Thursday, 27 November 2008

How Research is Changing Ireland

Science Gallery, Trinity College, Pearse Street, Dublin 2

Why should research be hidden away in labs or universities? From wearable sensors to ubiquitous computing and the future of drug discovery, Transformations offers a window into our future as it is being created by researchers working across Ireland. The investment made through the ten years of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions has had a catalytic effect on making Ireland one of the most exciting and rewarding places in the world to do research.

Transformations demonstrates the day to day impact of this research investment. How it helps us get around faster, live longer and more fully, plan more effectively and understand our environment. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Transformations Opening Hours:

Thursday, 27:11:08, 13:00 – 18:00
Friday, 28:11:08, 10:00 – 19:00
Saturday, 29:11:08, 10:00 – 18:00
Sunday, 30:11:08, 11:00 – 18:00
Monday, 01:12:08, 10:00 – 18:00
Tuesday, 02:12:08, 10:00 – 16:00

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Organic molecules in space

A simple sugar that is an ingredient of life has been found for the first time in a relatively hospitable part of the galaxy. As molecules go, glycolaldehyde is not an impressive one, but its link to the origins of life make it significant. It can react to form ribose, a key constituent of the nucleic acid RNA. The study, in Astrophysical Journal Letters, is important as it shows organic molecules in a region of space where planets could form.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

First complete cancer genome sequenced

Scientists have deciphered each of the 3 billion DNA bases from the genome of an acute myeloid leukemia tumor.

For the first time, a complete cancer (female) genome has been decoded. In a study made possible by faster, cheaper and more sensitive methods for sequencing DNA, the researchers pinpoint eight new genes that may cause a cell to turn cancerous. This new sequencing technology, called massively parallel sequencing, makes it possible to compare the normal DNA sequence to the cancerous DNA sequence in the same patient. That, in turn, allows researchers to find individual DNA bases — the needles in a haystack of 3 billion pieces of straw — that had mutated in the cancerous cells.

Laura Saunder's article with links to other citations is at:

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Artificial leaf could power the future

AN "artificial leaf" could one day be used to provide near limitless low-cost energy using water as a fuel. While there were substantial technical problems to overcome, the use of solar power and water represented the only way that growing world energy demand could be met according to a Kilkenny conference organised by research funding body Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

This doubling of energy supply could only barely be met by combining all the wind, hydro and biomass power available, provided we also built 8,000 new nuclear power plants,"It is all about the discovery of new materials and processes to make it affordable." The goal would be to "personalise" energy production by combining solar power and a chemical "artificial leaf" to produce hydrogen energy for the home and to power the family car.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Kaye & Laby Online: Tables of Physics & Chemical Constants

This online version of Kaye & Laby Tables of Physics & Chemical Constants includes the entire contents of the 16th edition, as well as a new section 3.9.5 on pH values, and is full of tables of data, formulae, graphs and charts. This information spans topics from fundamental constants to fibre optics, superconductivity to Raman spectroscopy and many many others. The contents are periodically updated to reflect advances and developments in the fields of physics and chemistry. This free resource is hosted by the National Physical Laboratory at

Chemical Constants from Intute

Tables of Chemical Data

Values of Fundamental Physical Constants
Relative Atomic Masses of the Chemical Elements
Molar Thermodynamic Properties of Pure Substances
Molar Thermodynamic Properties of Aqueous Solutes
Ionization Constants of Aqueous Monoprotic Acids
Ionization Constants of Aqueous Polyprotic Acids
Solubility Products of Slightly Soluble Salts
Stability Constants of Aqueous Complex Ions
Aqueous Standard Reduction Potentials

Auxiliary and Specific Tables of Chemical Data:
Half-Lives of Selected Radioactive Isotopes
Selected Gas-Phase Equilibrium Constants
Properties of Aqueous Acid-Base Indicators

See also

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Renewable energy: two Irish stories

Renewable energy features twice in the Irish Times today:

"Wind power boom sees Ireland's renewable energy use double" is at:
"Facing up to the problem of alternative fuels". The ethical debate on biofuels continues, but the need for an alternative fuel seems ever more urgent:

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Nano-life & Viruses: the basics

Part of the Harvard-MIT Department of Biology courseware for undergraduate and graduate courses, Nano-life: An Introduction to Virus Structure and Assembly covers the basic principles of virus structure and symmetry, capsid assembly, strategies for enclosing nucleic acid, proteins involved in entry and exit, and the life cycles of well understood pathogens such as HIV, influenza, polio, and Herpes. Aimed at undergraduate students, this resource provides access to a course syllabus, readings and assignments. Made available on the Web by the MIT at

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Free maths e-journals

Mathematical research letters: the journal Mathematical Research Letters is published bi-monthly by International Press. It covers all areas of mathematics. Full text papers are available free as PDF files.

Pure and applied mathematics quarterly: the journal Pure and Applied Mathematics Quarterly, a Chinese-based journal covering all areas of mathematics, is published by International Press. Full text papers are available free as PDF files.