Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's Party Time

So, do you think this will encourage more kids to learn chemistry? I don't know but it is pretty cute.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Nature's Cowboys

Although I have never done research in the area, I have long been fascinated by molecular architecture that people create. Rotaxanes and catenanes have been targets for synthesis for many years. I often pondered whether this type of molecular assembly was purly synthetic or if there were natural analogs. All these years and I have never seen one from nature. Although, I should say, I have never searched for them. But I was quite astonished today when perusing the JACS ASAP articles to see this paper on the characterization of a lasso peptide. Finally confirmation that nature is indeed wiser than all of us and has probably already made anything that we can come up with. It's an interesting compound and makes me wonder why nature needs the lasso. Are there biological ranches with peptidic cowboys riding around? Does she use this to rope bacterial calves? I think I'll have to learn more.

Isolation and Structural Characterization of Capistruin, a Lasso Peptide Predicted from the Genome Sequence of Burkholderia thailandensis E264

Thomas A. Knappe, Uwe Linne, Séverine Zirah, Sylvie Rebuffat, Xiulan Xie, and Mohamed A. Marahiel

DOI: 10.1021/ja802966g

Monday, August 4, 2008

Better Living Through Chemistry

Greetings Blog Readers. I know there's at least two of you out there. Thanks for sticking with me. I've been away from civilization for 10 days. Yes, finally, a long-deserved vacation. I was in the wilderness. No cell phone signals. No internet. No pressing deadlines. Well, I have those more than ever now that I'm back, but for a while I could forget about them. It was absolutely wonderful. I realized when I was out there among the bears that every part of our lives is made possible because of chemistry. Sure, I can talk about how I couldn't get to such beautiful places without refined gasoline and automobiles, at least I couldn't get there quickly nor easily. I could talk about how I really needed my synthetic fabric tent to protect me from the elements. I could talk about how the old Coleman stove performed beautifully to provide me with bacon, eggs and the essential nutrient, coffee every morning using Coleman fuel. But I won't talk about those things. They are the obvious ways in which chemistry aids us in daily living. No, I want to talk about how chemistry makes our world absolutely fascinatingly beautiful. From billion year old granite cliffs to multicolored bacteria that live in scalding hot sulfur infused water. None of this would be possible without chemistry. And it is the sheer beauty of nature's chemistry that soothes the soul and makes me realize why I am really here on this planet. To make lives better. We can do that through chemistry.

Ok, I really am rambling. I had forgotten what a great vacation can do for one's perspective. Time to get back to the grindstone. Look for some organic chemistry soon!