ruling and the UCU congress has declared this to be a “dispute of national significance”.

    2020 to present

    In 2021 University College London formed a strategic partnership with Facebook AI Research (FAIR), including the creation of a new PhD programme.

    Research

    University College London has made cross-disciplinary research a priority and orientates its research around four “Grand Challenges”, Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Intercultural Interaction and Human Wellbeing.

    In 2014/15, University College London had a total research income of £427.5 million, the third-highest of any British university (after the University of Oxford (UK) and Imperial College London (UK)). Key sources of research income in that year were BIS research councils (£148.3 million); UK-based charities (£106.5 million); UK central government; local/health authorities and hospitals (£61.5 million); EU government bodies (£45.5 million); and UK industry, commerce and public corporations (£16.2 million). In 2015/16, University College London was awarded a total of £85.8 million in grants by UK research councils, the second-largest amount of any British university (after the University of Oxford (UK)), having achieved a 28% success rate. For the period to June 2015, University College London was the fifth-largest recipient of Horizon 2020 EU research funding and the largest recipient of any university, with €49.93 million of grants received. University College London also had the fifth-largest number of projects funded of any organization, with 94.

    According to a ranking of universities produced by SCImago Research Group University College London is ranked 12th in the world (and 1st in Europe) in terms of total research output. According to data released in July 2008 by ISI Web of Knowledge, University College London is the 13th most-cited university in the world (and most-cited in Europe). The analysis covered citations from 1 January 1998 to 30 April 2008, during which 46,166 UCL research papers attracted 803,566 citations. The report covered citations in 21 subject areas and the results revealed some of University College London’s key strengths, including: Clinical Medicine (1st outside North America); Immunology (2nd in Europe); Neuroscience & Behavior (1st outside North America and 2nd in the world); Pharmacology & Toxicology (1st outside North America and 4th in the world); Psychiatry & Psychology (2nd outside North America); and Social Sciences, General (1st outside North America).

    University College London submitted a total of 2,566 staff across 36 units of assessment to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessment, in each case the highest number of any UK university (compared with 1,793 UCL staff submitted to the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008)). In the REF results 43% of University College London’s submitted research was classified as 4* (world-leading); 39% as 3* (internationally excellent); 15% as 2* (recognised internationally) and 2% as 1* (recognised nationally), giving an overall GPA of 3.22 (RAE 2008: 4* – 27%, 3* – 39%, 2* – 27% and 1* – 6%). In rankings produced by Times Higher Education based upon the REF results, University College London was ranked 1st overall for “research power” and joint 8th for GPA (compared to 4th and 7th respectively in equivalent rankings for the RAE 2008).

     
  • richardmitnick 9:13 am on October 5, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Molecule-Building Innovators Win Nobel Prize in Chemistry", , , Chemistry,   

    From “Quanta Magazine” : “Molecule-Building Innovators Win Nobel Prize in Chemistry” 

    From “Quanta Magazine”

    10.5.22
    Yasemin Saplakoglu

    1
    Carolyn Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharpless have been awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry. Credit: (left): Roy Kaltschmidt, LBNL; Jens Christian Navarro Poulsen, University of Copenhagen; Bengt Oberger

    Carolyn Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharpless have been awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry. Click chemistry revolutionized the options available to chemists for creating the molecules they desired. Bioorthogonal chemistry made it possible to monitor the chemical processes going on inside living cells without harming them.

    “It’s all about snapping molecules together,” said Johan Aqvist, chair of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, during the announcement. Imagine, he told the audience, that you could attach small chemical buckles to a bunch of different types of molecular building blocks and then link these buckles together to produce complex molecules. That idea, put forth by Barry Sharpless of Scripps Research about 20 years ago, later became reality when he and Morten Meldal of the University of Copenhagen independently found the first perfect candidates for the job. Their buckles easily snapped together and wouldn’t link onto anything they shouldn’t.

    Then, in 2003, Carolyn Bertozzi put forth the idea of using click chemistry in biological systems without interfering with the system itself. Bertozzi called this “bioorthogonal” chemistry in a paper [PNAS (below)] she and her colleagues published that year. It has since become a widely-adopted term in the field [National Library of Medicine].

    The ability to perform complex reactions in living systems without interfering with natural biological reactions made it possible to study diseases inside cells, or even inside complex organisms [American Chemical Society] such as zebrafish, rather than in laboratory dishes. It has already helped scientists understand an important protein processing reaction called glycosylation, helped to develop molecular imaging molecules that could detect disease in living organisms and opened up the possibility of selectively delivering drugs to particular tissues in the body [Angewandte Chemie].

    These findings have “led to a revolution in how chemists think about linking molecules together and how to do it in living cells,” Aqvist said.

    Today’s announcement marks the second time that Sharpless has won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 2001, he shared in the prize with William Knowles and Ryoji Noyori for their development of catalytic asymmetric synthesis.

    What is click chemistry?

    Sharpless spent much of the 1990s considering the need to find less cumbersome ways to synthesize complex molecules. His thinking culminated in a 2001 paper Angewandte Chemie in which he and his coauthors proposed the term “click chemistry” to refer to any reaction that links together molecular building blocks in an efficient and quick manner. Shortly after the publication of the paper, Meldal and Sharpless independently discovered the first click-chemistry reaction: a highly useful one called the copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition.

    On one side of the reaction is an azide, a molecule that has three nitrogen atoms in a row. On the other side of the reaction is an alkyne, a molecule in which two carbon atoms are bonded together with a triplet bond. By themselves, these two building blocks aren’t very reactive: Mixed together, they are slow to react and yield a mixture of products. But Meldal and Sharpless separately realized that if they added a bit of copper to the mix, the reaction accelerated dramatically and led primarily to a stable product known as a triazole.

    By strategically adding azide and alkyne “tags” to molecules, chemists can use this copper-catalyzed reaction to link them precisely into much larger molecules with specific structures.

    The copper-catalyzed reaction immediately gained “enormous interest” across chemistry and related fields, said Olof Ramström of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry during the announcement. Although other click chemistry reactions have been found, “this particular reaction has almost become synonymous with the click chemistry concept and is also often called the click reaction,” Ramström said. “You can say that it’s still the crown jewel of click reactions.”

    What is bioorthogonal chemistry?

    In 2003, Bertozzi coined the term “bioorthogonal chemistry” for any kind of chemical reaction that could occur within a living system without interfering or harming it. It’s click chemistry that can be applied to living organisms.

    The seeds for this idea sprouted in the 1990s, when Bertozzi began to study a particular glycan, or complex sugar found on the surface of cells. Conducting research on this glycan wasn’t easy with the chemical techniques available to her at the time. But after hearing another scientist give a seminar on coaxing cells to produce an unnatural sugar molecule, Bertozzi was inspired to wonder whether she could do something similar to map the glycans on cells. That’s when her work into bioorthogonal chemistry began.

    How is bioorthogonal chemistry used to study living systems?

    Bertozzi came up with a simple way to track glycans on a cell. First, she grew cells near a modified sugar that was linked with an azide. The cells up took this outside molecule and incorporated it into glycans on their surface. Then Bertozzi added to the mixture an alkyne that had a fluorescent molecule attached to it. The alkyne underwent a click reaction with the modified sugar and attached the fluorescent molecule to it. With that simple reaction, the glycans glowed green, and that allowed Bertozzi to track their movements across cell membranes under a microscope.

    Today, Bertozzi, who is now a professor at Stanford University, tracks glycans found on the surface of tumor cells. This work enabled her to discover that certain glycans protect tumor cells from the body’s immune system. Her findings have opened up avenues for cancer immune therapy, with many researchers working to find “clickable” antibodies to target different types of tumors. Bertozzi and her team are also working on this problem and have created a new drug that’s in clinical trials, which targets and destroys glycans on the surface of tumor cells.

    What are other applications for click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry?

    Making it possible to track the movements of molecules through and across cells is just one of many types of applications for click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry.

    A major advantage of the techniques is that they don’t introduce unwanted byproducts into reaction mixtures — a clean efficiency that allows scientists to carefully craft complex molecules for a variety of purposes.

    Click chemistry has made possible massive strides in drug development, DNA sequencing, the synthesis of “smart” materials and almost any other application in which chemists need to simply connect pairs of building blocks, Ramström said. Researchers can now easily add functionality to a wide range of materials, for example by clicking in chemical extensions that can conduct electricity or capture sunlight.

    Bioorthogonal reactions are used widely to investigate vital processes in cells, and those applications have had an enormous impact throughout the fields of biology and biochemistry. Researchers can probe how biomolecules interact within cells, and they can image living cells without disturbing them. In studies of disease, bioorthogonal reactions are useful for studying not just the cells of patients but also those of pathogens: The proteins in bacterial cell walls can be labeled to follow their movements through the body. Researchers are also starting to develop engineered antibodies that can click onto their tumor targets to deliver cancer-killing therapeutics more precisely.

    “These very important accomplishment and these really fantastic discoveries from our three laureates have really made an enormous impact on chemistry and on science in general,” Ramström said. “For that, it’s really been to the greatest benefit of humankind.”

    Science papers:
    PNAS
    National Library of Medicine
    American Chemical Society
    Angewandte Chemie
    Angewandte Chemie
    See the science papers for instructive imagery.

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Formerly known as Simons Science News, Quanta Magazine is an editorially independent online publication launched by The Simons Foundation to enhance public understanding of science. Why Quanta? Albert Einstein called photons “quanta of light.” Our goal is to “illuminate science.” At Quanta Magazine, scientific accuracy is every bit as important as telling a good story. All of our articles are meticulously researched, reported, edited, copy-edited and fact-checked.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:30 pm on October 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The fountain of life:: Water droplets hold the secret ingredient for building life", , , Chemistry, Chemists discover key to early Earth chemistry which could unlock ways to speed up chemical synthesis for drug discovery., Primordial molecules-simple amino acids-spontaneously form peptides-the building blocks of life in droplets of pure water., , Purdue University chemists have uncovered a mechanism for peptide-forming reactions to occur in water., The essential chemistry behind the origin of life, These discoveries could lead to the faster development of drugs to treat humanity’s most debilitating diseases.   

    From Purdue University: “The fountain of life:: Water droplets hold the secret ingredient for building life” 

    From Purdue University

    10.3.22
    Writer:
    Brittany Steff
    bsteff@purdue.edu

    Source:
    Graham Cooks
    cooks@purdue.edu

    1
    Graham Cooks has studied the chemistry of water droplets for decades, discovering insights into cancer detection, drug discovery and early Earth chemistry. (Purdue University file photo/Andrew Hancock)

    Chemists discover key to early Earth chemistry which could unlock ways to speed up chemical synthesis for drug discovery.

    Purdue University chemists have uncovered a mechanism for peptide-forming reactions to occur in water — something that has puzzled scientists for decades.

    “This is essentially the chemistry behind the origin of life,” said Graham Cooks, the Henry Bohn Hass Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry in Purdue’s College of Science. “This is the first demonstration that primordial molecules-simple amino acids-spontaneously form peptides-the building blocks of life in droplets of pure water. This is a dramatic discovery.”

    This water-based chemistry, which leads to proteins and so to life on Earth, could also lead to the faster development of drugs to treat humanity’s most debilitating diseases. The team’s discovery was published in the journal PNAS [below].

    For decades scientists have theorized that life on Earth began in the oceans. The chemistry, however, remained an enigma. Raw amino acids — something that meteorites delivered to early Earth daily — can react and latch together to form peptides, the building blocks of proteins and, eventually, life. Puzzlingly, the process requires the loss of a water molecule, which seems highly unlikely in a wet, aqueous or oceanic environment. For life to form, it needed water. But it also needed space away from the water.

    Cooks, an expert in mass spectrometry and early Earth chemistry, and his team have uncovered the answer to the riddle: “Water isn’t wet everywhere.” On the margins, where the water droplet meets the atmosphere, incredibly rapid reactions can take place, transforming abiotic amino acids into the building blocks of life. Places where sea spray flies into the air and waves pound the land, or where fresh water burbles down a slope, were fertile landscapes for life’s potential evolution.

    The chemists have spent more than 10 years using mass spectrometers to study chemical reactions in water droplets.

    “The rates of reactions in droplets are anywhere from a hundred to a million times faster than the same chemicals reacting in bulk solution,” Cooks said.

    The rates of these reactions make catalysts unnecessary, speeding up the reactions and, in the case of early Earth chemistry, making the evolution of life possible. Understanding how this process works has been the goal of decades of scientific research. The secret of how life arose on Earth can help scientists understand why it happened and inform the search for life on other planets, or even moons.

    Understanding how amino acids built themselves up into proteins and, eventually, life-forms revolutionizes scientists’ understanding of chemical synthesis. That same chemistry could now aid synthetic chemists in speeding the reactions critical to discovering and developing new drugs and therapeutic treatments for diseases.

    “If you walk through an academic campus at night, the buildings with the lights on are where synthetic chemists are working,” Cooks said. “Their experiments are so slow that they run for days or weeks at a time. This isn’t necessary, and using droplet chemistry, we have built an apparatus, which is being used at Purdue now, to speed up the synthesis of novel chemicals and potential new drugs.”

    Science paper:
    PNAS

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Purdue University is a public land-grant research university in West Lafayette, Indiana, and the flagship campus of the Purdue University system. The university was founded in 1869 after Lafayette businessman John Purdue donated land and money to establish a college of science, technology, and agriculture in his name. The first classes were held on September 16, 1874, with six instructors and 39 students.

    The main campus in West Lafayette offers more than 200 majors for undergraduates, over 69 masters and doctoral programs, and professional degrees in pharmacy and veterinary medicine. In addition, Purdue has 18 intercollegiate sports teams and more than 900 student organizations. Purdue is a member of the Big Ten Conference and enrolls the second largest student body of any university in Indiana, as well as the fourth largest foreign student population of any university in the United States.

    Purdue University is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. Purdue has 25 American astronauts as alumni and as of April 2019, the university has been associated with 13 Nobel Prizes.

    In 1865, the Indiana General Assembly voted to take advantage of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act of 1862 and began plans to establish an institution with a focus on agriculture and engineering. Communities throughout the state offered facilities and funding in bids for the location of the new college. Popular proposals included the addition of an agriculture department at Indiana State University, at what is now Butler University. By 1869, Tippecanoe County’s offer included $150,000 (equivalent to $2.9 million in 2019) from Lafayette business leader and philanthropist John Purdue; $50,000 from the county; and 100 acres (0.4 km^2) of land from local residents.

    On May 6, 1869, the General Assembly established the institution in Tippecanoe County as Purdue University, in the name of the principal benefactor. Classes began at Purdue on September 16, 1874, with six instructors and 39 students. Professor John S. Hougham was Purdue’s first faculty member and served as acting president between the administrations of presidents Shortridge and White. A campus of five buildings was completed by the end of 1874. In 1875, Sarah A. Oren, the State Librarian of Indiana, was appointed Professor of Botany.

    Purdue issued its first degree, a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, in 1875, and admitted its first female students that autumn.

    Emerson E. White, the university’s president, from 1876 to 1883, followed a strict interpretation of the Morrill Act. Rather than emulate the classical universities, White believed Purdue should be an “industrial college” and devote its resources toward providing a broad, liberal education with an emphasis on science, technology, and agriculture. He intended not only to prepare students for industrial work, but also to prepare them to be good citizens and family members.

    Part of White’s plan to distinguish Purdue from classical universities included a controversial attempt to ban fraternities, which was ultimately overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court, leading to White’s resignation. The next president, James H. Smart, is remembered for his call in 1894 to rebuild the original Heavilon Hall “one brick higher” after it had been destroyed by a fire.

    By the end of the nineteenth century, the university was organized into schools of agriculture, engineering (mechanical, civil, and electrical), and pharmacy; former U.S. President Benjamin Harrison served on the board of trustees. Purdue’s engineering laboratories included testing facilities for a locomotive, and for a Corliss steam engine—one of the most efficient engines of the time. The School of Agriculture shared its research with farmers throughout the state, with its cooperative extension services, and would undergo a period of growth over the following two decades. Programs in education and home economics were soon established, as well as a short-lived school of medicine. By 1925, Purdue had the largest undergraduate engineering enrollment in the country, a status it would keep for half a century.

    President Edward C. Elliott oversaw a campus building program between the world wars. Inventor, alumnus, and trustee David E. Ross coordinated several fundraisers, donated lands to the university, and was instrumental in establishing the Purdue Research Foundation. Ross’s gifts and fundraisers supported such projects as Ross–Ade Stadium, the Memorial Union, a civil engineering surveying camp, and Purdue University Airport. Purdue Airport was the country’s first university-owned airport and the site of the country’s first college-credit flight training courses.

    Amelia Earhart joined the Purdue faculty in 1935 as a consultant for these flight courses and as a counselor on women’s careers. In 1937, the Purdue Research Foundation provided the funds for the Lockheed Electra 10-E Earhart flew on her attempted round-the-world flight.

    Every school and department at the university was involved in some type of military research or training during World War II. During a project on radar receivers, Purdue physicists discovered properties of germanium that led to the making of the first transistor. The Army and the Navy conducted training programs at Purdue and more than 17,500 students, staff, and alumni served in the armed forces. Purdue set up about a hundred centers throughout Indiana to train skilled workers for defense industries. As veterans returned to the university under the G.I. Bill, first-year classes were taught at some of these sites to alleviate the demand for campus space. Four of these sites are now degree-granting regional campuses of the Purdue University system. On-campus housing became racially desegregated in 1947, following pressure from Purdue President Frederick L. Hovde and Indiana Governor Ralph F. Gates.

    After the war, Hovde worked to expand the academic opportunities at the university. A decade-long construction program emphasized science and research. In the late 1950s and early 1960s the university established programs in veterinary medicine, industrial management, and nursing, as well as the first computer science department in the United States. Undergraduate humanities courses were strengthened, although Hovde only reluctantly approved of graduate-level study in these areas. Purdue awarded its first Bachelor of Arts degrees in 1960. The programs in liberal arts and education, formerly administered by the School of Science, were soon split into an independent school.

    The official seal of Purdue was officially inaugurated during the university’s centennial in 1969.

    1

    Consisting of elements from emblems that had been used unofficially for 73 years, the current seal depicts a griffin, symbolizing strength, and a three-part shield, representing education, research, and service.

    In recent years, Purdue’s leaders have continued to support high-tech research and international programs. In 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan visited the West Lafayette campus to give a speech about the influence of technological progress on job creation.

    In the 1990s, the university added more opportunities to study abroad and expanded its course offerings in world languages and cultures. The first buildings of the Discovery Park interdisciplinary research center were dedicated in 2004.

    Purdue launched a Global Policy Research Institute in 2010 to explore the potential impact of technical knowledge on public policy decisions.

    On April 27, 2017, Purdue University announced plans to acquire for-profit college Kaplan University and convert it to a public university in the state of Indiana, subject to multiple levels of approval. That school now operates as Purdue University Global, and aims to serve adult learners.

    Campuses

    Purdue’s campus is situated in the small city of West Lafayette, near the western bank of the Wabash River, across which sits the larger city of Lafayette. State Street, which is concurrent with State Road 26, divides the northern and southern portions of campus. Academic buildings are mostly concentrated on the eastern and southern parts of campus, with residence halls and intramural fields to the west, and athletic facilities to the north. The Greater Lafayette Public Transportation Corporation (CityBus) operates eight campus loop bus routes on which students, faculty, and staff can ride free of charge with Purdue Identification.

    Organization and administration

    The university president, appointed by the board of trustees, is the chief administrative officer of the university. The office of the president oversees admission and registration, student conduct and counseling, the administration and scheduling of classes and space, the administration of student athletics and organized extracurricular activities, the libraries, the appointment of the faculty and conditions of their employment, the appointment of all non-faculty employees and the conditions of employment, the general organization of the university, and the planning and administration of the university budget.

    The Board of Trustees directly appoints other major officers of the university including a provost who serves as the chief academic officer for the university, several vice presidents with oversight over specific university operations, and the regional campus chancellors.

    Academic divisions

    Purdue is organized into thirteen major academic divisions.

    College of Agriculture

    The university’s College of Agriculture supports the university’s agricultural, food, life, and natural resource science programs. The college also supports the university’s charge as a land-grant university to support agriculture throughout the state; its agricultural extension program plays a key role in this.

    College of Education

    The College of Education offers undergraduate degrees in elementary education, social studies education, and special education, and graduate degrees in these and many other specialty areas of education. It has two departments: (a) Curriculum and Instruction and (b) Educational Studies.

    College of Engineering

    The Purdue University College of Engineering was established in 1874 with programs in Civil and Mechanical Engineering. The college now offers B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in more than a dozen disciplines. Purdue’s engineering program has also educated 24 of America’s astronauts, including Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan who were the first and last astronauts to have walked on the Moon, respectively. Many of Purdue’s engineering disciplines are recognized as top-ten programs in the U.S. The college as a whole is currently ranked 7th in the U.S. of all doctorate-granting engineering schools by U.S. News & World Report.

    Exploratory Studies

    The university’s Exploratory Studies program supports undergraduate students who enter the university without having a declared major. It was founded as a pilot program in 1995 and made a permanent program in 1999.

    College of Health and Human Sciences

    The College of Health and Human Sciences was established in 2010 and is the newest college. It offers B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in all 10 of its academic units.

    College of Liberal Arts

    Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts contains the arts, social sciences and humanities programs at the university. Liberal arts courses have been taught at Purdue since its founding in 1874. The School of Science, Education, and Humanities was formed in 1953. In 1963, the School of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education was established, although Bachelor of Arts degrees had begun to be conferred as early as 1959. In 1989, the School of Liberal Arts was created to encompass Purdue’s arts, humanities, and social sciences programs, while education programs were split off into the newly formed School of Education. The School of Liberal Arts was renamed the College of Liberal Arts in 2005.

    Krannert School of Management

    The Krannert School of Management offers management courses and programs at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels.

    College of Pharmacy

    The university’s College of Pharmacy was established in 1884 and is the 3rd oldest state-funded school of pharmacy in the United States. The school offers two undergraduate programs leading to the B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences (BSPS) and the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) professional degree. Graduate programs leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are offered in three departments (Industrial and Physical Pharmacy, Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, and Pharmacy Practice). Additionally, the school offers several non-degree certificate programs and post-graduate continuing education activities.

    Purdue Polytechnic Institute

    The Purdue Polytechnic Institute offers bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in a wide range of technology-related disciplines. With over 30,000 living alumni, it is one of the largest technology schools in the United States.

    College of Science

    The university’s College of Science houses the university’s science departments: Biological Sciences; Chemistry; Computer Science; Earth, Atmospheric, & Planetary Sciences; Mathematics; Physics & Astronomy; and Statistics. The science courses offered by the college account for about one-fourth of Purdue’s one million student credit hours.

    College of Veterinary Medicine

    The College of Veterinary Medicine is accredited by the AVMA to offer the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in veterinary technology, master’s and Ph.D. degrees, and residency programs leading to specialty board certification. Within the state of Indiana, the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine is the only veterinary school, while the Indiana University School of Medicine is one of only two medical schools (the other being Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine). The two schools frequently collaborate on medical research projects.

    Honors College

    Purdue’s Honors College supports an honors program for undergraduate students at the university.

    The Graduate School

    The university’s Graduate School supports graduate students at the university.

    Research

    The university expended $622.814 million in support of research system-wide in 2017, using funds received from the state and federal governments, industry, foundations, and individual donors. The faculty and more than 400 research laboratories put Purdue University among the leading research institutions. Purdue University is considered by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education to have “very high research activity”. Purdue also was rated the nation’s fourth best place to work in academia, according to rankings released in November 2007 by The Scientist magazine. Purdue’s researchers provide insight, knowledge, assistance, and solutions in many crucial areas. These include, but are not limited to Agriculture; Business and Economy; Education; Engineering; Environment; Healthcare; Individuals, Society, Culture; Manufacturing; Science; Technology; Veterinary Medicine. The Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP), a global research consortium focused on global economic governance challenges (trade, climate, resource use) is also coordinated by the University. Purdue University generated a record $438 million in sponsored research funding during the 2009–10 fiscal year with participation from National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and Department of Health and Human Services. Purdue University was ranked fourth in Engineering research expenditures amongst all the colleges in the United States in 2017, with a research expenditure budget of 244.8 million. Purdue University established the Discovery Park to bring innovation through multidisciplinary action. In all of the eleven centers of Discovery Park, ranging from entrepreneurship to energy and advanced manufacturing, research projects reflect a large economic impact and address global challenges. Purdue University’s nanotechnology research program, built around the new Birck Nanotechnology Center in Discovery Park, ranks among the best in the nation.

    The Purdue Research Park which opened in 1961 was developed by Purdue Research Foundation which is a private, nonprofit foundation created to assist Purdue. The park is focused on companies operating in the arenas of life sciences, homeland security, engineering, advanced manufacturing and information technology. It provides an interactive environment for experienced Purdue researchers and for private business and high-tech industry. It currently employs more than 3,000 people in 155 companies, including 90 technology-based firms. The Purdue Research Park was ranked first by the Association of University Research Parks in 2004.

    Purdue’s library system consists of fifteen locations throughout the campus, including an archives and special collections research center, an undergraduate library, and several subject-specific libraries. More than three million volumes, including one million electronic books, are held at these locations. The Library houses the Amelia Earhart Collection, a collection of notes and letters belonging to Earhart and her husband George Putnam along with records related to her disappearance and subsequent search efforts. An administrative unit of Purdue University Libraries, Purdue University Press has its roots in the 1960 founding of Purdue University Studies by President Frederick Hovde on a $12,000 grant from the Purdue Research Foundation. This was the result of a committee appointed by President Hovde after the Department of English lamented the lack of publishing venues in the humanities. Since the 1990s, the range of books published by the Press has grown to reflect the work from other colleges at Purdue University especially in the areas of agriculture, health, and engineering. Purdue University Press publishes print and ebook monograph series in a range of subject areas from literary and cultural studies to the study of the human-animal bond. In 1993 Purdue University Press was admitted to membership of the Association of American University Presses. Purdue University Press publishes around 25 books a year and 20 learned journals in print, in print & online, and online-only formats in collaboration with Purdue University Libraries.

    Sustainability

    Purdue’s Sustainability Council, composed of University administrators and professors, meets monthly to discuss environmental issues and sustainability initiatives at Purdue. The University’s first LEED Certified building was an addition to the Mechanical Engineering Building, which was completed in Fall 2011. The school is also in the process of developing an arboretum on campus. In addition, a system has been set up to display live data detailing current energy production at the campus utility plant. The school holds an annual “Green Week” each fall, an effort to engage the Purdue community with issues relating to environmental sustainability.

    Rankings

    In its 2021 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked Purdue University the 5th most innovative national university, tied for the 17th best public university in the United States, tied for 53rd overall, and 114th best globally. U.S. News & World Report also rated Purdue tied for 36th in “Best Undergraduate Teaching, 83rd in “Best Value Schools”, tied for 284th in “Top Performers on Social Mobility”, and the undergraduate engineering program tied for 9th at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:41 am on October 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Self-assembly breakthrough offers new promise for microscopic materials by mimicking biology", , Chemistry, , ,   

    From New York University Via “COSMOS (AU)” : “Self-assembly breakthrough offers new promise for microscopic materials by mimicking biology” 

    NYU BLOC

    From New York University

    Via

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    “COSMOS (AU)”

    10.1.22
    Evrim Yazgin

    1
    The illustration shows how droplets with different DNA strands first combine into chains, which are then programmed to fold into specific geometries, analogous to protein folding. The carpet highlights one folding pathway of a hexamer chain folding into a polytetrahedron. The zoom shows how the formation of DNA double helices drives droplet-droplet binding. Credit: Kaitlynn Snyder.

    A new method for self-assembly in particles by physicists at New York University (NYU) offers promise for developing complex and innovative microscopic materials.

    A note here that the “particles” exhibiting self-assembly are not subatomic particles – like protons and electrons – but particles like molecules, usually only visible through a microscope.

    Such self-assembling of particles is believed to be useful in future drug and vaccine delivery as well as other medical applications.

    Self-assembly was initially put forward in the early 2000s as the potential for nanotechnology began to make headlines. By “pre-programing” particles, scientists and engineers would be able to build materials at the microscopic level without human intervention. The particles organise themselves.

    Think of it like microscopic Ikea furniture that can assemble itself.

    But, don’t get the wrong end of the microscopic stick – this has nothing to do with artificial intelligence or particles with consciousness. The particles are programmed through chemistry.

    This self-assembly is reliably done to great effect if all the pieces being assembled are distinct or different. However, systems with fewer different types of particles are much harder to program. The work done at NYU is aimed at producing self-assembly in these systems.

    The NYU physicists reported their breakthrough in the journal Nature [below]. Their research centres on emulsion – droplets of oil in water. Droplet chains are made to fold into unique shapes – called “foldamers” – which can be theoretically predicted from the sequence of interactions between the droplets.

    Self-assembly already exists in nature. The team borrowed from what we understand of the physical chemistry of folding in proteins and RNA using colloids – a mixture of two or more substances which are not chemically combined, like an emulsion.

    By placing an array of DNA sequences on the tiny oil droplets, which served as assembly “instructions”, the team was able to get the droplets to first form flexible chains before sequentially folding or collapsing via the sticky DNA molecules.

    The physicists found that a simple alternating chain of up to 13 droplets, with two different types of oil, self-assembled into 11 two-dimensional ‘foldamers’ and an additional one in three dimensions.

    3
    Microscopy images show a chain of alternating blue and yellow droplets folding into a crown geometry through blue-blue, blue-yellow, and finally yellow-yellow interactions, mediated by sticky DNA strands. Microscopic droplets are programmed to interact via sticky DNA strands to uniquely fold into well-defined shapes, as shown here. Credit: The Brujic Lab.

    “Being able to pre-program colloidal architectures gives us the means to create materials with intricate and innovative properties,” explains senior author Jasna Brujic, a professor in New York University’s Department of Physics. “Our work shows how hundreds of self-assembled geometries can be uniquely created, offering new possibilities for the creation of the next generation of materials.”

    They say the counterintuitive and pioneering aspect of their research is in requiring fewer building blocks to produce a wide variety of shapes.

    “Unlike a jigsaw puzzle, in which every piece is different, our process uses only two types of particles, which greatly reduces the variety of building blocks needed to encode a particular shape. The innovation lies in using folding, similar to the way that proteins do, but on a length scale 1,000 times bigger – about one-tenth the width of a strand of hair. These particles first bind together to make a chain, which then folds, according to pre-programmed interactions that guide the chain through complex pathways, into a unique geometry,” says Brujic.

    “The ability to obtain a lexicon of shapes opens the path to further assembly into larger scale materials, just as proteins hierarchically aggregate to build cellular compartments in biology.”

    Science paper:
    Nature

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    NYU Campus

    More than 175 years ago, Albert Gallatin, the distinguished statesman who served as secretary of the treasury under Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, declared his intention to establish “in this immense and fast-growing city … a system of rational and practical education fitting for all and graciously opened to all.” Founded in 1831, New York University is now one of the largest private universities in the United States. Of the more than 3,000 colleges and universities in America, New York University is one of only 60 member institutions of the distinguished Association of American Universities.

    New York University is a private research university in New York City. Chartered in 1831 by the New York State Legislature, NYU was founded by a group of New Yorkers led by then Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin.

    In 1832, the initial non-denominational all-male institution began its first classes near City Hall based on a curriculum focused on a secular education. The university, in 1833, then moved and has maintained its main campus in Greenwich Village surrounding Washington Square Park. Since then, the university has added an engineering school in Brooklyn’s MetroTech Center and graduate schools throughout Manhattan. New York University has become the largest private university in the United States by enrollment, with a total of 51,848 enrolled students, including 26,733 undergraduate students and 25,115 graduate students, in 2019. New York University also receives the most applications of any private institution in the United States and admissions is considered highly selective.

    New York University is organized into 10 undergraduate schools, including the College of Arts & Science, Gallatin School, Steinhart School, Stern School of Business, Tandon School of Engineering, and the Tisch School of Arts. New York University’s 15 graduate schools includes the Grossman School of Medicine, School of Law, Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, School of Professional Studies, School of Social Work, Rory Meyers School of Nursing, and Silver School of Social Work. The university’s internal academic centers include the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Center for Data Science, Center for Neural Science, Clive Davis Institute, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, Institute of Fine Arts, and the New York University Langone Health System. New York University is a global university with degree-granting campuses at New York University Abu Dhabi and New York University Shanghai, and academic centers in Accra, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Florence, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Sydney, Tel Aviv, and Washington, D.C.

    Past and present faculty and alumni include 38 Nobel Laureates, 8 Turing Award winners, 5 Fields Medalists, 31 MacArthur Fellows, 26 Pulitzer Prize winners, 3 heads of state, a U.S. Supreme Court justice, 5 U.S. governors, 4 mayors of New York City, 12 U.S. Senators, 58 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, two Federal Reserve Chairmen, 38 Academy Award winners, 30 Emmy Award winners, 25 Tony Award winners, 12 Grammy Award winners, 17 billionaires, and seven Olympic medalists. The university has also produced six Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, 29 Schwarzman Scholars, and one Mitchell Scholar.

    Research

    New York University is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” and research expenditures totaled $917.7 million in 2017. The university was the founding institution of the American Chemical Society. The New York University Grossman School of Medicine received $305 million in external research funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2014. New York University was granted 90 patents in 2014, the 19th most of any institution in the world. New York University owns the fastest supercomputer in New York City. As of 2016, New York University hardware researchers and their collaborators enjoy the largest outside funding level for hardware security of any institution in the United States, including grants from the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the United States Army Research Laboratory, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Semiconductor Research Corporation, and companies including Twitter, Boeing, Microsoft, and Google.

    In 2019, four New York University Arts & Science departments ranked in Top 10 of Shanghai Academic Rankings of World Universities by Academic Subjects (Economics, Politics, Psychology, and Sociology).

     
  • richardmitnick 12:12 pm on September 30, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Seawater could have provided phosphorous required for emerging life", , , Chemistry, ,   

    From The Department of Earth Sciences The University of Cambridge (UK): “Seawater could have provided phosphorous required for emerging life” 

    1

    From The Department of Earth Sciences

    at

    U Cambridge bloc

    The University of Cambridge (UK)

    9.27.22
    Erin Martin-Jones
    cmm201@cam.ac.uk

    1
    Artist Concept of an Early Earth. Credit: NASA.

    The problem of how phosphorus became a universal ingredient for life on Earth may have been solved by researchers from the University of Cambridge and the University of Cape Town, who have recreated primordial seawater containing the element in the lab.

    Their results, published in the journal Nature Communications [below], show that seawater might be the missing source of phosphate, meaning that it could have been available on a large enough scale for life without requiring special environmental conditions.

    “This could really change how we think about the environments in which life first originated,” said co-author Professor Nick Tosca from Cambridge’s Department of Earth Sciences.

    The study, which was led by Matthew Brady, a PhD student from Cambridge’s Department of Earth Sciences, shows that early seawater could have held one thousand to ten thousand times more phosphate than previously estimated — as long as the water contained a lot of iron.

    Phosphate is an essential ingredient in creating life’s building blocks — forming a key component of DNA and RNA — but it is one of the least abundant elements in the cosmos in relation to its biological importance. When in its mineral form, phosphate is also relatively inaccessible — it can be hard to dissolve in water so that life can use it.

    Scientists have long suspected that phosphorus became part of biology early on, but they have only recently begun to recognize the role of phosphate in directing the synthesis of molecules required by life on Earth. “Experiments show it makes amazing things happen – chemists can synthesize crucial biomolecules if there is a lot of phosphate in solution,” said Tosca.

    But the exact environment needed to produce phosphate has been a topic of discussion. Some studies have suggested that when iron is abundant then phosphate should actually be even less accessible to life. This is, however, controversial because early Earth would have had an oxygen-poor atmosphere where iron would have been widespread.

    To understand how life came to depend on phosphate, and the sort of environment that this element would have formed in, they carried out geochemical modelling to recreate early conditions on Earth.

    “It’s exciting to see how simple experiments in a bottle can overturn our thinking about the conditions that were present on the early Earth,” said Brady.

    In the lab, they made up seawater with the same chemistry thought to have existed in Earth’s early history. They also ran their experiments in an atmosphere starved of oxygen, just like on ancient Earth.

    The team’s results suggest that seawater itself could have been a major source of this essential element.

    “This doesn’t necessarily mean that life on Earth started in seawater,” said Tosca, “It opens up a lot of possibilities for how seawater could have supplied phosphate to different environments— for instance, lakes, lagoons, or shorelines where sea spray could have carried the phosphate onto land.”

    Previously scientists had come up with a range of ways of generating phosphate, some theories involving special environments such as acidic volcanic springs or alkaline lakes, and rare minerals found only in meteorites.

    “We had a hunch that iron was key to phosphate solubility, but there just wasn’t enough data,” said Tosca. The idea for the team’s experiments came when they looked at waters that bathe sediments deposited in the modern Baltic Sea. “It is unusual because it’s high in both phosphate and iron — we started to wonder what was so different about those particular waters.”

    In their experiments, the researchers added different amounts of iron to a range of synthetic seawater samples and tested how much phosphorous it could hold before crystals formed and minerals separated from the liquid. They then built these data points into a model that could predict how much phosphate ancient seawater could hold.

    The Baltic Sea pore waters provided one set of modern samples they used to test their model. “We could reproduce that unusual water chemistry perfectly,” said Tosca. From there they went on to explore the chemistry of seawater before any biology was around.

    The results also have implications for scientists trying to understand the possibilities for life beyond Earth. “If iron helps put more phosphate in solution, then this could have relevance to early Mars,” said Tosca.

    Evidence for water on ancient Mars is abundant, including old river beds and flood deposits, and we also know that there was a lot of iron at the surface and the atmosphere was at times oxygen-poor, said Tosca.

    Their simulations of surface waters filtering through rocks on the Martian surface suggest that iron-rich water might have supplied phosphates in this environment too.

    “It’s going to be fascinating to see how the community uses our results to explore new, alternative pathways for the evolution of life on our planet and beyond,” said Brady.

    Fig. 1: Solubility of vivianite at 25 oC.
    2
    Optimisation of new and existing solubility data in the aqueous iron phosphate system yields a value of 35.79 +/− 0.09 for the solubility product of vivianite (pKsp; solid line; dashed lines indicate 95% confidence intervals of entire dataset) for vivianite, as well as equilibrium constants for aqueous Fe-phosphate species (Supplementary Tables 1 and 2). This experimentally calibrated model represents, within reported error, all available experimental observations conducted at varying pH, ionic strength and media composition. Error bars indicate an analytical error (two standard deviations from the mean; refs. 20, 84 [in the full science paper]).

    Fig. 2: Stoichiometric dissociation constants of phosphoric acid in seawater media as a function of salinity.
    3
    At 0 permil salinity, calculated stoichiometric dissociation constants are equivalent to the infinite dilution values listed in Supplementary Table 2. Error bars indicate an analytical error (two standard deviations from the mean; refs. 85,86,87 [in the full science paper).

    Science paper:
    Nature Communications

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    2

    The Department of Earth Sciences offers world-leading education and carries out innovative and ground-breaking research, using excellent facilities in a dynamic, welcoming and inclusive environment.

    U Cambridge Campus

    The University of Cambridge (UK) [legally The Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of Cambridge] is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, England. Founded in 1209 Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s fourth-oldest surviving university. It grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford(UK) after a dispute with townsfolk. The two ancient universities share many common features and are often jointly referred to as “Oxbridge”.

    Cambridge is formed from a variety of institutions which include 31 semi-autonomous constituent colleges and over 150 academic departments, faculties and other institutions organised into six schools. All the colleges are self-governing institutions within the university, each controlling its own membership and with its own internal structure and activities. All students are members of a college. Cambridge does not have a main campus and its colleges and central facilities are scattered throughout the city. Undergraduate teaching at Cambridge is organised around weekly small-group supervisions in the colleges – a feature unique to the Oxbridge system. These are complemented by classes, lectures, seminars, laboratory work and occasionally further supervisions provided by the central university faculties and departments. Postgraduate teaching is provided predominantly centrally.

    Cambridge University Press a department of the university is the oldest university press in the world and currently the second largest university press in the world. Cambridge Assessment also a department of the university is one of the world’s leading examining bodies and provides assessment to over eight million learners globally every year. The university also operates eight cultural and scientific museums, including the Fitzwilliam Museum, as well as a botanic garden. Cambridge’s libraries – of which there are 116 – hold a total of around 16 million books, around nine million of which are in Cambridge University Library, a legal deposit library. The university is home to – but independent of – the Cambridge Union – the world’s oldest debating society. The university is closely linked to the development of the high-tech business cluster known as “Silicon Fe”. It is the central member of Cambridge University Health Partners, an academic health science centre based around the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

    By both endowment size and consolidated assets Cambridge is the wealthiest university in the United Kingdom. In the fiscal year ending 31 July 2019, the central university – excluding colleges – had a total income of £2.192 billion of which £592.4 million was from research grants and contracts. At the end of the same financial year the central university and colleges together possessed a combined endowment of over £7.1 billion and overall consolidated net assets (excluding “immaterial” historical assets) of over £12.5 billion. It is a member of numerous associations and forms part of the ‘golden triangle’ of English universities.

    Cambridge has educated many notable alumni including eminent mathematicians; scientists; politicians; lawyers; philosophers; writers; actors; monarchs and other heads of state. As of October 2020 121 Nobel laureates; 11 Fields Medalists; 7 Turing Award winners; and 14 British prime ministers have been affiliated with Cambridge as students; alumni; faculty or research staff. University alumni have won 194 Olympic medals.

    History

    By the late 12th century the Cambridge area already had a scholarly and ecclesiastical reputation due to monks from the nearby bishopric church of Ely. However it was an incident at Oxford which is most likely to have led to the establishment of the university: three Oxford scholars were hanged by the town authorities for the death of a woman without consulting the ecclesiastical authorities who would normally take precedence (and pardon the scholars) in such a case; but were at that time in conflict with King John. Fearing more violence from the townsfolk scholars from the University of Oxford started to move away to cities such as Paris; Reading; and Cambridge. Subsequently enough scholars remained in Cambridge to form the nucleus of a new university when it had become safe enough for academia to resume at Oxford. In order to claim precedence it is common for Cambridge to trace its founding to the 1231 charter from Henry III granting it the right to discipline its own members (ius non-trahi extra) and an exemption from some taxes; Oxford was not granted similar rights until 1248.

    A bull in 1233 from Pope Gregory IX gave graduates from Cambridge the right to teach “everywhere in Christendom”. After Cambridge was described as a studium generale in a letter from Pope Nicholas IV in 1290 and confirmed as such in a bull by Pope John XXII in 1318 it became common for researchers from other European medieval universities to visit Cambridge to study or to give lecture courses.

    Foundation of the colleges

    The colleges at the University of Cambridge were originally an incidental feature of the system. No college is as old as the university itself. The colleges were endowed fellowships of scholars. There were also institutions without endowments called hostels. The hostels were gradually absorbed by the colleges over the centuries; but they have left some traces, such as the name of Garret Hostel Lane.

    Hugh Balsham, Bishop of Ely, founded Peterhouse – Cambridge’s first college in 1284. Many colleges were founded during the 14th and 15th centuries but colleges continued to be established until modern times. There was a gap of 204 years between the founding of Sidney Sussex in 1596 and that of Downing in 1800. The most recently established college is Robinson built in the late 1970s. However Homerton College only achieved full university college status in March 2010 making it the newest full college (it was previously an “Approved Society” affiliated with the university).

    In medieval times many colleges were founded so that their members would pray for the souls of the founders and were often associated with chapels or abbeys. The colleges’ focus changed in 1536 with the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Henry VIII ordered the university to disband its Faculty of Canon Law and to stop teaching “scholastic philosophy”. In response, colleges changed their curricula away from canon law and towards the classics; the Bible; and mathematics.

    Nearly a century later the university was at the centre of a Protestant schism. Many nobles, intellectuals and even commoners saw the ways of the Church of England as too similar to the Catholic Church and felt that it was used by the Crown to usurp the rightful powers of the counties. East Anglia was the centre of what became the Puritan movement. In Cambridge the movement was particularly strong at Emmanuel; St Catharine’s Hall; Sidney Sussex; and Christ’s College. They produced many “non-conformist” graduates who, greatly influenced by social position or preaching left for New England and especially the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the Great Migration decade of the 1630s. Oliver Cromwell, Parliamentary commander during the English Civil War and head of the English Commonwealth (1649–1660), attended Sidney Sussex.

    Modern period

    After the Cambridge University Act formalised the organisational structure of the university the study of many new subjects was introduced e.g. theology, history and modern languages. Resources necessary for new courses in the arts architecture and archaeology were donated by Viscount Fitzwilliam of Trinity College who also founded the Fitzwilliam Museum. In 1847 Prince Albert was elected Chancellor of the University of Cambridge after a close contest with the Earl of Powis. Albert used his position as Chancellor to campaign successfully for reformed and more modern university curricula, expanding the subjects taught beyond the traditional mathematics and classics to include modern history and the natural sciences. Between 1896 and 1902 Downing College sold part of its land to build the Downing Site with new scientific laboratories for anatomy, genetics, and Earth sciences. During the same period the New Museums Site was erected including the Cavendish Laboratory which has since moved to the West Cambridge Site and other departments for chemistry and medicine.

    The University of Cambridge began to award PhD degrees in the first third of the 20th century. The first Cambridge PhD in mathematics was awarded in 1924.

    In the First World War 13,878 members of the university served and 2,470 were killed. Teaching and the fees it earned came almost to a stop and severe financial difficulties followed. As a consequence the university first received systematic state support in 1919 and a Royal Commission appointed in 1920 recommended that the university (but not the colleges) should receive an annual grant. Following the Second World War the university saw a rapid expansion of student numbers and available places; this was partly due to the success and popularity gained by many Cambridge scientists.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:09 pm on September 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scientists chip away at a metallic mystery one atom at a time", , Chemistry, It’s no secret that radiation weakens metal. Uncovering how is complicated work., , Metals and ceramics are made up of microscopic crystals-also called grains. The smaller the crystals-the stronger materials tend to be., , , Radiation might only strike one atom head on but that atom then pops out of place and collides with others in a chaotic domino effect., Radiation particles pack so much heat and energy that they can momentarily melt the spot where they hit., Radiation smashes and permanently alters the crystal structure of grains., Scientists believe the key to preventing large-scale catastrophic failures in bridges airplanes and power plants is to look — very closely — at damage as it first appears., , The ground truth about how failure begins atom by atom is largely a mystery., The reality is many of the materials around us are unstable., The Sandia team wants to slow — or even stop — the atomic-scale changes to metals that radiation causes.   

    From The DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories: “Scientists chip away at a metallic mystery one atom at a time” 

    From The DOE’s Sandia National Laboratories

    9.28.22
    Troy Rummler,
    trummle@sandia.gov
    505-249-3632

    It’s no secret that radiation weakens metal. Uncovering how is complicated work.

    Gray and white flecks skitter erratically on a computer screen. A towering microscope looms over a landscape of electronic and optical equipment. Inside the microscope, high-energy, accelerated ions bombard a flake of platinum thinner than a hair on a mosquito’s back. Meanwhile, a team of scientists studies the seemingly chaotic display, searching for clues to explain how and why materials degrade in extreme environments.

    Based at Sandia, these scientists believe the key to preventing large-scale, catastrophic failures in bridges, airplanes and power plants is to look — very closely — at damage as it first appears at the atomic and nanoscale levels.

    “As humans, we see the physical space around us, and we imagine that everything is permanent,” Sandia materials scientist Brad Boyce said. “We see the table, the chair, the lamp, the lights, and we imagine it’s always going to be there, and it’s stable. But we also have this human experience that things around us can unexpectedly break. And that’s the evidence that these things aren’t really stable at all. The reality is many of the materials around us are unstable.”

    But the ground truth about how failure begins atom by atom is largely a mystery, especially in complex, extreme environments like space, a fusion reactor or a nuclear power plant. The answer is obscured by complicated, interconnected processes that require a mix of specialized expertise to sort out.

    The team recently published in the academic journal Science Advances [below] research results on the destabilizing effects of radiation. While the findings describe how metals degrade from a fundamental perspective, the results could potentially help engineers predict a material’s response to different kinds of damage and improve the reliability of materials in intense radiation environments.

    For instance, by the time a nuclear power plant reaches retirement age, pipes, cables and containment systems inside the reactor can be dangerously brittle and weak. Decades of exposure to heat, stress, vibration and a constant barrage of radiation break down materials faster than normal. Formerly strong structures become unreliable and unsafe, fit only for decontamination and disposal.

    “If we can understand these mechanisms and make sure that future materials are, basically, adapted to minimize these degradation pathways, then perhaps we can get more life out of the materials that we rely on, or at least better anticipate when they’re going to fail so we can respond accordingly,” Boyce said.

    The research was performed, in part, at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, an Office of Science user facility operated for DOE by Sandia and The DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratories. It was funded by the DOE’s Basic Energy Sciences program.

    Atomic-scale research could protect metals from damage

    Metals and ceramics are made up of microscopic crystals-also called grains. The smaller the crystals-the stronger materials tend to be. Scientists have already shown it is possible to strengthen a metal by engineering incredibly small, nanosized crystals.

    “You can take pure copper, and by processing it so that the grains are nanosized, it can become as strong as some steels,” Boyce said.

    But radiation smashes and permanently alters the crystal structure of grains, weakening metals. A single radiation particle strikes a crystal of metal like a cue ball breaks a neatly racked set of billiard balls, said Rémi Dingreville, a computer simulation and theory expert on the team. Radiation might only strike one atom head on but that atom then pops out of place and collides with others in a chaotic domino effect.

    Unlike a cue ball, Dingreville said, radiation particles pack so much heat and energy that they can momentarily melt the spot where they hit, which also weakens the metal. And in heavy-radiation environments, structures live in a never-ending hailstorm of these particles.

    The Sandia team wants to slow — or even stop — the atomic-scale changes to metals that radiation causes. To do that, the researchers work like forensic investigators replicating crime scenes to understand real ones. Their Science Advances paper details an experiment in which they used their high-powered, highly customized electron microscope to view the damage in the platinum metal grains.

    21
    In this photo from 2020, Christopher Barr, right, a former Sandia National Laboratories postdoctoral researcher, and University of California-Irvine professor Shen Dillon operate the In-situ Ion Irradiation Transmission Electron Microscope. Barr was part of a Sandia team that used the one-of-a-kind microscope to study atomic-scale radiation effects on metal. (Photo by Lonnie Anderson)

    Fig. 1. The analyzed GB and its surrounding environment.
    2
    (A) Automated crystal orientation mapping showing the grain orientations in the vicinity of the interface of interest. The boundary of interest separates the two indicated grains, labeled as A and B, at the center of image (B) and terminates at triple junctions [labeled TJ in (C)]. The boundary is faceted on Σ3 {112} interfaces that intersect at 120°. (D) High-angle annular dark field scanning transmission electron microscopy image showing structure at atomic resolution. (E) Atomistic model [embedded atom method (EAM)] for the ideal facet and junction structure. Fast Fourier transform analysis of the atomic resolution images [inset in (D)] shows that the grains are rotated by 3.2° from the exact Σ3 orientation.

    Fig. 3. Facet junction positions before and after ion irradiation in relationship to the interfacial disconnection content measured before irradiation.
    3
    (A and B) The GB facets before and after irradiation. (C) Plots of the facet positions measured before (red) and after (blue) irradiation. The facets have primarily moved in the upward direction relative to their initial position. The green dots on the plot for the unirradiated boundary in (C) mark the midpoints between facet junction pairs around which Burgers circuits were constructed on higher magnification images. An example of a circuit map is shown in (D) for a facet-junction pair with b = (a/6)[12¯1]= δΑ, referenced to the right crystal (grain B). The observed disconnections have Burgers vectors primarily composed of (a/6)[12¯1] = δΑ, although other components arise where the average boundary inclination deviates substantially from (12¯1).

    More instructive images are available in the science paper.

    Team member Khalid Hattar has been modifying and upgrading this microscope for over a decade, currently housed in Sandia’s Ion Beam Laboratory. This one-of-a-kind instrument can expose materials to all sorts of elements — including heat, cryogenic cold, mechanical strain, and a range of controlled radiation, chemical and electrical environments. It allows scientists to watch degradation occur microscopically, in real time. The Sandia team combined these dynamic observations with even higher magnification microscopy allowing them to see the atomic structure of the boundaries between the grains and determine how the irradiation altered it.

    But such forensics work is fraught with challenges.

    “I mean, these are extremely hard problems,” said Doug Medlin, another member of the Sandia team. Boyce asked for Medlin’s help on the project because of his deep expertise in analyzing grain boundaries. Medlin has been studying similar problems since the 1990s.

    “We’re starting from a specimen that’s maybe three millimeters in diameter when they stick it into the electron microscope,” Medlin said. “And then we’re zooming down to dimensions that are just a few atoms wide. And so, there’s just that practical aspect of: How do you go and find things before and after the experiment? And then, how do you make sense of those atomistic arrangements in a meaningful way?”

    By combining atomic-scale images with nanoscale video collected during the experiment, the team discovered that irradiating the platinum causes the boundaries between grains to move.

    Computer simulations help explain cause and effect

    After the experiment, their next challenge was to translate what they saw in images and video into mathematical models. This is difficult when some atoms might be dislocated because of physical collisions, while others might be moving around because of localized heating. To separate the effects, experimentalists turn to theoreticians like Dingreville.

    “Simulating radiation damage at the atomic scale is very (computationally) expensive,” Dingreville said. Because there are so many moving atoms, it takes a lot of time and processing power on high-performance computers to model the damage.

    Sandia has some of the best modeling capabilities and expertise in the world, he said. Researchers commonly measure the amount of damage radiation causes to a material in units called displacements per atom, or dpa for short. Typical computer models can simulate up to around 0.5 dpa worth of damage. Sandia models can simulate up to 10 times that, around 5 dpa.

    In fact, the combination of in-house expertise in atomic microscopy, the ability to reproduce extreme radiation environments and this specialized niche of computer modeling makes Sandia one of few places in the world where this research can take place, Dingreville said.

    But even Sandia’s high-end software can only simulate a few seconds’ worth of radiation damage. An even better understanding of the fundamental processes will require hardware and software that can simulate longer spans of time. Humans have been making and breaking metals for centuries, so the remaining knowledge gaps are complex, Boyce said, requiring expert teams that spend years honing their skills and refining their theories. Medlin said the long-term nature of the research is one thing that has attracted him to this field of work for nearly 30 years.

    “I guess that’s what drives me,” he said. “It’s this itch to figure it out, and it takes a long time to figure it out.”

    Science paper:
    Science Advances

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Sandia National Laboratories managed and operated by the National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia (a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International), is one of three National Nuclear Security Administration research and development laboratories in the United States. Their primary mission is to develop, engineer, and test the non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons and high technology. Headquartered in Central New Mexico near the Sandia Mountains, on Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, Sandia also has a campus in Livermore, California, next to DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and a test facility in Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii.

    It is Sandia’s mission to maintain the reliability and surety of nuclear weapon systems, conduct research and development in arms control and nonproliferation technologies, and investigate methods for the disposal of the United States’ nuclear weapons program’s hazardous waste.

    Other missions include research and development in energy and environmental programs, as well as the surety of critical national infrastructures. In addition, Sandia is home to a wide variety of research including computational biology; mathematics (through its Computer Science Research Institute); materials science; alternative energy; psychology; MEMS; and cognitive science initiatives.

    Sandia formerly hosted ASCI Red, one of the world’s fastest supercomputers until its recent decommission, and now hosts ASCI Red Storm supercomputer, originally known as Thor’s Hammer.

    Sandia is also home to the Z Machine.


    The Z Machine is the largest X-ray generator in the world and is designed to test materials in conditions of extreme temperature and pressure. It is operated by Sandia National Laboratories to gather data to aid in computer modeling of nuclear guns. In December 2016, it was announced that National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, under the direction of Honeywell International, would take over the management of Sandia National Laboratories starting on May 1, 2017.


     
  • richardmitnick 11:33 am on September 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "PNNL Advances Science to Convert Plastics to Fuels", , , Chemistry, , PNNL scientists are developing novel catalysts that speed up the chemical reactions while using a smaller amount of a precious metal than other catalysts., PNNL scientists began by reducing the amount of the precious metal ruthenium in the catalyst they were studying., PNNL scientists discovered a promising approach to make it easier to turn petroleum-based plastic waste into chemicals that can be used to produce new materials and fuels.,   

    From The DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: “PNNL Advances Science to Convert Plastics to Fuels” 

    From The DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

    9.26.22
    Steven Ashby

    1

    Knowing that recycling is good for the planet, many of us gather up our glass, aluminum and plastic instead of putting them in the trash.

    But chances are, most of us don’t think about how to get the most value from those materials or the technical challenges associated with doing so.

    At the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, scientists discovered a promising approach to make it easier to turn petroleum-based plastic waste into chemicals that can be used to produce new materials and fuels.

    Their method, which could make it possible to “upcycle” plastics into more valuable products, focuses on increasing the efficiency of the desired chemical conversion.

    The scientists are developing novel catalysts that speed up the chemical reactions while using a smaller amount of a precious metal than other catalysts. As an added benefit, their method also generates less greenhouse gas as a byproduct.

    In their experiments, researchers at PNNL determined how to efficiently break chemical bonds within plastics and facilitate a reaction that allows hydrogen to be added, resulting in a hydrocarbon that can be used as a fuel.

    While the idea of exploiting this reaction is not new, the high-temperatures and expensive catalysts needed to produce fuels this way have made it cost-prohibitive for practical use.

    PNNL scientists began by reducing the amount of the precious metal ruthenium in the catalyst they were studying.

    Examining the process at the molecular level, they saw a change in the catalyst’s structure from orderly three-dimensional particles to particles that were less organized. And with that disorder, the catalyst is better at facilitating the desired reaction.

    Their observations, inspired by PNNL’s previous work on single-atom catalysts, helped the research team understand the potential for designing and developing more effective, efficient catalysts that literally allow them to do more with less.

    More specifically, results show that by lowering the amount of ruthenium, researchers could enable chemical conversions of a specific type of plastic called polypropylene that were seven times more efficient than what was reported in scientific literature.

    Combined, polypropylene and another type of plastic, polyethylene, make up more than 50 percent of plastics produced—and this approach could work for upcycling of both.

    As researchers at PNNL build a fundamental understanding of catalysts and how their structure determines their behavior, they are not only helping make the process more efficient, but they are also making it cleaner.

    The reaction that occurs when hydrogen is added to plastics often generates large amounts of methane, which is a greenhouse gas.

    By designing catalysts that break chemical bonds at certain positions, scientists could change the reaction enough to significantly reduce the methane produced as byproduct of upcycling plastics.

    Future Needs

    Looking ahead, researchers seek to advance industrial upcycling by learning more about how their system would be impacted by real-world conditions, including the different chemical compositions of materials found in mixed plastic recycling streams.

    According to the Environmental Protection Agency, less than 10 percent of the 36 million tons of plastics generated in the United States in 2018 (the most recent year reported) were recycled while 27 million tons were put into landfills.

    And, while I’ve heard the saying that “pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting,” there are technical and economic challenges that make it difficult to harvest those resources from discarded plastic.

    So, let’s do our part and raise our reusable water bottles in a toast to the researchers at PNNL who are helping to realize the promise of turning plastics into valuable fuels and chemicals.

    See the full article here.

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is one of the United States Department of Energy National Laboratories, managed by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The main campus of the laboratory is in Richland, Washington.

    PNNL scientists conduct basic and applied research and development to strengthen U.S. scientific foundations for fundamental research and innovation; prevent and counter acts of terrorism through applied research in information analysis, cyber security, and the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction; increase the U.S. energy capacity and reduce dependence on imported oil; and reduce the effects of human activity on the environment. PNNL has been operated by Battelle Memorial Institute since 1965.

     
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