Archives 1999-2009

This is the old face of Reactive Reports, the pioneering chemistry webzine launched way back in September 1999 by David Bradley, Tony Williams, and ACD/Labs. After ten years of regular cutting-edge chemistry news we decided it was time for a change. Here, you can find a decade of chemistry news archived for posterity.

ISSUE #75  
  • Stuck On You
    Scientists have long been interested in the ability of gecko lizards to scurry up walls and cling to ceilings by their toes. Now, researchers have found a way to mimic those hairy gecko feet using polymers or carbon nanotubes.
  • CSI: Waco
    A statistical method that processes spectroscopic measurements very quickly could allow crime scene investigators to determine time of death of skeletal remains more accurately and quicker than before, according to researchers at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
  • Tubular Reactions
    Using surface-modified carbon nanotubes to activate an important industrial chemical, butane, without the need for an expensive metal catalyst�Dang Sheng Su and his team present a process that offers a cheaper alternative to the current industrial process for butane activation.
  • Chasing Down Mad Cows
    Researchers in Europe have tracked down the molecular anchor that hooks errant and infectious prions leading to mad cow disease, scrapie in sheep, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.
  • Reactive Profile—Noel O'Boyle
    Noel O'Boyle is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Development Group at the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre in Cambridge, and is interested in drug discovery, protein-ligand docking, cheminformatics, QSAR, and computational chemistry.

ISSUE #74 July 2008
  • Communicating with Logical Chemistry
    Alberto Credi of the University of Bologna, Italy, and colleagues have built a simple glowing molecule that can carry out logical operations of the kind used in encoding the data transmitted down fiber-optic cables for voice and internet connections.
  • Rocky Water Source
    Gypsum, a rocky mineral abundant in desert regions where fresh water is usually in short supply, could become a novel source of fresh water there, as well as providing a way to make use of "flared" gas from oil fields.
  • Diabetes Sufferers Might Sing Mulberry Bush
    Clinical trials of a proprietary mulberry leaf extract demonstrated a significant effect on lowering blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetes patients.
  • Reactive Profile—Noel O'Boyle
    Noel O'Boyle is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Development Group at the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre in Cambridge, and is interested in drug discovery, protein-ligand docking, cheminformatics, QSAR, and computational chemistry.

ISSUE #73 April 2008
  • Super Insulator
    Superconductors, materials with zero electrical resistance, have been known for decades, but their counterpoint materials, the superinsulators, could transform materials research and electronics design.
  • Gator Aid
    Biochemist Mark Merchant of McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, has investigated a range of proteins found in gator blood that might one day be used to fight serious infections.
  • Fake Bird Flu
    International health organizations are lying in wait for the emergence of a form of avian influenza that could spread between people and lead to a global epidemic, killing millions.
  • Reactive Profile—Egon Willighagen
    Egon Willighagen is one of the new breed of chemists who are using the information tools of our age—the blogs, wikis, and online social media—to further their chemistry and benefit the wider chemical community.

ISSUE #72 January 2008
  • Ice Age the Movie
    The ordered structure of ice dissolves little by little into disorder when a tiny burst of light hits an ice crystal. At least that's what computer simulations of the process carried out by Swedish researchers from the University of Uppsala would suggest.
  • Seagull as Environmental Canary
    Seagulls may be the unwitting canary in the proverbial coalmine allowing us to monitor oil pollution levels in marine environments more precisely than before, according to scientists in Spain.
  • Small and Sensitive
    A tiny prototype sensor device that can quickly sniff out minute quantities of hazardous gases, including toxic industrial chemicals and chemical warfare agents, is being developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Butanol Biofuel Bandwagon
    In 2006, chemical manufacturer DuPont and oil company BP announced a collaboration with British Sugar to convert sugar beets into butanol as a gasoline-blending additive in the UK. Now, it seems others are seeing the potential benefits of jumping aboard the butanol bandwagon.

ISSUE #71 November 2007
  • DNA Nanorings
    A simple approach to making rigid DNA nanorings with tailor-made functionality has been developed by Michael Famulok and his team at the University of Bonn, Germany.
  • Sunshine Superpower
    In the depths of the Northern winter, as we approach the shortest day of the year, what could be more welcome than a little sunshine news.
  • Five Firsts in Chemistry
    With 2007 rapidly coming to an end, the inevitable lists are popping up. Not wishing to be left out this holiday season, the American Chemical Society has compiled a Top 5 from its own publications.
  • Sun Rises in the East
    Weixiang "Andrew" Sun is a graduate student in the College of Material Science & Engineering, at South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, PR China. He is interested in "bottom-up" approaches to constructing nanoscale materials and currently working on the thermogelation of a diblock copolymer and its inclusion complexes with alpha-cyclodextrin.

ISSUE #70 November 2007
  • Cats Don't Work Like That
    The three-way catalytic converter in your car does not, it turns out, work the way chemists thought it did. One of the key functions of a "cat" is to convert toxic carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide.
  • Double Vision With Coordination Polymers
    Calcite crystals can make you see double. You don't ingest them to achieve some kind of mind warp effect; they are simply birefringent, having essentially two focal points.
  • Organic Uranium
    The first ever uranium methylidyne molecule has been synthesized by US chemists despite the reactivity of the heavy, heavy metal.
  • Barking Up the Right Tree for Fresh Breath
    A traditional Chinese extract from the bark of the magnolia tree could give you fresh breath and kill off the oral microbes that cause halitosis.

ISSUE #69 October 2007
  • How Cannabis Works
    Why does cannabis get a person "high"? What is it about the psychoactive component in marijuana, THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, that exerts its special effects?
  • An Economical Hydrogen Economy
    If the hyperbole is to be believed, hydrogen gas will be one of the most important fuels of the future.
  • The Venusian Greenhouse
    A rare form of carbon dioxide in which one oxygen atom contains ten neutrons instead of the usual eight could be to blame for the searing greenhouse effect on the planet Venus.
  • Chocoholics Anonymous
    It probably will not come as a surprise that scientific research funded by chocolate makers Nestle' has demonstrated a link between our love of chocolate and a specific chemical signature programmed into our metabolism.

ISSUE #68 September 2007
  • Fire Resistant Paint
    A way to toughen up the latex particles used to make emulsion paints has been developed by UK chemists.
  • Light Controlled Magic Bullet
    Targeting diseased tissue directly with the drug to teach it, the so-called magic bullet, came a step closer thanks to work by Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutics Colin McCoy of Queen's University Belfast and his colleagues.
  • Insecticidal Synthesis
    Professor Steven Ley of Cambridge University and his colleagues over the last two decades have been on a chemical odyssey.
  • Plain or Vanilla
    Some men smell of vanilla while others smell of urine, but it is not always down to personal hygiene or ice-cream tainted Cologne.

ISSUE #67 July-August 2007
  • Attractive Changing Colors
    Yadong Yin and colleagues at the University of California, Riverside, have discovered that a simple magnet can be used to change the color of nanoparticles of iron oxide in aqueous suspension.
  • Fairytale Insulin Substitute
    People with type I diabetes could one day be prescribed an extract from pumpkins that will drastically cut their reliance on daily insulin injections.
  • Multichannel Microchemical Factory
    In the mid-nineties, microchemistry was set to revolutionize the chemical industry.
  • No Munchies with Cannabinoid Antagonist
    The pharmaceutical rimonabant latches on to the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain and blocks their activity.
  • Contaminated Seabirds
    A new approach to monitoring seabirds for contamination with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs) has been developed by scientists in Japan.
  • Bryan Vickery
    Bryan Vickery did his BSc and PhD in electrochemistry at Liverpool University, England, but eschewed damaged jeans and fume cupboards for the world of electronic publishing.

ISSUE #66 June 2007
  • Bonding Solution
    The formation of molecular bonds between carbon atoms is fundamental to life on earth as well as the manufacture of countless products on which civilization depends from selective agrochemicals to potent pharmaceuticals and from polymers and plastics to the synthesis of the components of nanotechnology.
  • Lengthy Nanobelts
    Think of nanotechnology and the first thing that strikes you is the amazingly small sizes involved.
  • Fluorescent Font
    Making and writing with "invisible" ink was always a fascinating wet Saturday afternoon for us as kids.
  • Mitch André Garcia
    Garcia obtained his BS from the University of California, Riverside, in 2003 in Pure and Applied Chemistry, and then moved to Berkeley to study for his PhD.

ISSUE #65 May 2007
  • Meeting of Molecular Movie Stars
    A clandestine meeting between molecules, a chemical handshake, and an exchange of energy have all been recorded on camera by scientists in the UK and Germany.
  • The Long and the Short of It
    A new composite material that acts as a catalyst to speed up chemical reactions has been developed to create arrays of the world's longest carbon nanotubes.
  • A Scent for Explosives
    A new type of biosensor based on yeast, jellyfish proteins, and a rat's sense of smell could sniff out explosives, landmines, and agents, such as sarin gas, according to researchers at Temple University.
  • Windows Cause Pollution
    This is not another terrible advertisement for an alternative computer operating system to the eponymous installation mentioned in the title, but an environmental analysis that reveals how dirty windows are a major contributor to urban pollution.

ISSUE #64 April 2007
  • Proteins' Web of Intrigue
    The latent strength of Miss Muffet's arachnoid friend may have been in sexual allegory, but the image of a spider's web as somehow weak, a glistening, gossamer netting for trapping only flies could not be further from the truth.
  • Stem to Sperm
    Stem cells from human bone marrow can be converted into early-stage sperm, according to a research team based at the North-east England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI), Newcastle.
  • Dino Remains
    We have not quite entered Jurassic Park, but researchers have successfully extracted protein from a 68 million year old Tyrannosaurus rex bone.

ISSUE #63 March 2007
  • Cocoa Has Beans
    A natural compound found in cocoa, teas, wine, and some fruit and vegetables could lead to a breakthrough in health and nutrition, according to US researchers.
  • Chemists Go Round the Bend
    Chemists often think of molecular wires as "shape-persistent" rods with limited flexibility, so says Oxford University's Harry Anderson, and he should know, having worked with the inflexible nanoscopic objects known as molecules since the early 1990s.
  • Natural Copy Cat
    Green plants can extract carbon dioxide gas from the air and turn it into sugar molecules using sunlight and give off oxygen.
  • Waste Not, Want Not
    A fungus that can convert waste paper into an antibacterial and super-absorbent material has been discovered by researchers at Borås University College in Sweden.

ISSUE #62 February 2007
Articles Interviews
  • RCS Publishing Embraces the Semantic Web
    Robert Parker, Managing Director of RSC Publishing discusses a new approach to the publication of scientific papers, and how it will benefit readers and the scientific community at large.

ISSUE #61 December 2006
  • Molecular Light Switch
    According to Nobel laureate Roald Hoffmann, "Nanotechnology is the result of the marriage of the synthetic talent of Chemists with a device-driven ingenuity."
  • Blood, Light, and Water
    Two molecules that occur naturally in blood have been engineered by scientists from the UK and Japan to use sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
  • Plastic Shape Shifter
    Temperature-controlled "triple-shaped plastics" that can change shape from one form to another, then another, have been developed by researchers in Germany and the US.
  • Bedwetting Chemistry
    A higher concentration of sodium and urea in urine could underlie a type of bedwetting in children that does not respond to the common medication, desmopressin.
  • Rubber Suits You Sir
    Military personnel, chemical workers, and others could benefit from a new synthetic rubber material tailored with liquid crystals.
  • Biomolecules Out on a Wing
    Photonic crystals give butterflies their beautiful colors and synthetic versions are now being developed for a range of technological applications.
  • Dick Wife
    British-born Richard "Dick" Lewin Wife followed a traditional educational path, receiving his chemistry first degree from the University of Leeds in 1969 and staying on to do an organic PhD with David W. Jones.
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