Current Building Blocks News and Events

Current Building Blocks News and Events, Building Blocks News Articles.
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Climate-friendly foam building insulation may do more harm than good
The use of the polymeric flame retardant PolyFR in 'eco-friendly' foam plastic building insulation may be harmful to human health and the environment, according to a new commentary in Environmental Science & Technology. The authors' analysis identifies several points during the lifecycle of foam insulation that may expose workers, communities, and ecosystems to PolyFR and its potentially toxic breakdown products. (2021-02-23)

The Milky Way may be swarming with planets with oceans and continents like here on Earth
According to a new study from the University of Copenhagen, Earth, Venus and Mars were created from small dust particles containing ice and carbon. The discovery opens up the possibility that the Milky Way may be filled with aquatic planets. (2021-02-22)

Locked MOFs are the key to high porosity
Sophisticated geometry design gives rise to a new form of crystalline material. (2021-02-18)

More sustainable recycling of plastics
Plastics belong to the most widely used materials, and they are vital components of all modern technologies. So far, it has been possible to recycle these valuable materials only to a limited extent. In order to offer novel solutions, chemists of Professor Stefan Mecking´s group at the University of Konstanz developed a more sustainable method for chemically recycling polyethylene-like plastics. The researchers use ''breaking-points'' on a molecular level to disassemble the plastic back to its molecular components. (2021-02-17)

Targeting Nsp1 protein could be a pathway for COVID-19 therapy
A study that identifies how a coronavirus protein called Nsp1 blocks the activity of genes that promote viral replication provides hope for new COVID-19 treatments. (2021-02-16)

Membrane building blocks play decisive role in controlling cell growth
Lipids are the building blocks of a cell's envelope - the cell membrane. In addition to their structural function, some lipids also play a regulatory role and decisively influence cell growth. This has been investigated in a new study by scientists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU). The impact of the lipids depends on how they are distributed over the plasma membrane. The study was published in 'The Plant Cell'. (2021-02-15)

A new way of forming planets
Scientists of the Universities of Zurich and Cambridge, associated with the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS, suggest a new explanation for the abundance in intermediate-mass exoplanets - a long-standing puzzle of Astronomy. (2021-02-11)

3D-printed spectrometer on a 100 x100 μm² footprint
The miniaturisation of spectroscopic measurement devices opens novel information channels in medical science or consumer electronics. Scientists of the University of Stuttgart, Germany, developed a 3D-printed miniature spectrometer with a volume of 100 × 100 × 300 μm³ and a spectral resolution of up to 10 nm in the visible range. This spectrometer can be manufactured directly onto camera sensors, and a parallel arrangement allows for quick (''snapshot'') and low profile, highly customizable hyperspectral cameras. (2021-02-08)

Sensor and detoxifier in one
Ozone is a problematic air pollutant that causes serious health problems. A newly developed material not only quickly and selectively indicates the presence of ozone, but also simultaneously renders the gas harmless. As reported by Chinese researchers in Angewandte Chemie, the porous '2-in-one systems' also function reliably in very humid air. (2021-02-05)

At the core of the Integrator complex
A new paper from the Galej group at EMBL Grenoble describes the structure of key parts of the Integrator complex. This complex, which is composed of multiple protein subunits, is involved in global regulation of the process of transcription, during which the cell's DNA is used as a template to make instructions in the form of RNA. Knowing the structure of the Integrator complex will help scientists to better understand the interactions between its subunits and how it is involved in gene expression. (2021-02-05)

Molecule from nature provides fully recyclable polymers
Plastics are among the most successful materials of modern times. However, they also create a huge waste problem. Scientists from the University of Groningen and the East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST) in Shanghai produced different polymers from lipoic acid, a natural molecule. These polymers are easily depolymerized under mild conditions. Some 87 percent of the monomers can be recovered in their pure form and re-used to make new polymers of virgin quality. (2021-02-04)

Cancer research expands body's own immune system to kill tumors
Scientists are hoping advances in cancer research could lead to a day when a patient's own immune system could be used to fight and destroy a wide range of tumors. Cancer immunotherapy has some remarkable successes, but its effectiveness has been limited to a relatively small handful of cancers. In APL Bioengineering, researchers describe how advances in engineering models of tumors can greatly expand cancer immunotherapy's effectiveness to a wider range of cancers. (2021-02-02)

Easily assembled gold nanoparticle scaffolding serves as molecular probe
The development of pharmaceutical treatments is difficult -- clinicians and researchers know a certain drug can regulate particular functions, but they might not know how it actually works. Researchers at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) have developed a new, streamlined method to better understand the molecular mechanisms underpinning these interactions. (2021-02-01)

Well connected through amides
Linking molecular components through amide bonds is one of the most important reactions in research and the chemical industry. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, scientists have now introduced a new type of reaction for making amide bonds. Called an ASHA ligation, this reaction is fast, efficient, works under mild aqueous conditions, and is broadly applicable. (2021-01-27)

How does incident solar radiation affect urban canyons?
Toyohashi University of Technology proposed a numerical bead model to predict the upward-to-downward reflection ratio of glass bead retro-reflective (RR) material purposed for urban heat island (UHI) mitigation and reducing energy consumption. These results will contribute to existing research on the absorption or reflection of solar radiation to improve urban thermal and lighting conditions, and to reduce building energy consumption. (2021-01-25)

Cargo delivery by polymers
Degradable, bio-based polymers offer options for chemical recycling, and they can be a tool to store and release useful molecules. Scientists have developed a class of sugar-based polymers that are degradable through acid hydrolysis. The researchers also integrated ''cargo'' molecules in the polymer, which are designed to split off after polymer degradation. Degradable, cargo-bearing polymers are important for medical and sensor applications, says the study published in the journal Angewandte Chemie. (2021-01-22)

New technique builds super-hard metals from nanoparticles
Brown University researchers have shown a way to make bulk metals by smashing tiny metal nanoparticles together, which allows for customized grain structures and improved mechanical and other properties. (2021-01-22)

Beetles reveal how to hide the body
A corpse is a home to the burying beetle, and UConn researchers are learning how this specialist critter keeps its home free of unwanted visitors. (2021-01-20)

Innovations through hair-thin optical fibres
Scientists at the University of Bonn have built hair-thin optical fibre filters in a very simple way. They are not only extremely compact and stable, but also colour-tunable. This means they can be used in quantum technology and as sensors for temperature or for detecting atmospheric gases. The results have been published in the journal ''Optics Express''. (2021-01-20)

Why remdesivir does not fully stop the coronavirus
Their results explain why the drug has a rather weak effect (2021-01-18)

Target discovered that halts osteoarthritis-type knee cartilage degeneration
In a mouse study, researchers used nanotechnology and previous knowledge of a protein pathway to significantly reduce knee cartilage degeneration and pain (2021-01-15)

Physical virology shows the dynamics of virus reproduction
The reproductive cycle of viruses requires self-assembly, maturation of virus particles and, after infection, the release of genetic material into a host cell. New physics-based technologies allow scientists to study the dynamics of this cycle and may eventually lead to new treatments. (2021-01-14)

COVID-19: Science scepticism may be reinforced by UK rush to approve vaccines
Former director of public health Professor John Ashton has said that scientific scepticism may be reinforced by the UK's rush to approve COVID vaccines for public use and the apparent political desire to be the first out of the blocks in contrast to our European neighbours. (2021-01-14)

Scientists find antibody that blocks dengue virus
The research team used the Advanced Photon Source to confirm an effective antibody that prevents the dengue virus from infecting cells in mice, and may lead to treatments for this and similar diseases. (2021-01-13)

Johns Hopkins scientist develops method to find toxic chemicals in drinking water
Most consumers of drinking water in the United States know that chemicals are used in the treatment processes to ensure the water is safe to drink. But they might not know that the use of some of these chemicals, such as chlorine, can also lead to the formation of unregulated toxic byproducts. (2021-01-12)

Electrically switchable qubit can tune between storage and fast calculation modes
To perform calculations, quantum computers need qubits to act as elementary building blocks that process and store information. Now, physicists have produced a new type of qubit that can be switched from a stable idle mode to a fast calculation mode. The concept would also allow a large number of qubits to be combined into a powerful quantum computer, as researchers from the University of Basel and TU Eindhoven have reported in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. (2021-01-11)

Machine learning accelerates discovery of materials for use in industrial processes
Research led by scientists at the University of Toronto and Northwestern University employs machine learning to craft the best building blocks in the assembly of reticular framework materials for use in a targeted application. The findings demonstrate that the use of artificial intelligence approaches can help in proposing novel materials for diverse applications such as clean energy, sensoring and biomedicine, by accelerating the design cycle for materials. (2021-01-11)

Designer protein patches boost cell signaling
A new class of protein material that interacts with living cells without being absorbed by them can influence cell signaling, a new study shows. The material does this by binding and sequestering cell surface receptors. The discovery could have far-reaching implications for stem cell research and enable the development of new materials designed to modulate the behavior of living systems. (2021-01-06)

Researcher cracks the hidden strengthening mechanism in biological ceramics
In addition to adding strength, this design allows the structure to use its crack patterns to minimize damage into the inner shell. (2021-01-06)

Physicists observe competition between magnetic orders
Two-dimensional materials, consisting of a single layer of atoms, have been booming in research for years. They possess novel properties that can only be explained with the help of the laws of quantum mechanics. Researchers have now used ultracold atoms to gain new insights into previously unknown quantum phenomena. They found out that the magnetic orders between two coupled thin films of atoms compete with each other. The study has been published in Nature. (2021-01-06)

Shiga toxin's not supposed to kill you
E. coli food poisoning is one of the worst food poisonings, causing bloody diarrhea and kidney damage. But all the carnage might be just an unintended side effect, report researchers from UConn Health. Their findings might lead to more effective treatments for this potentially deadly disease. (2021-01-06)

Neither liquid nor solid
Discovery of liquid glass sheds light on the old scientific problem of the glass transition: An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Konstanz has uncovered a new state of matter, liquid glass, with previously unknown structural elements - new insights into the nature of glass and its transitions. (2021-01-05)

Imaging of ballistic wounds, bullet composition and implications for MRI safety
According to an article in ARRS' American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR), because patients with ballistic embedded fragments are frequently denied MRI (due to indeterminate bullet composition sans shell casings), radiography and CT can be used to identify nonferromagnetic projectiles that are safe for MRI. (2020-12-29)

Discovery boosts theory that life on Earth arose from RNA-DNA mix
Chemists at Scripps Research have made a discovery that supports a surprising new view of how life originated on our planet. In a study published in the chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie, they demonstrated that a simple compound called diamidophosphate (DAP), which was plausibly present on Earth before life arose, could have chemically knitted together tiny DNA building blocks called deoxynucleosides into strands of primordial DNA. (2020-12-27)

Mapping out a transient atom
A new experiment provides better understanding of fundamental photo-induced processes with special importance for photocatalysis, photosynthesis and radiation damage (2020-12-22)

Tiny quantum computer solves real optimisation problem
Quantum computers have already managed to surpass ordinary computers in solving certain tasks - unfortunately, totally useless ones. The next milestone is to get them to do useful things. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have now shown that they can solve a small part of a real logistics problem with their small, but well-functioning quantum computer. (2020-12-17)

Novel principle for cancer treatment shows promising effect
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden report in the journal Nature that they have developed novel first-in-class inhibitors that compromise mitochondrial function in cancer cells. Treatment with the inhibitors stopped cancer cells from proliferating and reduced tumor growth in mice, without significantly affecting healthy cells. (2020-12-16)

RNA basic building block produced biocatalytically for the first time
Researchers from TU Graz and acib succeed in the first enzyme-driven biocatalytic synthesis of nucleic acid building blocks. This facilitates the development of antiviral agents and RNA-based therapeutics. (2020-12-15)

Device mimics life's first steps in outer space
A device developed by scientists at the CY Cergy Paris University and Paris Observatory promises insight into how the building blocks of life form in outer space. In Review of Scientific Instruments, the scientists detail how VENUS -- an acronym of the French phrase ''Vers de Nouvelles Syntheses,'' which means ''toward new syntheses'' -- mimics how molecules come together in the freezing darkness of interstellar space. (2020-12-15)

Scientists discover compounds that could have helped to start life on Earth
Scientists from St Petersburg University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have discovered natural cyclophosphates. These are possible precursors of phosphorus-containing molecules that are believed to have contributed to the emergence of primordial life on Earth. Cyclophosphates could have been formed billions of years ago in regions of elevated geothermal activity or during meteorite bombardments of the Earth. (2020-12-14)

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