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CoverTime: may the cubane be with you

Another beautiful cover (frontispiece) from Angewandte Chemie….. And another proof (if you really need more) that chemists are huge nerds….

anie201681161-toc-0001-mThis time is a beautiful homage to the last Star Wars movie…… No, not talking about Jar Jar… and not even about a new fluorescent detectors for Midi-chlorians. Force sensors? Not even close…
But let’s go with some order:
I don’t know if you paid attention to it, but there are 25 authors on this paper… 26…. This should already give you the complexity of the research done in there…. 26….
7 Students
9 Doctors
10 Professors
Simply impressive, but in such huge work I would like they use the style of Natures where at the end of the paper there is also the “Author contributions”.

EDIT: Thanks to the power of internet, the firs author of the paper pointed out that the “author contribution” was under my eyes all the time in the supplementary information… So here we go (and again, pretty impressive):

Author Contributions: C.M.W., G.P.S. and J.T. conceived the project. C.M.W., B.A.C., H.X. and S.D.H. chose the cubane targets. B.A.C., H.X. and S.D.H. undertook the synthetic preparation of all cubane analogues and obtained the respective characterisation data. C.M.W. and B.A.C. wrote the paper with assistance from all authors. C.E.J.C. and H.M.C. designed the leteprinim study and analysed results. S.G. and M.T.S undertook the Phase I and II leteprinim metabolism study and analysed the results. A.K. and M.T.S. designed the benzocaine study and analysed results. B.C., A.R., D.W., and S.K.N. designed the SAHA mouse study and analysed results. C.-E.M. and G.H.W. designed the diflubenzuron study and analysed results. J.S. and J.D.V. designed the t-butylbenzene metabolism study and analysed results. G.M.B., C.J.P., and P.G.P. designed the SAHA cell line study and analysed results. S.W.L. performed the LogP analysis. P.V.B. performed the X-ray crystallographic structure determination for compounds 4 and 12. C.P. and J.Mc. designed the scabies study and analysed results.


Anyway, cubanes. I have always loved the cubane synthesis, mainly because the cubane molecule is so nicely perfect. There are also some beautiful pieces on the cubane by Roald Hoffman “in praise of synthesis” and in his book “on the Philosophy, Art, and Science of Chemistry”. Such beautiful, yet complex to synthesize, molecules….

And that’s naturally not the first time, most probably not the last one, that Star Wars enters the world of chemistry….

The classical example is “A supramolecular Star Wars Tie Fighter Ship” where Star Wars is even in the title. And this figure in the paper is just pure bliss:

star wars chemistry

Fun with chemical structures as well here.

Tie Fighter

And what about you, poor trekkies???? Worry not, almost any smartphone based analysis is called tricorder nowadays…..


Other CoverTime: the power of the metal, Robots, 80s vs 90s.

Holidays 2014

Another year wandering in the lab is finished. Have great holidays, eat like no one business, drink till you get great ideas and have a lot of fun. A lot of referees are waiting for your papers in 2015…..



And naturally thank to all of you, also this year we managed to get >100.000 visits. See you next year folks.



And remember that the competition is still open. So far we have 2 winners, and I’m waiting for the 3rd one….. hurry up…….

Google Safety Glasses

A couple of literature from “anonymous” sources….

The first scientific paper using google glasses (or at least chemistry related paper) is out. And what’s better than sponsoring it with this kind of amazing TOC????

Nn 2014 00614k 0012

Few questions arise from this picture. Are the google glasses safe for the lab? I know quite some safety sheriffs that will be not so happy to see people working around just with the google glass. Then, why on earth the labcoat is striped???? 
The paper is here, enjoy.

Second paper of the day…. Apparently T-BAG is a well known term in the surface chemistry world…… if you don’t know the other meaning, DO NOT walk around the department asking explanation to random people…. DO NOT!!!



paper here.


When your labmate becomes a meme – part 2

As the meme’s game is still going on (part 1 here) with the poor Piotr, here the second collection:


and when Andrew was scared about Piotr’s sense of humor, this is what happened:

So God Made a Chemist

“So God Made a Chemist” is a parody of the  super bowl dodge’s ram commercial “So God Made a Farmer” (video here).
We decided to take the same kind of picture make the same 2.5D effects and modify a “little bit” the text. Here the result:


TEM pictures worth spreading

AP PCdust 005

Introduction for scientists: The transmission electron microscopy is a technique that uses an electron beam passing through a thin layer of sample. 
Introduction for others: check wikipedia page on TEM
Introduction for lazy bastards: TEM is a huuuuuuuge microscope.

If you are lucky enough to work in a university with a TEM facility you know how amazing these pictures are. I was working with liposomes for years, I knew how to make/purify them, how to check the size with DLS, how to load them and so on. But I never saw them. The first time I saw them with the (cryo)TEM it was simply amazing.
However it doesn’t matter how amazing your TEM pictures are, most of the time you cannot publish them. And you end up with folder full of amazing pictures that the world will never see. I would say that more than 95% of the TEM pictures are not going to be published. You just put one or two pictures on the paper and that’s it.

So, what to do with the rest of the pictures?
1 A classical example is to use them as Rorschach test in the lab. You can easily spot how many serial killers work in a chemistry department. 
2 Another use for these picture is to predict the future. I cannot see how you can read the future from a cup of coffee and not from a negative stained nano particles. Take a picture of your sample and bring it to the first fortune-teller in the department. Note that usually your boss is not a fortune-teller.  
3 Color them and go to an art gallery. You never know…. 

Anyway, here an amazing set of TEM pictures (courtesy of Mathieu, our best nanographer in the lab):


duckThis is clearly a nanoDuck.


sunrise Sunrise in the nano world. 


Tem3So Long and Thanks for all the Fish.




Tem6Either Goku or a nanosaur footprint.


Tem7This is a nano colony, you can see the river, and the small villages growing nearby.


Tem8Stare at this picture for 87 minutes and you will see something amazing. Or you will just go crazy. 


Tem10This is clearly a nanoAK47.


Tem11Traveling on a nano-boat. It will take ages for moving a couple of millimeters.


Tem13Flying brains (do you remember that Futurama episode?)


Tem14Apparently we have also some nano writerz. That’s their tag. Respect!


Tem15Hasta la nanovictoria! Siempre!


Tem16This is scary and could be the cover of some dark comics. Can you see the little creep girl watching at you? And imagine that the TEM room is a super dark room….


Tem19Finally some liposomes face.


Tem20The nano scream. 


Stay tuned for more amazing nano shots.