Editor’s note: As we continue to invite bloggers out there in the wild to compose our monthly Blogroll column, Adam Azman stepped up to the plate for the January 2013 column.
Chemists and proteins tell all, exposing their inner workings.
Tweeting chemists around the world will always remember the seventh of November as the inaugural ‘RealTimeChem’ day. The event was hosted by Jason Woolford, who blogs at Doctor Galactic and the Lab Coat Cowboy, and saw chemists of all kinds tweeting about their daily lives in chemistry. All interpretations of ‘doing chemistry’ were represented, including teaching, writing, going to meetings and of course pictures of reactions, extractions and chromatography. For a sampling of some of the contributions, check out Woolford’s compilation of his 24 favourite tweets.
Woolford explained that the seventh of November was chosen to honour Marie Curie’s birthday but he stressed that every day can be #RealTimeChem day (the official hashtag for RealTimeChem). He subsequently wrote of the importance “in this modern age of social media in particular that chemistry continues to engage with the masses and chemists are able to pass on their knowledge, enthusiasm and general love of their subject onto others in an entertaining way”.
Meanwhile, Derek Lowe at In the Pipeline highlights a very literal interpretation of RealTimeChem. He discusses the use of ultra-short (100 ps) X-ray pulses to watch the tertiary structure of a protein change in response to a stimulus. Lowe describes the technique — picosecond time-resolved Laue crystallography — and its potential applications as “the sort of thing we chemists need to really understand what’s going on at the molecular level, and to start making our own enzymes to do things that Nature never dreamed of.”