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Category: Science

A fun take on the latest science news with enough data to sink your teeth into. Lagrange Point goes beyond the glossy summary and gets in depth with the research from across the world.

February 24, 2020

Episode 367 - Sustainable and green Chemistry

Making chemistry green and sustainable, from cheaper catalyst to sorting solvents. How can you make catalysts cheaper and re-usable? Is there a cheaper catalyst to breakdown CO2? How can we make a circular carbon economy? Solvents play an important role in chemistry so how do you greenly find the right match? Green chemistry can be made more efficient using CO2.

  1. Youngdong Song, Ercan Ozdemir, Sreerangappa Ramesh, Aldiar Adishev, Saravanan Subramanian, Aadesh Harale, Mohammed Albuali, Bandar Abdullah Fadhel, Aqil Jamal, Dohyun Moon, Sun Hee Choi, Cafer T. Yavuz. Dry reforming of methane by stable Ni–Mo nanocatalysts on single-crystalline MgOScience, 2020; 367 (6479): 777 DOI: 10.1126/science.aav2412
  2. Suyong Han, Keshav Raghuvanshi, Milad Abolhasani. Accelerated Material-Efficient Investigation of Switchable Hydrophilicity Solvents for Energy-Efficient Solvent RecoveryACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 2020; DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.9b07304
February 17, 2020

Episode 366 - The YORP Effect, Star Brawls and Solar wind

What happens when stars brawl? What do they leave behind? When stars are dying they take down everything and everything around them from asteroids to other stars. What is the YORP effect? How do some tiny solar particles destroy an asteroid? Spiraling out of control, asteroids get YORP-ed at the end of a star's life. When a star gets to the end of it's life, it may swell in size, taking out asteroids and nearby stars.

  1. H. Olofsson, T. Khouri, M. Maercker, P. Bergman, L. Doan, D. Tafoya, W. H. T. Vlemmings, E. M. L. Humphreys, M. Lindqvist, L. Nyman, S. Ramstedt. HD 101584: circumstellar characteristics and evolutionary status. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 2019; 623: A153 DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201834897
  2. Dimitri Veras, Daniel J Scheeres. Post-main-sequence debris from rotation-induced YORP break-up of small bodies – II. Multiple fissions, internal strengths, and binary production. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2020; 492 (2): 2437 DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stz3565
  3. M. I. Desai, D. G. Mitchell, J. R. Szalay, E. C. Roelof, J. Giacalone, M. E. Hill, D. J. McComas, E. R. Christian, N. A. Schwadron, R. L. McNutt Jr., M. E. Wiedenbeck, C. Joyce, C. M. S. Cohen, R. W. Ebert, M. A. Dayeh, R. C. Allen, A. J. Davis, S. M. Krimigis, R. A. Leske, W. H. Matthaeus, O. Malandraki, R. A. Mewaldt, A. Labrador, E. C. Stone, S. D. Bale, M. Pulupa, R. J. MacDowall, J. C. Kasper. Properties of Suprathermal-through-energetic He Ions Associated with Stream Interaction Regions Observed over the Parker Solar Probe’s First Two Orbits. The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, 2020; 246 (2): 56 DOI: 10.3847/1538-4365/ab65ef
February 10, 2020

Episode 365 - Wasps, Bees, tasty meals and pesticide.

From wasps to bees how are insects adapting to a changing world. What type of food do bees prefer? Can a bee be a fussy eater? What makes a tasty meal for a Bee and what would they avoid like the plague? What changes can be introduced into the microbiome by pesticides? How can pesticides change the microbiome of wasps and develop into resistance? Can pesticide actually make lives harder for themselves by building tolerance in insects? How does an Asian hornet end up in Northern Europe?

  1. Wang et al. Changes in microbiome confer multigenerational host resistance after sub-toxic pesticide exposureCell Host & Microbe, 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2020.01.009
  2. Martin Husemann, Andreas Sterr, Swen Mack, Rudolf Abraham. The northernmost record of the Asian hornet Vespa velutina nigrithorax (Hymenoptera, Vespidae)Evolutionary Systematics, 2020; 4 (1): 1 DOI: 10.3897/evolsyst.4.47358
  3. Fabian A. Ruedenauer, David Raubenheimer, Daniela Kessner‐Beierlein, Nils Grund‐Mueller, Lisa Noack, Johannes Spaethe, Sara D. Leonhardt. Best be(e) on low fat: linking nutrient perception, regulation and fitnessEcology Letters, 2020; DOI: 10.1111/ele.13454
February 3, 2020

Episode 364 - Coronavirus from SARS to MERs and nConv2019

The Coronavirus family is a dangerous lot from SARS to MERS and Novel Coronavirus 2019. This week we look at the history of Coronavirus outbreaks, research into past infections and public health strategy. We do some fact checking on Coronavirus myths and fears. What lessons were learnt from the SARS outbreak of '03 that can help today in '20? How can turning off the cells recycling plant stop Coronaviruses in their tracks? What role does cell autophagy play in spreading or stopping MERS? What can we learn from the sequenced genomes of coronaviruses? How can tracking the ACE2 gene help people monitor the mutation of the coronavirus strains?

  1. Lewis, D. (2020). Coronavirus outbreak: what’s next? Nature. doi: 10.1038/d41586-020-00236-9
  2. Hollingsworth, J. (2020, January 30). The memory of SARS looms over the Wuhan virus. Here's how the outbreaks compare. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/29/china/sars-wuhan-virus-explainer-intl-hnk-scli/index.html
  3. Alerts - Novel coronavirus - Frequently asked questions. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/alerts/Pages/coronavirus-faqs.aspx#1-1
  4. Coronavirus latest: WHO declares global emergency. (2020, January 30). Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00154-w
  5. Yushun Wan, Jian Shang, Rachel Graham, Ralph S. Baric, Fang Li. Receptor recognition by novel coronavirus from Wuhan: An analysis based on decade-long structural studies of SARSJournal of Virology, 2020; DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00127-20
  6. Nils C. Gassen, Daniela Niemeyer, Doreen Muth, Victor M. Corman, Silvia Martinelli, Alwine Gassen, Kathrin Hafner, Jan Papies, Kirstin Mösbauer, Andreas Zellner, Anthony S. Zannas, Alexander Herrmann, Florian Holsboer, Ruth Brack-Werner, Michael Boshart, Bertram Müller-Myhsok, Christian Drosten, Marcel A. Müller, Theo Rein. SKP2 attenuates autophagy through Beclin1-ubiquitination and its inhibition reduces MERS-Coronavirus infectionNature Communications, 2019; 10 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-13659-4