A computational approach to the holy grail of biochemistry: structure determination As a child, armed with a glue stick and a pair of scissors, I would spend hours cutting bright coloured paper into long uniform strips. The ends of each rectangle were secured tightly with a dollop of glue to form rings. Slowly, one ring … Continue reading Protein Structure Prediction
Symmetry is a concept introduced at school and never really revisited. Its importance isn’t grasped and often remains in the form of trivial ‘Spot the Difference’ puzzles on the bottom page of a newspaper. Even on the smallest scale of life, symmetry is relevant. It is a tool that can be used to differentiate and … Continue reading Can You Spot the Difference?
Preserving biodiversity on the path towards sustainable energy Biodiversity is at the heart of how we source our energy. Whether it be fossil fuels or renewables, energy sourcing comes with altering our natural ecosystems and results in a reduction in biodiversity. In the plausible scenario where future energy schemes not only include nuclear but give … Continue reading A Greener Approach to Uranium Mining
Cultured meat to help solve climate change Public advice on how to decrease our environmental impact has changed over the years. We know that taking shorter showers or turning off the lights when we leave a room isn’t enough. There’s increasing concern over foodborne viruses, environmental impact and factory farming. I don’t want to use … Continue reading Bringing Lab-Grown Meat to the Table
Plants transform sunlight into energy and this process – photosynthesis – is what inspired solar panels. We have created a man-made system to derive energy from sunlight, just like plants. Furthermore, solar energy is seen as one of the greenest and more renewable energy sources. Sunlight is captured by solar panels to generate energy. When … Continue reading Hydrogen Production from Solar Panels
Large quantities of greenhouse gas ‘HFC’ released by fridges and air-conditioners every year. Altering the chemical structure of these substances could cut their atmospheric lifetime by decades. Arrival of Hydrofluorocarbons Refrigeration and air-conditioning are the principal emitters of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). They were first manufactured in the 1990s, as substitutes for ozone depleting products, such as … Continue reading Cooling Appliances Responsible for Global Warming
When talking about environmental issues, climate change often dominates the conversation. A recent book published by Guillaume Sainteny called Le climat qui cache la forêt (‘The Climate which Hides the Forest’) presents some of the flaws of current environmental politics. Sainteny writes of a hierarchy within the debate, using three examples (biodiversity, air pollution and … Continue reading Climate Change Takes Centre Stage
Polymers acting as molecular sieves seeing an increasing number of applications Membrane Technology To survive, living cells need a membrane. This selective barrier filters what enters and leaves the cell. Membrane technology mimics this process with a material separating two phases. A phase could be a mixture of different molecules, one of which we wish … Continue reading Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIMs) for Textile Polluters
University of Manchester develops new method for testing complex mixtures Sample Analysis Analysing complex mixtures efficiently is a recurring problem within the scientific community. No one test gives a detailed assessment about a given material. Each test is a different indicator towards its chemical structure or physical properties. Often materials are too complex to analyse … Continue reading SCALPEL: Dissecting Spectra
The core material used in the cladding for Grenfell Tower was not only highly flammable but also toxic. This month marks three years since Grenfell Tower was engulfed in flames, killing 72 people. In the early hours of June 14th, 2017, a fire started in a kitchen on the fourth floor. Firefighters quickly put out … Continue reading Grenfell Tower: Polyethylene a Deadly Contributor
Whether it be pharmaceutical companies, oil refineries or on a municipal level, waste management must be regulated. A small town in Niagara Falls, named Love Canal, went through one of the worst environmental disasters in the United States. Before this residential town emerged, ran a canal. From the 1920’s, the canal was used as a … Continue reading Toxic Waste Management: Love Canal Disaster
Research at the University of Manchester Reveals Super Smeller to Diagnose Parkinson’s Disease A fundamental breakthrough in the research on Parkinson’s disease (PD), could enable patients to take a non-invasive test allowing for early diagnosis. Smells are often linked to memories, but what if they could be used to detect diseases? What if one didn’t … Continue reading Parkinson’s Right Under Your Nose
Typically, when people think of the word ‘natural’, a string of positive words follow. Something that is natural is considered healthier and greener. What if this wasn’t always the case? What if something from a forest could be more environmentally damaging than if it came straight off the conveyor belt of a factory? Instinctively, one … Continue reading Natural vs Synthetic Rubber: Could manufacturing plants be a greener solution?
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