CLIPS

My writing spans the physical sciences: from astrophysics and planetary sciences, through chemistry and materials, to Earth and environmental science. I have broken exclusives from major conferences; watched in awe as grains from a comet’s tail were studied for the very first time; and reported from the bleak heart of Chernobyl’s exclusion zone.

I’m equally at home writing news or features, and have a reputation for delivering crisp copy to tight deadlines. If you have a commission, or would like me to pitch, please contact me.

17 November 2017: Chemical & Engineering News
Titanium nitride probe records more neurons than ever before
Neuropixels device can simultaneously record signals from hundreds of nerve cells.
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23 October 2017: Chemistry World
Flare paths
The US government must stop trying to roll back regulations that curb gas flaring.
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11 October 2017: Nature
Explosive moments in the laboratory
Mark Peplow surveys a gorgeous gala of reactions in Theodore Gray’s new book.
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4 October 2017: Nature
How fracking is upending the chemical industry
As shale-gas compounds flood the market, chemists are working out the best ways to convert them into the ingredients of modern life.
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15 September 2017: Chemistry World
Harvey’s hard lessons
The chemical fires triggered by extreme flooding in Houston demonstrate the need to improve risk management.
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22 August 2017: Chemistry World
Isotopes and islands
The UK has a solution to the potential shortage of technetium-99m – but that’s no reason to be complacent about leaving Euratom.
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19 July 2017: Chemistry World
The dark side of dichloromethane
Policymakers and industry must take steps to curb emissions of popular solvent.
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15 June 2017: ACS Central Science
A Conversation with Stosh Kozimor
Actinide chemistry reveals unusual bonds and offers a novel form of cancer treatment.
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A version of this story subsequently appeared in Chemical & Engineering News.

14 June 2017: Chemistry World
Plastic Surgery
Chemists have a key role to play in pushing back the tide of plastic waste.
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26 May 2017: Chemistry World
Peering into the future
Peer review must change if it is to serve the scientific community.
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16 May 2017: Scientific American
Print, Wipe, Rewrite
Nanoparticle coating allows paper to be reused more than 80 times.
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15 May 2017: ACS Central Science
A Conversation with Peter Hore
Radical pairs created in a protein could act as a magnetic compass in birds.
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9 May 2017: Nature Biotechnology
Astex shapes CDK4/6 inhibitor for approval
Fragment-based drug discovery gives Kisqali (ribociclib) a helping hand to market.
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26 April 2017: Nature
The next big hit in molecule Hollywood
Superfast imaging techniques are giving researchers their best views yet of what happens in the atomic world.
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14 April 2017: ACS Central Science
A Conversation with Graham Hutchings
Gold might seem like an unlikely catalyst, but it’s poised to slash mercury pollution from plastics manufacturing.
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31 March 2017: Science
Enzymes offer waste-to-energy solution
Facility digests unsorted garbage to produce green power but could threaten recycling.
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21 March 2017: Chemistry World
How to resist threats to science
Broader forms of activism are needed to protect evidence-based policy.
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7 March 2017: Chemical & Engineering News
Fractious fractions teased from crude oil
Separation method corrals key compounds to improve petrochemical processing and pollution assessment.
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24 February 2017: Chemistry World
Going soft
Undergraduate chemists need to learn soft skills like teamwork and communication to boost their career prospects.
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24 January 2017: Chemistry World
One small step …
Disagreements over the definition of a chemical step underlie much broader questions.
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22 January 2017: Scientific American
Blind Medicine
Millions of patients depend on a rare radioactive form of one element to scan them for disease. But the old nuclear reactors that provide it are shutting down.
READ MORE (subscription required)

22 December 2016: Chemistry World
The art of the nuclear deal
Donald Trump must restart nuclear cooperation with Russia or risk a return to the cold war.
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16 December 2016: ACS Central Science
Rebooting the Molecular Computer
The idea of using single molecules as key components in computers has been around for more than 40 years. What progress is it making?
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A version of this story subsequently appeared in Chemical & Engineering News.

8 December 2016: Nature
Graphene-spiked Silly Putty picks up human pulse
‘G-putty’ is so sensitive that it can track even the steps of a small spider.
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16 November 2016: Nature Index
Closing the channel of opportunity
Uncertainty surrounding Britain’s future in EU research could be as damaging to science as the prospect of funding cuts once it leaves the union.
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10 November 2016: Chemistry World
Trump, unleashed
The best hope for the world is that the president-elect was lying about his policies.
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7 October 2016: Chemistry World
More than just toys
This year’s Nobel prize could shift molecular machines into high gear.
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19 September 2016: Chemistry World
The innovation game
The latest G20 summit unveiled a blueprint showing world leaders take science seriously.
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18 August 2016: Chemistry World
Exoplanets are our final frontier
Chemists will be integral to the hunt for biosignatures on distant worlds.
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17 August 2016: Nature
Fantastic Plastics
Polymers have infiltrated almost every aspect of modern life. Now they are being stretched to their limits.
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16 August 2016: ACS Central Science
The Record Breakers
Researchers who push molecules to the extremes are not just seeking superlatives—they are blazing a trail into uncharted chemical territory.
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7 July 2016: Chemistry World
Beyond Brexit
UK researchers must argue loudly and clearly for a settlement that safeguards science.
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29 June 2016: Chemistry World
Slippery customers
The troubled history of perfluorinated chemicals shows why the overhaul of US chemicals regulation is so welcome.
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16 June 2016: Chemical & Engineering News
Perovskite phosphor boosts visible light communication
Flashy nanocrystals help LEDs send data in the blink of an eye.
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7 June 2016: Chemistry World
Power to the people
Tesla’s Gigafactory is set to be a milestone for electric vehicles.
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26 May 2016: Chemical & Engineering News
Parmesan test can detect cheesy imposters
Real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese does not contain cyclopropane fatty acids, found in the milk of cows fed fermented fodder.
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16 May 2016: Nature
Mirror-image enzyme copies looking-glass DNA
Synthetic polymerase is a small step along the way to mirrored life forms.
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13 May 2016: ACS Central Science
A Conversation with Makoto Fujita
His “crystalline sponge” is helping researchers figure out the architecture of organic molecules.
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11 May 2016: Nature
A chemist’s contradictions
A review of ‘The Experimental Self: Humphry Davy and the Making of a Man of Science’.
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6 May 2016: Nature Biotechnology
Citizen science lures gamers into Sweden’s Human Protein Atlas
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3 May 2016: Nature
UK graphene inquiry reveals commercial struggles
Concerns about the University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute reflect a broader decline in industrial research and development.
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26 April 2016: Chemistry World
Shadow of Chernobyl
Taking the long view on the cost of nuclear power.
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13 April 2016: The BMJ
The 100 000 Genomes Project
Part research project, part commercial stimulus, this enormous sequencing programme could usher genomic medicine into mainstream use.
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7 April 2016: Chemistry World
Family friendly science
The perception that young scientists need to sacrifice family life for a career in research must change.
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28 March 2016: Chemical & Engineering News
Stale beer? There’s an app for that
Brewers could use a smartphone to read a simple colorimetric test for beer freshness.
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24 March 2016: Spectrum
The Digital Underground
London’s Crossrail Is a $21 Billion Test of Virtual Modeling.
READ MORE
(appeared with related story ‘My Subterranean Tour of London’s Crossrail’)

4 March 2016: Nature
Liquid metal ‘balloons’ offer room-temperature soldering
Invention could help the microelectronics industry to connect circuit-board components without risking heat damage.
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26 February 2016: Chemical & Engineering News
Tiny enzyme tweak expands substrate palette
Changing just two amino acids transforms a picky aldolase into a cosmopolitan catalyst.
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23 February 2016: Nature
Synthetic malaria drug meets market resistance
First commercial deployment of synthetic biology for medicine has modest impact.
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10 February 2016: ACS Central Science
A Conversation with Christina Smolke
The synthetic biology pioneer discusses how she reprogrammed yeast to produce opioids.
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9 February 2016: Chemistry World
The toxic tale of the Flint water crisis
The city’s dilemma highlights serious regulatory failings but demonstrates the empowerment offered by citizen science.
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18 January 2016: Chemistry World
A farewell to chemical arms
As chemical weapons stockpiles dwindle, international efforts must guard against renewed arsenals.
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15 January 2016: ACS Central Science
A Conversation with Kristopher McNeill
The environmental chemist hopes to reduce our impact on the planet by planning ways to tackle pollution before it happens.
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4 January 2016: STAT
Crusading editor aims to shake things up in science
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22 December 2015: Chemistry World
How science can improve research collaboration
An evidence-based approach could help chemists found better investigative partnerships.
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17 December 2015: Nature
Borophene joins 2D materials club
Graphene inspires atom-thin acolyte made from pure boron.
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19 November 2015: Chemistry World
O Canada…
Canada’s new prime minister could make the nation a model of evidence-based policymaking.
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13 November 2015: ACS Central Science
A Conversation with Deji Akinwande
The nanotechnology researcher discusses recent achievements in making electronics out of atom-thin materials.
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6 November 2015: Nature Biotechnology
Industrial biotechs turn greenhouse gas into feedstock opportunity
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22 October 2015: Chemistry World
The carbon capture challenge
Economics holds the key to solving climate change.
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30 September 2015: Chemical & Engineering News
Porphyrins Run Rings Around Each Other
Supramolecular Chemistry: Concentric nanorings mimic photosynthetic complexes.
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18 September 2015: Chemistry World
After Tianjin
China’s appalling chemical safety record demands a global response.
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15 September 2015: Technologist
Life after Skype
Estonian programmer Jaan Tallinn helped create the file-sharing application Kazaa and then the famous video-call system. Now he wants to save the world.
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9 September 2015: ACS Central Science
A Conversation with John Maier
The spectroscopist discusses the search for buckyballs in deep space.
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2 September 2015: Nature
The tiniest Lego
Inspired by biology, chemists have created a cornucopia of molecular parts that act as switches, motors and ratchets. Now it is time to do something useful with them.
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27 August 2015: Chemistry World
Credit where credit’s due
Disputes over authorship can be a source of conflict in the lab. The solution is greater transparency
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13 August 2015: Nautilus
The Reinvention of Black
As the means of creating the color black have changed, so have the subjects it represents
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28 July 2015: Chemistry World
Down to business
To make the economic case for research, scientists need to understand how commercialisation works, says Mark Peplow
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13 July 2015: Chemical & Engineering News
Copper Clusters Convert Carbon Dioxide To Methanol
Catalysis: Four-atom copper fragments speed up greenhouse gas conversion without piling on the pressure
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10 July 2015: ACS Central Science
A Conversation with Henry Snaith
The Oxford physicist is racing to bring perovskite solar cells to market
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3 July 2015: Chemical & Engineering News
Peppermint Bombs Blast Bacterial Biofilms
Silica nanoparticles encapsulate peppermint oil droplets to break through microbial defenses
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25 June 2015: Chemistry World
Europe’s science advice, redux
Will a new expert panel be any more effective than a chief science adviser?
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17 June 2015: Nature
Q&A: Maestros of graphene
Composer Sara Lowes has teamed up with materials scientist Cinzia Casiraghi at the University of Manchester, UK. The result, Lowes’ six-part Graphene Suite, premieres next week at the Graphene Week 2015 conference in Manchester, part of the European Union’s decade-long, €1-billion (US$1.1-billion) Graphene Flagship research programme. Lowes and Casiraghi talk crotchets, carbon chemistry and the commonalities between women in science and women in music.
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17 June 2015: Nature
Graphene booms in factories but lacks a killer app
Although the wonder material is being made in record volume, commercial success is elusive.
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1 June 2015: Chemistry World
Getting to know you
The public does not fear chemists, says Mark Peplow, it simply doesn’t know about them. Chemists must respond with better communication.
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21 May 2015: The Pharmaceutical Journal
Modified yeasts could be used to produce alkaloid drugs
Fermentation process could be used to produce thousands of plant-based pharmaceuticals, but raises the spectre of illicit drug production.
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15 May 2015: The Economist
Crystal clear?
Perovskites may give silicon solar cells a run for their money.
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27 April 2015: Chemistry World
An unfortunate oversight
The US Toxic Substances Control Act is in dire need of reform. That demands compromises.
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22 April 2015: Nature
A century of chemical warfare: nations reflect on grim anniversary
International community renews vows to eliminate stockpiles of chemical weapons as evidence grows of chlorine use in Syria.
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8 April 2015: Nature
The hole story
Swiss-cheese-like materials called metal–organic frameworks have long promised to improve gas storage, separation and catalysis. Now they are coming of age.
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30 March 2015: Technologist
Q+A: Europe’s cyberdefence
From organised crime to technical failures, Europe’s cyber-defender sees no shortage of challenges.
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26 March 2015: Chemistry World
Thinking ahead
PhD courses must prepare students for a life after research.
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25 March 2015: Nature
Graphene sandwich makes new form of ice
Unusual square structure suggests how flattened water can zip through tight channels.
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23 March 2015: The Pharmaceutical Journal
Energy restriction could tackle drug-resistant epilepsy
Shutting down a metabolic pathway that fuels misfiring neurons can suppress seizures in mice, find researchers who predict a fresh approach to developing antiepileptic drugs.
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18 March 2015: Nature
Structural biologist named next president of Royal Society
Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan will replace Paul Nurse in December.
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17 March 2015: Scientific American
Nanotech Bandages Detect Health Trouble and Deliver Medicine
New materials will be able to alert doctors to problems and deliver fine-tuned drugs.
READ MORE (subscription required)

28 February 2015: Spectrum
Eben Upton: The Raspberry Pi Pioneer
He just wanted to help some kids learn to code. Five million units later, his $35 computer has sparked a revolution.
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27 February 2015: Chemistry World
The enzyme hunters
Danish company Novozymes is scouring the world for enzymes that make industrial processes more sustainable.
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20 February 2015: Chemistry World
A large life, fully lived
Carl Djerassi leaves many legacies besides the contraceptive pill, says Mark Peplow.
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12 February 2015: Chemical & Engineering News
Polymers Brighten Hopes For Visible Light Communication
Two semiconducting organic polymers give off a pleasant white light that simultaneously carries data at high speed.
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2 February 2015: Nature
Graphene’s cousin silicene makes transistor debut
Creation of electronic device using atom-thin silicon sheets could boost work on other flat materials.
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2 February 2015: The Pharmaceutical Journal
Structure of translocator protein hints at role in disease
The detailed picture of translocator protein suggests that it may help to minimise the damage from reactive oxygen species.
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26 January 2015: The Pharmaceutical Journal
Human Protein Atlas reveals drug targets
Map shows where 17,000 proteins are found in the body, including those affected by every approved drug on the market.
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23 January 2015: Chemistry World
The big experiment
Plans to stop assessing school pupils’ practical work are the wrong solution to a genuine problem.
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9 January 2015: The Pharmaceutical Journal
FDA plays catch-up with Europe as it moves towards first biosimilar approval
The FDA has finally indicated it will approve the first biosimilar drug for the United States, years after Europe.
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8 January 2015: The Pharmaceutical Journal
Testosterone rollercoaster tackles prostate cancer
‘Bipolar androgen therapy’ helps patients with tumours that are resistant to conventional hormone treatments.
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7 January 2015: Spectrum
Perovskite Solar Cell Bests Bugbears, Reaches Record Efficiency
Perovskite photovoltaic success story continues apace.
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22 December 2014: Nature
Peer review — reviewed
Top medical journals filter out poor papers but often reject future citation champions.
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19 December 2014: Chemistry World
A bad business
Targets and assessments can boost productivity at universities – but only if they do not stifle creativity and alienate the academic workforce.
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19 December 2014: Chemical & Engineering News
Smartphone Microscope Sizes Up Single DNA Molecules
Medical Diagnostics: Lightweight phone attachment could lead to low-cost clinical tests in the developing world.
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18 December 2014: The Pharmaceutical Journal
Bacteria’s protein machinery may offer antibiotic target
Bacteria use a molecular ruler to ensure that the polysaccharides are the right length to offer protection.
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27 November 2014: Chemistry World
It’s time to speak up for Europe
Researchers in the UK benefit enormously from their country’s membership of the EU. They need to say so.
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19 November 2014: Scientific American
Centipede and Snake Venoms Form a Basis for New Pain Drugs
Venom molecules could provide alternatives to addictive opiate drugs.
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12 November 2014: Nature
Twisted light sends Mozart image over record distance
Vienna demonstration shows that the technology can boost data capacity of laser beams over long distances.
READ MORE

27 October 2014: Technologist
The audiophile
Without any technical expertise, four Danes have created award-winning upmarket headphones. Frederik Jørgensen, a co-founder of AIAIAI, describes the challenges of fusing design and audio engineering.
READ MORE

23 October 2014: Chemistry World
Two for the price of one
This year’s Nobel prizes show that chemistry truly is the central science.
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25 September 2014: Chemistry World
Good advice
Rather than axing his chief scientific adviser, the next president of the European commission should enhance the role.
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25 September 2014: Spectrum
Cheap Solar Cells Offer Hydrogen Hope
Perovskite photovoltaics pack enough punch to split water.
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24 September 2014: Chemistry World
Faster, cheaper, better
Microfluidics researchers are aiming to bring new diagnostic devices into mainstream medicine.
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23 September 2014: Chemical and Engineering News
Researchers Develop Combinatorial Chemistry For Molecular Electronics
Surface Chemistry: New strategy offers rapid route to making novel macromolecules on surfaces that could be used as wires or transistors in devices.
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22 September 2014: Nature
Liquid-metal batteries get boost from molten lead
Technology could provide large-scale storage for energy from erratic sources such as wind or solar.
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29 August 2014: Chemistry World
The trouble with boycotts
Cutting academic ties with a censured state can do more harm than good.
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28 August 2014: Nature
Social sciences suffer from severe publication bias
Survey finds that ‘null results’ rarely see the light of the day.
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6 August 2014: Nature
The robo-chemist
The race is on to build a machine that can synthesize any organic compound. It could transform chemistry.
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22 July 2014: Chemistry World
The creative stimulus
Innovative thinking may be difficult to turn on at will, but there are many ways to prepare for inspiration.
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8 July 2014: Spectrum
Printed Diode Is Fast Enough to Speak With Smartphones
Simple component could help to connect everyday objects to the Internet of Things.
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25 June May 2014: Spectrum
Perovskite Is the New Black in the Solar World
All the cool solar-cell scientists are working on perovskite photovoltaics.
READ MORE

25 June May 2014: Spectrum
Thin-film Solar Cells Freed From Toxic Processing
Cadmium chloride treatment replaced by benign magnesium chloride – a key ingredient in tofu.
READ MORE

23 June May 2014: Technologist
To frack or not to frack
Can America’s shale-gas revolution be repeated in Europe?
READ MORE

23 June May 2014: Technologist
Google’s shopping spree
The web giant is making a major push into artificial intelligence and robotics. What does this have to do with the search-engine business? And are robots on the battlefield the next step after driverless cars?
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23 June May 2014: Nature
EU science chief wants greater voice for experts
Anne Glover says that better access to evidence helps policy-makers to make informed choices.
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13 June May 2014: Chemistry World
A mind-blowing legacy
Alexander Shulgin’s research on psychoactive drugs shows how molecules can take on a life of their own once they leave the lab.
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22 May 2014: Nature
US physics strategy collides with budget
Particle physicists seek international collaboration as domestic funding faces uncertain future.
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15 May 2014: Chemistry World
It’s life, but not as we know it
A living cell that uses artificial bases in its DNA heralds a profound development for chemistry, says Mark Peplow.
READ MORE

5 May 2014: Spectrum
Two Labs Get the Lead Out of Promising Perovskite Solar Cells
Photovoltaic cells made from perovskite materials have rapidly become one of the hottest areas in energy research over the past few years. But most of these materials have included the toxic metal lead, raising concerns about their environmental impact.
READ MORE

30 April 2014: Pharmaceutical Journal
Special delivery
Drug formulations that use nanoparticles to target and dispense therapeutic agents are making an impact in the clinic, says Mark Peplow.
READ MORE

28 April 2014: Nature
Ethanol fuels ozone pollution
Shifts in use between petrol and ethanol in São Paulo’s cars creates unique atmospheric chemistry experiment.
READ MORE

25 April 2014: Chemistry World
Frack and blue
Shale gas will do little to improve the competitiveness of Europe’s chemical industry, argues Mark Peplow.
READ MORE

11 April 2014: Chemistry World
The sultan of synthesis
Phil Baran is spurring organic chemists to rethink how they make complex compounds, as Mark Peplow discovers.
READ MORE

8 April 2014: Science
London Mayor Seeks to Form Biomedical ‘Golden Triangle’
Stronger links sought with Oxford and Cambridge to draw in venture capital and big pharma.
READ MORE

7 April 2014: The Pharmaceutical Journal
Skin scan offers new insight into drug transport
A technique that can follow the progress of topical drugs as they penetrate skin could help to improve formulations, avoid drug wastage and reduce the risk of overdoses.
READ MORE

4 April 2014: The Pharmaceutical Journal
EU guideline aims to deliver child-friendly formulations
But will industry find requirements easy to swallow?
READ MORE

2 April 2014: The Pharmaceutical Journal
Bespoke polymers carry cancer drugs to the clinic
Designer polymers that boost the effectiveness of their pharmaceutical cargo are poised for wider clinical use in the next few years.
READ MORE

1 April 2014: The Pharmaceutical Journal
Pharmaceutical industry fights back against counterfeit medicines
Pharmaceutical companies are rolling out a variety of innovations to combat a rising tide of counterfeit medicines.
READ MORE

28 March 2014: Chemistry World
A war on smog
Chemistry can be a force for good in tackling China’s pollution, says Mark Peplow.
READ MORE

24 March 2014: Nature
Biodegradable battery could melt inside the body
Medical implants would monitor vital signs or dispense therapies before vanishing.
READ MORE

20 March 2014: Nautilus
Lights, Camera, Acrimony!
Physicists and engineers face off over how to make room for more data.
READ MORE

12 March 2014: Nature
Cellulosic ethanol fights for life
Pioneering biofuel producers hope that US government largesse will ease their way into a tough market.
READ MORE

7 March 2014: Chemistry World
The value of trust
Rebuilding a damaged relationship with researchers should be a top priority for the new boss of the UK’s physical sciences funding agency.
READ MORE

19 February 2014: Nature
Nuclear energy: Meltdowns, redux
Two accounts take contrasting lessons from nuclear accidents, finds Mark Peplow.
READ MORE

6 February 2014: Science
2013 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge
Science and the National Science Foundation present the winners of the 2013 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge.
READ MORE

February 2014: Reflex
Opening up government
States are pouring information about budgets and public services onto the web – but efforts to measure the true impact of open data are only just beginning.
READ MORE (pdf)

31 January 2014: Nature
Beijing smog contains witches’ brew of microbes
Metagenomic survey reveals traces of pathogens and allergens in the city’s air.
READ MORE

30 January 2014: Chemistry World
Virtually excellent
Assembling a dream team of international researchers could offer a useful snapshot of the UK’s strength in chemical engineering.
READ MORE

8 January 2014: Nature
Cheap battery stores energy for a rainy day
Quinone could make flow-battery technology competitive with current storage methods.
READ MORE

6 January 2014: Chemistry World
The morning after the night before
Replacing alcohol with a more benign drug sounds like a great idea, but it faces insurmountable hurdles.
READ MORE

18 December 2013: Nature
HENRY SNAITH: Sun worshipper (part of ‘Nature’s 10: The people who mattered this year’)
An energetic physicist pushes a promising solar-cell material into the spotlight.
READ MORE

12 December 2013: Cosmos (cover story)
Spare Parts
Can 3D printing solve the organ donor shortage?
READ MORE

21 November 2013: Chemistry World
A century of isotopes
Once appalled by the military use of his discoveries, Frederick Soddy would pleased by his legacy today, says Mark Peplow.
READ MORE

20 November 2013: Nature
Graphene: The quest for supercarbon
Graphene’s dazzling properties promise a technological revolution, but Europe may have to spend a billion euros to overcome some fundamental problems.
READ MORE

7 November 2013: Nature
No firm proof Arafat was poisoned
Investigation claims evidence of polonium poisoning in death of Palestinian leader but draws no certain conclusions.
READ MORE

24 October 2013: Chemistry World
The judgement of your peers
A bit of hindsight goes a long way in measuring scientific quality, says Mark Peplow.
READ MORE

26 September 2013: Nature
Hormone disruptors rise from the dead
Broken-down pollutants reform in the dark, casting doubt on environmental risk assessments.
READ MORE

19 September 2013: Nature
Missing methane gas mystifies Mars scientists
Curiosity rover fails to detect previously recorded chemical in Martian atmosphere.
READ MORE

15 September 2013: Nature
Graphene makes light work of optical signals
Ability to convert light to electrical signals efficiently holds potential for high-speed computing.
READ MORE

11 September 2013: Nature
Engineered bacterium hunts down pathogens
E. coli microbe seeks out and destroys invaders without harming helpful bacteria.
READ MORE

6 September 2013: Chemistry World
Misconduct: on the blog and in the open
When formal investigations of research misconduct are opaque and sluggish, it is inevitable that chemists will take to the blogs to debate suspicious papers, says Mark Peplow.
READ MORE

4 September 2013: Nature
Easy route to stable silver nanoparticles
Cheap synthesis offers edge over gold particles for biomedicine and solar cells.
READ MORE

4 September 2013: Chemistry World
Iron catalyst offers nitrogenase clues
Complex can reduce dinitrogen to ammonia in solution,and may help to explain how bacteria fix the gas.
READ MORE

4 September 2013: Chemistry World
Bursting with life
Synthetic biology is shifting into high gear. To truly thrive, it needs chemists, says Mark Peplow.
READ MORE

28 August 2013: Chemistry World
Chemistry’s grand challenges
What are the big problems for the next generation of chemists to work on? Mark Peplow takes up the gauntlet.
READ MORE (subscription required)

27 August 2013: Chemistry World
Self-assembling yarn shows its strength
Chinese chemists have pulled a thread as strong as polypropylene from a simple mix of monomers.
READ MORE

21 August 2013: Nature
Neolithic chefs spiced their food
Mineral grains from garlic-mustard seeds found in 6,000-year-old cooking pots.
READ MORE

20 August 2013: Proto
Technetium: Nuclear Medicine’s Crisis
With conventional sources of technetium already under pressure, a collision between politics, business and science is forcing a shake-up in the way this essential isotope is made, and in the path it takes to hospitals.
READ MORE

6 August 2013: New Scientist
Food vs Man
What you eat can exert surprising amounts of control over your mind and body, finds Mark Peplow.
READ MORE (subscription required)

15 July 2013: Funding Insight
Horizon scan: Synthetic biology blossoms
Funding opportunities abound as the UK positions itself to be a world leader in this nascent field, says science journalist Mark Peplow.
READ MORE (subscription required)

11 July 2013: Chemistry World
The nonclassical cation: a classic case of conflict
Mark Peplow celebrates decades of debate about the structure of the 2-norbornyl cation.
READ MORE

24 June 2013: Chemistry World
Fear and loathing
Facts are not enough to tackle chemophobia.
READ MORE

10 June 2013: Nature
Rock samples suggest meteor caused Tunguska blast
Grains from Siberian peat bog may be remnants of the biggest Earth impact in recorded history.
READ MORE

5 June 2013: Nature
Two techniques unite to provide molecular detail
Raman spectroscopy souped up with scanning tunnelling microscopy hones in on individual atoms and bonds.
READ MORE

4 June 2013: Nature
Chemical forensics confirm French wine had early roots
Ancient jars hold residue of 2,500-year-old vintage.
READ MORE

June 2013: Reflex
Reinventing the toilet
The winners of Bill Gates’ challenge must now prove that their concepts really work.
READ MORE (pdf)

June 2013: Reflex
Interview
Peter Dobson, academic director of the University of Oxford’s Begbroke Science Park, offers his tips on surviving one of the biggest challenges for a new business – the “valley of death.”
READ MORE (pdf)

30 May 2013: Chemistry World
Helium reserves under pressure
The fate of one of the world’s main sources of the gas hangs in the balance, and the global helium market faces a period of turbulence that could send prices soaring.
READ MORE

23 May 2013: Nature
The anatomy of sleep
The ebb and flow of neurotransmitters switches our brains between sleep and
wakefulness in carefully regulated cycles.
READ MORE

3 May 2013: Nature
US bill would keep helium store afloat
Russia and Qatar prepare to dominate market as gas price inflation puts researchers under pressure.
READ MORE

28 April 2013: Nature
Protein gets in on DNA’s origami act
Engineered bacteria make self-assembling tetrahedra.
READ MORE

May 2013: Chemistry World
A fixation with nitrogen
Despite decades of work to develop alternative ways to make ammonia, the Haber–Bosch process is here to stay, Mark Peplow discovers.
READ MORE (subscription required)

17 April 2013: Chemistry World
Sanofi launches malaria drug production
Erratic supplies of a critical chemical have long denied millions of people in the developing world the malaria therapies that could save their lives. Now an effort to create a more reliable source is finally bearing fruit.
READ MORE

11 April 2013: Chemistry World
Pesticide bee buzz needs more evidence
One thing’s for sure: the bees are not happy.
READ MORE

26 March 2013: Nature
Military history: Dinner at the Fission Chips
Mark Peplow assesses a chronicle of the blighted US and Soviet communities that fuelled the nuclear arms race.
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26 March 2013: Nature
Planck snaps infant Universe
(for the print edition of Nature).
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21 March 2013: Nature
Planck telescope peers into primordial Universe
Analysis of cosmic microwave background backs sudden ‘inflation’ after Big Bang.
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19 March 2013: Nature
Waterproof transistor takes cell’s electric pulse
Necklace of gold nanoparticles can sense single electrons.
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14 March 2013: Chemistry World
Hydrogen’s false economy
Proponents of hydrogen-powered vehicles have long argued that it is the future of motoring. But today, their dream is almost as distant as ever – and increasingly serves as a distraction in the quest to cut greenhouse gas emissions by replacing petrol.
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13 March 2013: Nature Outlook
The accelerator
Gold can speed up a multitude of chemical reactions — so why isn’t it widely used in industry?
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March 2013: Reflex
Patents: a broken system
They’re meant to encourage innovation, but nowadays the biggest winners
are not inventors but lawyers. Costly battles among hi-tech giants are sparking fresh calls for reform, but there are no quick fixes.
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28 February 2013: Nature
King’s ‘lionheart’ gets a forensic exam
Analysis of heart of Richard I shows that Christians practiced embalming.
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20 February 2013: The Economist
Light work
Silicon could replace the expensive, toxic quantum dots being used in lighting and display technologies.
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13 February 2013: Nature
Malaria drug made in yeast causes market ferment
Synthetic biology delivers combination therapies into an uncertain market.
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6 February 2013: Chemistry World
Royal Institution’s chemical heritage for sale
If the RI is to have a future, it cannot be separated from its past, says Mark Peplow.
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30 January 2013: Nature
History of science: Elements of romance
Mark Peplow explores chemistry’s golden age — and its brushes with Romanticism — at London’s Royal Society.
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23 January 2013: Nature
Polymer can turn swimming pool to jelly
Stiff supergel mimics cell scaffolding and melts when cooled.
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20 January 2013: Nature
Ceramics surprise with durable dryness
Hardy water-repelling lanthanide oxides tackle extreme engineering challenges.
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10 January 2013: Nature
Molecular robot mimics life’s protein-builder
Ribosome-inspired nanomachine links amino acids in pre-determined sequence
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[Selected items pre-2013]

28 March 2011: Nature
Chernobyl’s legacy
A journey to the heart of the exclusion zone, on the 25th anniversary of the nuclear accident.
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1 December 2007: Chemistry World
The gift of science
In praise of the chemistry set.
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13 February 2006: Nature
A comet’s tale
Scientists are just beginning to examine the pieces of a comet brought back to Earth by NASA’s Stardust mission. Mark Peplow tagged along to one lab to watch researchers examine their prize catch.
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