Chemistry Nobel laureate Robert Curl dies at 88

Robert ‘Bob’ Curl, a physical chemist who was jointly awarded a Nobel prize in 1996, has died aged 88. Curl was a member of the team that discovered fullerenes in 1985. Curl, working alongside Harry Kroto, Richard Smalley and graduate students James Heath, Yuan Liu and Sean O’Brien, became the first to synthesise and identify […]

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Record-breaking rotaxane prepared on polymer bead

A formal 1014 rotaxane has been synthesised by decorating a polymer bead with paramagnetic complexes using click chemistry. Rotaxanes are an unusual type of molecular architecture in which a macrocycle is threaded and trapped on a dumbbell-shaped molecule to create an interlocked complex. The macrocycle unit can freely rotate around the central axle, enabling the […]

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Novartis cutting up to 8000 jobs

A major restructure at Novartis, which began in April, could see up to 8000 jobs cut, impacting around 7% of its staff globally, including up to 1400 in Switzerland. The company revealed at the end of June that consultations with employees were underway, and the changes are planned to take place over the next few […]

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US reinstates Superfund taxes to clean up 1300 contaminated sites

The US government is reviving two long-expired excise taxes on 42 chemicals, and substances made from them. The expected $14.4 billion (£12 billion) in revenue will help fund decontamination of more than 1300 polluted sites in the US. The ‘Superfund’ taxes, which come into effect on 1 July, are poised to revitalise cleanup efforts that […]

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Perfectly planar stable silicon clusters with six contacts predicted

The first planar hexacoordinate silicon clusters found computationally as true global minimum forms have been reported by researchers in China, Germany and Mexico.1 The SiSb3M3+ (M = Ca, Sr, Ba) clusters, which are predicted to be both thermodynamically and kinetically stable, also remain planar when they are protected with N-heterocyclic carbene and benzene ligands that […]

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Highly stable aerogel could protect firefighters and spacecraft from extreme heat

A new ceramic aerogel comprising nanocrystals embedded in an amorphous matrix shows far better thermal insulation than similar materials, as well as better mechanical and thermal stability under extreme conditions. These properties could allow the material to find use in heat-resistant clothing for firefighters where other aerogels have struggled to cope with the demanding conditions […]

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Graphene-like structure created from a fullerene

A single-layer carbon allotrope has been prepared from a fullerene, the first time that a two-dimensional material has been constructed from nanostructures rather than atoms. 2D materials like graphene possess unique electronic and optical properties which arise from their repeating conjugated-carbon structure. This bonding pattern can be altered to tune physical characteristics such as the […]

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Water works as a monomer in polymer synthesis

Researchers in Austria, Norway and Slovenia have devised a strategy for synthesising polyethersulfone polymers using water as a monomer. The polymers can be used as polyelectrolytes in lithium-ion batteries in a step towards more sustainable devices. ‘Water, in general, plays different roles in synthetic [polymer] chemistry,’ says Christian Slugovc at the Graz University of Technology, […]

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European commission proposal seeks to cut EU pesticide use in half by 2030

The European commission has proposed ambitious targets to limit pesticide use. It seeks to halve the use of synthetic pesticides in the EU by 2030, handing member states responsibility for introducing strategies and reduction targets. Pesticides would be banned in sensitive areas, such as parks, playgrounds, sports grounds and ecologically sensitive sites. The rules aim […]

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