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Periodic Tabloid

Bacterial Hanky Panky

You probably never considered the possibility that tiny bacteria have active sex lives. Rest assured they do, at least if you think the exchange of genetic information from one to another to be akin to a sex life.

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Seeing the Invisible

Nobody thought we could ever see the individual atoms and bonds of a molecule because the necessary light would be so energetic as to destroy the very molecule under observation. Luckily, intractable problems attract smart scientists.

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Chemistry Film Fest

Most people love movies. Whether drama, comedy, westerns, thrillers, romance, documentaries, or animation, what’s not to like about settling in for a couple of hours with popcorn and film? But have you ever seen a chemistry movie?

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All the World’s a Stage for Periodic Tables

Without consulting a dictionary, I would say that a metaphor is a comparison that shows how two things not fundamentally the same have at least one thing in common.The periodic table, that veritable icon of science, has itself been used as a metaphor for countless ideas. And now, combining idioms, comes the Periodic Table of Metaphors, courtesy of artist Christoph Niemann.

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Organic Molecules Made Easy

Anyone familiar with the synthesis of complex organic molecules knows that it requires a clever combination of art, guile, dumb luck, and smart science. Wouldn’t it be nice if everything needed to produce a molecule could be plopped into a single pot, stirred, and voila, out pops the finished product? Impossible, you say.

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Science, Art, Beauty

People respond to beauty. That’s why we like music, painting, poetry, dance. It’s also one of the reasons we like science. Egad, even chemistry is beautiful! And the beauteous art that emanates from chemistry is no better typified than in the work of Graeme Jones, a Brit who combines chemistry and art in stunning and magnificent ways.

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Living Longer

Discerning the way names are assigned to new drugs is as mysterious as deciphering the way such drugs bring about their intended magic.

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Public Health and Social Networking

Swine-flu vaccine was in the news again. Researchers at Novartis have started testing the vaccine, a necessary step before the public offering. Though the seasonal flu vaccine is proceeding on schedule, the H1N1 vaccine will be delayed until after the regular vaccine is released. By 31 July worldwide fatalities exceeded 1,100, and perhaps the vaccine will prevent the surge expected this fall. As the threat of swine flu slips from the forefront, are public health officials doing enough to stress the importance of vaccinating against the seasonal flu and H1N1?

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Gone Fishin’

About this time last year I paraphrased a wise person: you can accomplish a year’s work in eleven months, but not in twelve. Good advice, and the more one tends to stress-inducing behaviors the more necessary to heed it.

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Dangerous Chemicals

We rely on a multitude of chemicals for nearly every aspect of contemporary life. In fact it’s hard to conceive of life in the 21st century without the drugs, materials, foods, fuels, and other chemicals that make it all happen. There is also general agreement that society needs to protect citizens from the toxic repercussions of chemicals.

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