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429Episodes
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.

January 25, 2021

Episode 415 - Greener ways to make Hydrogen and Ammonia

You've probably heard about the wonders of a Hydrogen economy, but how can we make it better for the environment. Synthesizing Ammonia helped feed the planet, but at a huge environmental cost. How can we produce Ammonia without harming the environment? Production of ammonia (and fertilizer) has a huge carbon footprint. How can we clean it up? Hydrogen fuel cells could help decarbonize our economy, but how do we produce it cleanly? Electrolysis can separate hydrogen from water, but how can we do it more efficiently? 

January 18, 2021

Episode 414 - The active life and dramatic death of galaxies

Can a galaxy really die? What would that even look like? We know that stars can erupt into supernova, form black holes or fade away but what happens to old galaxies? What happens to a galaxy when it looses all it's fuel for growing new stars? Which galaxies are the most active and pulsing with light? Active galaxies often shine vibrantly from their core, but what causes periodic bursts of energy. NASA Goddarrd researchers have discovered the 'Old Faithful' of Galaxies.

  1. Annagrazia Puglisi, Emanuele Daddi, Marcella Brusa, Frederic Bournaud, Jeremy Fensch, Daizhong Liu, Ivan Delvecchio, Antonello Calabrò, Chiara Circosta, Francesco Valentino, Michele Perna, Shuowen Jin, Andrea Enia, Chiara Mancini, Giulia Rodighiero. A titanic interstellar medium ejection from a massive starburst galaxy at redshift 1.4Nature Astronomy, 2021; DOI: 10.1038/s41550-020-01268-x
  2. ASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2021, January 12). An 'old faithful' active galaxy: Black hole rips away at star. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 15, 2021 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210112125154.htm
January 11, 2021

Episode 413 - Detecting gene doping in sport, and the strange air of gyms

You've probably heard of CRISPR, but what does it mean for the world of professional sports? How could gene-doping be detected by sports administrators? Could you tell if someone had used CRISPR to 'dope' their performance?  WADA considers gene editing a form of doping, but how can you detect it? What happens when you mix sweat, gym equipment and cleaning products? When you exercise you release a 3-5 times the amount of chemicals than a sedentary person. What happens to the mix of sweat, amino acids and cleaning products in the air of a gym?

  1. Alina Paßreiter, Andreas Thomas, Nicolas Grogna, Philippe Delahaut, Mario Thevis. First Steps toward Uncovering Gene Doping with CRISPR/Cas by Identifying SpCas9 in Plasma via HPLC–HRMS/MSAnalytical Chemistry, 2020; 92 (24): 16322 DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.0c04445
  2. Zachary Finewax, Demetrios Pagonis, Megan S. Claflin, Anne V. Handschy, Wyatt L. Brown, Olivia Jenks, Benjamin A. Nault, Douglas A. Day, Brian M. Lerner, Jose L. Jimenez, Paul J. Ziemann, Joost A. Gouw. Quantification and source characterization of volatile organic compounds from exercising and application of chlorine‐based cleaning products in a university athletic centerIndoor Air, 2020; DOI: 10.1111/ina.12781
January 4, 2021

Episode 412 - Magnetic Glues and Chemical gears

Waiting for glue to cure can take a long time, but can magnets speed it up? We use epoxy to glue together so much of the modern world, but it takes a lot of energy to cure it. Is there a way to make epoxy glues more 'energy efficient' with magnets? Magnetically activate glues can literally stick your shoes together. Gears are one of the most fundamental mechanical elements, can we get chemicals to form gears themselves. A 1mm thick sheet with some chemicals and you can get gears to form themselves. Small gear trains and mechanical motion can power soft and flexible machines.

References:

  1. Richa Chaudhary, Varun Chaudhary, Raju V. Ramanujan, Terry W.J. Steele. Magnetocuring of temperature failsafe epoxy adhesivesApplied Materials Today, 2020; 21: 100824 DOI: 10.1016/j.apmt.2020.100824
  2. Abhrajit Laskar, Oleg E. Shklyaev, Anna C. Balazs. Self-Morphing, Chemically Driven Gears and MachinesMatter, 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.matt.2020.11.014