March 7, 2005 |
Robert Levis is a bandleader of sorts. His instruments are lasers. And his goal is to make molecules dance. At Temple University, Levis shoots high-energy, ultra-fast lasers to break apart molecules and sometimes recombine them into new forms not found in nature. Among the possibilities: new drugs, ultra-small computer circuitry, and movies that can actually show the movement of subatomic particles. Levis, 42, head of Temple's chemistry department, is one of a handful of scientists using finely tuned lasers to tweak the very building blocks of matter.
March 20, 2000 |
When it comes to manipulating things too tiny for human fingers, tweezers have long been the tool of choice. In recent years, in the quest to understand and control the world on smaller and smaller scales, scientists have scaled down their tweezers, too. The latest: "molecular tweezers," which can reach out and grab individual strands of DNA or other molecules. Some of these micro-tweezers are made of microscopic filaments that are moved by electric fields. Others use light.
April 2, 1986 |
We have the flu. I don't know if this particular strain has an official name, but if it does, it must be something like "Martian Death Flu. " You may have had it yourself. The main symptom is that you wish you had another setting on your electric blanket, up past HIGH, that said ELECTROCUTION. Another symptom is that you cease brushing your teeth, because (a) your teeth hurt, and (b) you lack the strength. Midway through the brushing process, you'd have to lie in front of the sink to rest for a couple of hours, and rivulets of toothpaste foam would dribble sideways out of your mouth, eventually hardening into crusty little toothpaste stalagmites that would bond your head permanently to the bathroom floor, which is how the police would find you. You know the kind of flu I'm talking about.
November 17, 1993 |
Frog venom, poisonous mushrooms, and crystals may not seem to have much in common. But they've all been touched by the creative mind of Isabella Karle, a chemist who has pioneered a powerful new way to study molecules. Today, she is being honored with the Franklin Institute's $250,000 Bower Award, one of the nation's richest and most prestigious scientific honors. Also being cited is Robert Galvin, the former chief executive officer at Motorola, who is receiving the Bower Award for business.
January 9, 2009 |
In an attempt to create life from inanimate matter, scientists in California have made DNA-like structures that can do some very lifelike things - store information, reproduce multiple generations, and evolve through natural selection. "This is the first one that's gone immortal," said biologist Gerald Joyce, referring to the way these molecules will keep multiplying on their own like colonies of bacteria. The results were published in today's issue of the journal Science. Joyce, who led the research at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, said he was reluctant to call his creation alive.
March 27, 2013 |
It was not unusual for Robin Hochstrasser to summon his graduate students to his lab at 9 p.m. to hear the eminent chemist's latest idea for an experiment. The unspoken expectation was that they would already have some results when he met again with them at 9 o'clock the next morning. More often than not, they did - propelled by Dr. Hochstrasser's enthusiasm and intellect, said former student William A. Eaton. Dr. Hochstrasser, who died Wednesday, Feb. 27, at age 82, is to be honored in a memorial ceremony at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 4, in the Harrison Auditorium of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 3260 South St. The Scottish-born professor joined the Penn faculty in 1963 and earned wide acclaim for developing laser-based techniques to study interactions between molecules.
October 8, 1999 |
Scientists have built a compound that mimics a human enzyme important for mopping up destructive molecules inside the body. They hope this synthetic enzyme might one day treat disorders ranging from inflammation to stroke. When oxygen breaks down, it produces molecules highly damaging to cells. These molecules particularly build up in many inflammatory conditions and cause much of the destruction of brain cells that occurs after a stroke. The cells of animals and people produce an enzyme called superoxide dismutase, or SOD, that can mop up the damaging molecules.
July 14, 2005 |
Stephen A. Roth, a former University of Pennsylvania biology department chairman, had been contemplating retirement after leaving the company he'd started based on his own research. Then two guys with a new idea knocked on his door in 2002. At first, Roth, 62, could not believe the concept advanced by biochemist Brad Jameson of the Drexel University College of Medicine: that serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter in the body's central nervous system, is essential for white blood cells to multiply.
October 26, 2011
Herbert A. Hauptman, 94, a mathematician who shared the 1985 Nobel Prize in chemistry with the chemist Jerome Karle for developing revolutionary methods for determining the structure of molecules vital to life, died Sunday in Buffalo. Mr. Hauptman and Karle's work had far-reaching impact in the manufacture of drugs for a variety of ailments. Mr. Hauptman began collaborating with Karle after World War II. They turned their attention to X-ray crystallography, a means of deducing the three-dimensional structure of a molecule by analyzing how a crystal form of the molecule scatters a beam of X-rays aimed at it. The scattering pattern is recorded as points of light on X-ray film.
August 26, 2014
W AN AND Wei-Heng Shih, both 60, of Bryn Mawr, are co-founders of Lenima Field Diagnostics. Both are professors at Drexel and are developing piezoelectric-sensor technology that can detect a germ that causes diarrhea and is primarily responsible for 14,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, says the CDC. I spoke with Wan Shih. Q: How did you come up with the idea for this technology? A: We have a long history on working with piezoelectric materials that started in the 1990s.