We speak to Paul Clarke about the challenges of natural product synthesis and discuss the pros and cons of perovskite solar cells


Synthesis in bubble wrap

Source: American Chemical Society

0.50 – US researchers have exploded the assumption that modern science demands expensive precision labware by turning bubble wrap into versatile vessels for substances ranging from sulfuric acid to urine. – Bubble wrap could send lab costs packing

4.07 – A molecular computer could one day simplify analysis of biomedical assays like those used to diagnose Ebola, researchers say. And a new prototype device can display a fluorescent letter in the presence of nucleic acid sequences from the Ebola virus or the closely-related Marburg virus: ‘E’ for Ebola or ‘M’ for Marburg.­ – Molecular computer calculates Ebola diagnosis

7.51 – By remaking nature’s molecules, chemists can discover drugs and probe fundamental biology while pushing the boundaries of organic chemistry. We speak to Paul Clarke from the University of York, UK –  Unpicking natural product synthesis

15.26 – Nasa’s Mars 2020 rover will take a small step towards helping us directly explore the red planet, by studying how to convert its carbon dioxide atmosphere to oxygen – Next Mars rover will make oxygen from CO2

19.02 – A new strategy for analysing fatty acids could one day play a role in determining whether or not life exists on other worlds – Close encounters of the fatty acid kind

21.52 – The efficiency of solar cells made using perovskite semiconductors has risen meteorically. But the question of whether their trajectory will take them from research to industry remains. We speak to Michael Grätzel from the Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Lausanne – The power of perovskites

28.02 – Health-related headlines often cite coffee as either a caffeinated curse or cure-all, with lines such as ‘x cups of coffee a day could lower or raise your risk of disease y’. But a new study into the caffeine and caffeoylquinic acid (CQA) content of various European coffees has again shown the huge variety in what ‘a cup of coffee’ means chemically, and how easy it can be for pregnant women to exceed the recommended 200mg of caffeine a day – Coffee cup confusion

31.46 – A test to detect counterfeit coffee – ground beans that have been bulked up with cheap, low quality filler ingredients – has been developed by scientists in Brazil – Catching criminals’ coffee adulteration