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ACS in the News - January 27, 2010

ACS in the News - January 27, 2010

'ACS in the News' publishes daily articles from newspapers, blogs and magazines about the American Chemical Society and its 38 peer-reviewed journals. Click on the links below to view the published article. The full-text article can also be found in the attached document at the bottom of the page.

Wired Science (San Francisco, Calif.: monthly circulation 531,491)

“What’s That Stuff? The Chemistry Behind Everyday Products”

January 26, 2010

Right around the time I started writing for GeekDad, I embarked on an adventure of learning about chemistry at home with my kids. Since I’m the type to obey any warning about using things only as directed, this was a giant leap for me. By the end of the year, though, we had performed more than 30 experiments, most of which were pretty cool, and we hadn’t even burned a hole in the kitchen counter. So imagine my delight at being contacted recently by Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly magazine published by the American Chemical Society. They have a wonderful little column called “What’s That Stuff?” that looks at what’s really in things like Silly Putty, self-darkening sunglasses, Cheese Wiz and artificial snow. This week, they’re examining the chemistry of hand warmers, those little packets you can stick in your pocket or shoe to keep your extremities warm in winter weather. Check out the column on hand warmers and if you want, try our experiment at home. Believe me, if I could do it, you can too! (Kids and parents who are interested in chemistry will also like the ACS’ video podcast, ByteSize Science.)

Discovery News (Silver Spring, Md.: 1.5 million monthly unique users)

“Engine Tech Knocks Back the NOx”

January 26, 2010

Biodiesel has advantages over diesel, but one drawback is higher nitrogen oxide emissions. Fortunately, researchers at Purdue University created an engine framework that cleans up. Greg Shaver, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and a member of the Purdue Energy Center at Discovery Park, walked me through his work. Nitrogen oxide, or NOx, is a common emission from gas and diesel engines and a precursor to smog. Engines that were designed and calibrated for regular diesel don't work the same way with biodiesel, which contains more oxygen. The result: an increase in noxious NOx emissions. Shaver and his team at Purdue came up with a technique to reduce them to levels back on par with conventional fuel. The system adjusts the fuel-injection timing, the flow of exhaust, and the air-to-fuel ratio to minimize emissions and fuel consumption. Details of this closed-loop control technique were published recently in the journal Energy & Fuels.

FOX Business (New York, N.Y.: 2.1 million monthly unique users)

“Idera Pharmaceuticals Announces the Appointment of Malcolm MacCoss, Ph.D., to Its Board of Director...

January 26, 2010

Idera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: IDRA) today announced the election of Malcolm MacCoss, Ph.D., FRSC, to the Company's Board of Directors as a class II director. Dr. MacCoss has nearly 30 years of drug discovery and development experience with large international pharmaceutical companies. In March 2008, Dr. MacCoss was awarded the N.J. American Chemical Society Award for Creativity in Molecular Design and Synthesis.

Medical News Today (U.K.: 928,500 monthly unique users)

“Judy Riffle Elected International Fellow”

January 27, 2010

Judy S. Riffle, professor of chemistry and director of Virginia Tech's Macromolecular Science and Engineering program, has been elected a Fellow in the Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering (PMSE) division of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Riffle was one of only three chemists worldwide to be named a PSME Fellow for 2010. She was recognized for her significant contributions to the science and engineering of polymeric materials. Riffle's polymer research has led to the development of materials used in heart transplants, arterial grafts, and contact lenses. Currently, her research is focused on synthesis of macromolecular magnetic particles that may be used in retinal treatments and fundamental aspects of delivering therapeutic molecules into immune cells to treat intracellular pathogens. Riffle earned her Ph.D. in macromolecular chemistry at Virginia Tech in 1981. She will be formally inducted into the tenth class of PMSE Fellows at the ACS annual conference this spring. (Berlin, Germany: 385,000 monthly readers)

“Borealis distributes Student Innovation Award 2009”

January 27, 2010

Borealis has selected the winners of its Student Innovation Award 2009. Launched in 2008, the award recognises the two most innovative research papers on polyolefins, olefins or melamine, one for a master’s degree and one for a doctorate graduate. A monetary award of EUR 5,000 for the doctorate degree graduate and one of EUR 3,000 for the master's degree graduate winner is granted to the winners along with an award and certificate. The Innovation Award for the doctorate degree was given to Amir Jabri. His PhD thesis, which was sponsored by the Dutch Polymer Institute, was an experimental study of how the transition-metal catalysts used in polyolefin production function on a molecular level. Dr. Amir Jabri, a US citizen, graduated from the University of Ottawa, Canada in 2009 and currently works in the area of computational chemistry. He published his findings in the scientific journals, "Angewandte Chemie” and in the "Journal of the American Chemical Society.”

… From the Blogs

Dr. Cutler

“Can blueberries boost memory?”

January 26, 2010

Origin: OPA PressPac

A new study suggests switching your morning cup of coffee or orange juice for a glass of blueberry juice to improve your memory. The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that drinking blueberry juice can boost memory. They found that the blueberry-juice drinkers showed significantly better performance on two memory tests compared to the control group. In addition, the individuals who drank the juice had improved test scores at the end of the study period. Researchers say all of the participants reported experiencing age-related cognitive problems prior to the study.

Heating Oil

“Study: Pros and Cons of Algae Biofuel”

January 26, 2010

A recent study published in Environmental Science and Technology proposes that algae-based biofuel might not be as environmentally friendly as is commonly believed. The problem is not with burning it, but with growing it: because algae production requires fertilizers, which emit nitrous oxide (a greenhouse gas), algae-based biofuel can end up producing more pollution than it absorbs. While corn and switchgrass can draw nitrogen from soil, which reduces the amount of fertilizer needed, algae requires that additional fertilizer be added to the water in which it grows. “Nutrients are going to be the limiting factor,” said Dr. Andres Clarens, an Assistant Professor of civil engineering at the University of Virginia and an author of the study. However, there are still several benefits that recommend algae over soil-based biofuels. For starters, algae grow atop water and do not compete with food crops for land space. Also, they have a higher energy yield than other biofuels, including corn and switchgrass.