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Friday, October 23, 2015

Chemistry Literature Feature, Vol XI: University of Michigan Edition

The #SciBlogReaders survey is still underway! If you enjoy this blog or another science blog, click here to learn how you can help bloggers and win some cool prizes for yourself.

Have you seen a good paper lately? Written one? Send it in and have it featured here! treetownchem@gmail.com

In this episode of the Chemistry Literature Feature, we celebrate chemistry at the University of Michigan! Keep scrolling to learn about chemical reactions happening high in the clouds, how to teach a bad catalyst to keep itself together for longer, and new developments in small molecule cancer treatments. But first, check out the Chem Lit Feature's newest addition: CLFPic!
This volume's CLFPic comes to us from Aaron Goodman, who graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in chemistry and went on to graduate school at MIT. His photo, taken through a microscope eyepiece, shows flakes of molybdenum disulfide, MoS2. MoS2 can be separated into sheets that are only a few atomic layers thick, much in the same way that graphite can be made into graphene. The blue flake in the picture is only 3 atomic layers! Such thin MoS2, which is a semiconducting material, could find applications in miniaturized electronics or light-emitting diodes.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Scientists Surveying Science Blog Readers - For Science!

Do you have a few minutes for some questions?

Dr. Paige Jarreau and Dr. Lance Porter of Louisiana State University want to know who reads science blogs and why - and for that, they need your help.

Tree Town Chemistry has been randomly selected to participate in the #SciBlogReaders survey. If you've enjoyed this blog (or if you read it anyway through some sort of self-inflicted punishment), please take a few minutes to go through this survey. You'll be helping the research team and blog writers everywhere to understand who our audience is so that we can create even better content for you.

But wait! There's more!

For completing the survey, you'll be entered into a drawing to receive one of two $50.00 Amazon Gift Cards. Two Tree Town Chemistry readers are guaranteed to win, so based on our readership your odds are pretty high (cough). There are other cool prizes that are being given out randomly as well, including some science t-shirts and artwork. Everyone who fills out the survey gets a free science art prize from Paige.

Please take 10-15 minutes to complete the #SciBlogReaders survey! Thank you!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Cosmic Chemistry: Seasonal salt-water flows could sustain human life on Mars via perchlorate decomposition

My dream job is to work for NASA as a research scientist.  In fact, I (kind of) lived this dream the summer before my senior year of college, where I was an intern at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) in Cleveland, Ohio in the photovoltaics lab.  Of all the things I learned while I was there, one that stuck out, albeit trivial, was that they absolutely love making acronyms.  In fact, I listened to one presentation where there were more acronyms on the slides than actual words or pictures.  Point being, get ready for the most acronym-filled blog post of Tree Town Chemistry’s existence.

NASA released in a press conference on Monday, September 28th, 2015 that flowing liquid salt water has been discovered on the surface of Mars.  This discovery explains the observation of large, seasonal flows that appear as lines on the slopes of many Martian craters, called Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL), which can be up to hundreds of meters long and up to ~5 meters wide. The discovery of these RSL - and the chemistry behind them - has prompted NASA to further detail some exciting plans of sending astronauts to Mars.

Friday, October 2, 2015

ICYMS 4: Mirkin and Schatz's Gold Nanoparticle Lattices Mess with Light in New Ways

What do stained glass windows, single molecule sensing, and light-emitting diodes have in common?

Right now, not much. But research from the laboratories of Northwestern University chemists Dr. George Schatz and Dr. Chad Mirkin are trying to change that. Together, they have published several papers on a new breed of nanoparticle superlattices - materials that are turning out to do unique tricks with light. Their research contributes to the field of plasmonics, which encompasses optical phenomena that give stained glass windows their color and could find application in futuristic devices.