March 2012 issue

If you haven’t already noticed, our March 2012 issue went live today. It’s full of the usual good stuff, including research articles, News & Views pieces, and research highlights. This issue is somewhat special, however, in that it also contains what we call a web focus. What’s that you might ask? Well, it’s a small collection of related articles (grouped together on the web), and in this case it’s about protein dynamics. We have two Perspectives (Good vibrations in enzyme-catalysed reactions and Taking Ockham’s razor to enzyme dynamics and catalysis) that offer differing views on the significance that structural dynamics have on the reactivity of enzymes. To round up the web focus, there is also an editorial: ‘Of polemics and progress‘, that looks at how disagreements in science can have both good and bad sides. There will be a longer blog post on the editorial next week. The content of the focus (the Editorial and both Perspectives) is free to access until March 22. (Actually, all of our editorials are now free, so you’ll be able to read that whenever you like).

The In Your Element article is about deuterium (we haven’t even done plain old protium yet!) and was written by Dan O’Leary (and has a great illustration drawn by Seo (Sarah) Roh). You need to be a subscriber to read the article itself, but we’ll have a longer blog post later this week that adds some backstory to Dan’s essay. It will be a long read, but well worth it.

In the Thesis article: ‘Zen and the art of molecules’, regular columnist Michelle Francl ponders what it is that makes a molecule beautiful. Her top ten comprises: azulene, carvone, ferrocene, ethanol, vanillin, caffeine, penicillin, insulin, snoutane and cubane. You’ll have to read the article (subscribers only, sorry) to find out why she picked each of these, but she concludes by saying that:

In my eyes, elegant molecules are symmetric; unexpected; revelatory of unseen mysteries; have a touch of sabi, a patina of history; a rich set of associations that stimulate our imaginations; useful; logically simple; sometimes whimsical — and sometimes profoundly graceful.

Obviously beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, so while we don’t necessarily expect you to list your top ten, why not leave a comment and tell us what, in your eyes, are the most beautiful molecules… and why you picked them.

And while you’re thinking about pretty molecules, why not go and check out the rest of the March issue.


Stuart Cantrill (Chief Editor, Nature Chemistry)