Tom Westgate, Science Writer

Here you can find the articles I've written. Mainly about science, but some other stuff too. Enjoy!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Scientists would love to be able to track molecules as they pass through porous solids like catalysts. This Chemistry World story shows how it can be done:

Molecular traffic spied in nanoscale tube network

Chemists in Germany have tracked single molecules diffusing through a porous solid for the first time. The study paves the way for further insights into how catalysts, drug delivery and membrane materials might be improved.

Funding boost for high-tech plastics research:

Scientists win cash to develop plastic x-ray detectors

26 November 2007

UK scientists have shown for the first time that polymers could compete with silicon for detecting x-ray radiation. Now, a funding boost gives the researchers the chance to work with industry and bring the technology closer to market.

Plants' molecular sunscreen

From Chemistry World

Proteins protect plants from sunlight

21 November 2007

A team of European scientists have revealed the molecular mechanism that allows plants to protect themselves from strong sunlight. The findings could be important for the development of solar energy systems, as well as helping agriculture.

Liquid computer

The computer you are sitting at right now does its 'thinking' in a load of tiny silicon switches called logic gates. This Chemistry World article explains how liquids in tiny channels can do the same job and process chemical, not electronic data.

Computing goes into solution

15 November 2007

South Korean scientists have developed the first soluble molecular logic gates - one step along the way to designing molecular computers and biological lab-on-a-chip devices. A team of scientists led by Juyoung Yoon of Ewha Womans University has used solutions of fluorescent sensor molecules that respond to 'inputs' of pH, metal ions and, for the first time in a molecular logic gate, proteins.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Atom spotting

Being able to 'see' individual atoms blows my mind. Here's a Chemistry World news story about atom probe tomography - a technique that has been used for spotting dopant atoms in silicon semiconductors.

Probe maps individual atoms in semiconductor

06 September 2007

Troublesome clusters of dopant atoms have been 'seen' for the first time.

US researchers have drawn up the first 3D maps of the individual atoms in a semiconductor. These atomic plots are a crucial breakthrough in understanding how to make silicon transistors even smaller, said Keith Thompson of Imago Scientific Instruments, Madison, Wisconsin.

Read the full story here.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Can frozen bacteria repair their own DNA?

The theory that frozen bacteria are able to repair their own DNA could explain how they are able to survive for millennia in the permafrost, and could mean there are frozen bugs on Mars. Not everyone is so sure, as I report for Chemistry World.

28 August 2007

An international team of scientists believe they have strong evidence that bacteria trapped in permafrost are able to survive for hundreds of thousands of years by repairing their DNA.

If Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and his colleagues are correct, then the findings could mean that the frozen poles of Mars and Jupiter's moon Europa could also harbour ancient life. But experts on microbial survival contacted by Chemistry World were split on the significance of the findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.

Read the rest of this article here.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Health matters...

A few health-related news stories from Chemistry World:

Green Tea's secret tunnelling revealed - 23 April 2007

Scientists have used quantum mechanics to work out why green tea is good for you. The health benefits of the brew are all down to a quirk of the quantum world known as tunneling, they say.

Read more here

Molecular probe identifies patients at risk of Alzheimer's - 21 December 2006

A new molecule could provide an early warning system for Alzheimer’s disease, US researchers hope.

Read more here

Shampoo Chemical study 'flawed' - 07 August 2006

A US scientist has suggested that pregnant women should avoid using shampoos and other cosmetics containing the chemical diethanolamine (DEA), after finding that it inhibited brain development in mouse foetuses. But the research, reported by news outlets around the world, has been slammed by a leading toxicologist.

Read more here

Industrial solvent in cancer probe - 28 July 2006

The cancer risk posed by trichloroethylene (TCE) should be reassessed, according to a report from a US National Academies ’ National Research Council committee.

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