Leo Baekeland, born Nov. 14, 1863, was a Belgian-American industrial chemist who invented the first thermosetting plastic, Bakelite, which did not soften when heated. His first successful invention was Velox, a photographic paper that could be used with artificial light rather than sunlight, which he sold in 1899 to George Eastman for $1 million.
A study of two African tribes found evidence that men evolved better navigation ability than women because men with better spatial skills– the ability to mentally manipulate objects– can roam farther and have children with more mates.
A polio inoculation in use since the 1950s has all-but eradicated the crippling disease in the developed world, but “wild polio” strains are running rampant in some poorer countries. Now, vaccine technology being developed by a team could hold the key to completely eradicating polio by removing live virus from the vaccine production process.
How homing pigeons find their way home is still largely a mystery. Now, researchers have found that homing pigeons are affected by disturbances in the gravity field and suggest that the birds navigate using an internal gyroscope to guide themselves home.
Scientists have discovered gene mutations that give people naturally lower cholesterol levels and cut their risk of heart disease in half. That discovery may have a big implication: a blockbuster drug that mimics these mutations has long been sold, without evidence, that it cuts the chance of heart disease.
Monsanto Co. says it will pay nearly $2.4 million to settle a dispute with farmers in the Pacific Northwest over genetically modified wheat. No genetically engineered wheat has been approved for U.S. farming, but it was found in Oregon in 2013. That discovery prompted Japan and South Korea to temporarily suspend some wheat orders, and the EU called for more rigorous testing of U.S. shipments.
The surfactant chemicals— used to reduce surface tension between water and oil, allowing for more oil to be extracted from porous rock underground— found in samples of fracking fluid collected in five states were no more toxic than substances commonly found in homes, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis.
Analyzing page views of Wikipedia articles could make it possible to monitor and forecast diseases around the globe, according to research. A team used the site to successfully monitored influenza outbreaks in the U.S., Poland, Japan and Thailand, dengue fever in Brazil and Thailand and tuberculosis in China and Thailand.
A swallowable capsule coated with tiny needles delivers drugs directly into the lining of the digestive tract as a replacement for injections.
The international standard for time is set by atomic clocks— room-sized apparatuses that keep time by measuring the natural vibration of atoms in a vacuum. Now, researchers have come up with a new approach to atomic timekeeping that may enable more stable and accurate portable atomic clocks, potentially the size of a Rubik’s cube.
Chemists have succeeded in twisting a molecule by combining molecular strands of differing lengths. The longer strand winds around a central axis like a staircase banister, creating a helical structure that exhibits special physical properties.
A trawl through a library of more than 50,000 small molecules has identified a potential candidate to inhibit the spread of cancer cells throughout the body. The molecule targets a mechanism of tumor development that had previously been considered “undruggable,” and could open the door to further promising new candidates.
The largest sunspot seen in 24 years is rotating back to face the Earth, and it looks to have grown even bigger. Last month, the solar active region known as AR12192 entertained the world with the sunspot clearly visible to the naked eye as it produced a series of large flares. But, after spending some time over on the far side of the sun, it hasn’t finished impressing us yet.
Salt- and acid-tolerant bacteria with the potential to be used in mining processing have been uncovered in Australia’s Wheatbelt. The bacteria were found during a "bio-prospecting" survey and are likely to become more important in coming decades as high-grade ore runs out.
Taking vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements may not reduce the risk of memory and thinking problems after all, according to research. The study is one of the largest to date to test long-term use of supplements and thinking and memory skills.