Discoveries

How carbon-14 revolutionized science

August 12, 2019

Richmond Sarpong

The discovery that carbon atoms act as a marker of time of death transformed everything from biochemistry to oceanography – but the breakthrough nearly didn’t happen. Martin Kamen had worked for three days and three nights without sleep. The US chemist was finishing off a project in which he and colleague Sam Ruben (B.S. ' Chem; Ph.D. '38, Chem), had bombarded a piece of graphite with subatomic particles. The aim of their work was to create new forms of carbon, ones that might have practical uses. Willard Libby (B.S. '31, Chem; Ph.D. '33, Chem) of Chicago University figured out that the radioactivity generated by carbon-14 could be exploited to tremendous advantage.

UC Berkeley Chemists and the Periodic Table

January 9, 2019

The 1969 Discovery 104 Team Dimitri Mendeleev, a Russian chemist who in 1869 wrote out the known elements (of which there were 63 at the time) on cards and then arranged them in columns and rows according to their chemical and physical properties is considered the father of the Periodic Table. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of this pivotal moment in science, the UN has proclaimed 2019 the International year of the Periodic Table. Seen here is the element 104 discovery team in 1969.

Separation Anxiety No More: A Faster Technique to Purify Elements

June 5, 2019

A Faster Technique to Purify ElementsResearchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a new separation method that is vastly more efficient than conventional processes, opening the door to faster discovery of new elements, easier nuclear fuel reprocessing, and, most tantalizing, a better way to attain actinium-225, a promising therapeutic isotope for cancer treatment.

Exploring the superheavy elements at the end of the periodic table

May 22, 2019

new heavy metals research

The addition of four new elements added to the periodic table in 2016 was only the beginning. Now chemists and physicists are starting the hard work of determining the physicochemical properties of these short-lived and incredibly rare species. And that often involves atom-at-a-time chemistry.

Revealing the rules behind virus scaffold construction

March 28, 2019

Frances Arnold

A team of researchers, including faculty from Northwestern Engineering and UC Berkeley's College of Chemistry, has expanded the understanding of how virus shells self-assemble, an important step toward developing techniques that use viruses as vehicles to deliver targeted drugs and therapeutics throughout the body.

Celebrating International Women's Day: Frances Arnold is honored at UC Berkeley

March 8, 2019

Frances ArnoldFrances Arnold admits it will be an emotional moment Friday when, as winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, she’ll be the featured attraction at UC Berkeley for a Dean’s Dinner and reception at the College of Chemistry.

Professor John Hartwig awarded the 2019 Wolf Prize in Chemistry

January 16, 2019

professors John Hartwig and Stephen Buchwal awarded 2019 Wolf PrizeIt was announced today that the 2019 Wolf Prize for Chemistry has been awarded to professors John F. Hartwig from University of California at Berkeley and Stephen L. Buchwald from MIT, for the development of efficient transition-metal catalysts that have revolutionized drug manufacturing, leading to breakthrough in molecule and synthetics design.

Chemists make first Re-Zn-Zn-Re molecule

January 16, 2019

Re-Zn-Zn-Re moleculeZinc-zinc bonds are rare in chemistry. So are linear four-metal compounds. Nevertheless, Trevor D. Lohrey, a member of John Arnold’s group at the University of California, Berkeley, has made the first molecule with a Re-Zn-Zn-Re core. Lohrey used a rhenium(I) salt to reduce ZnCl2 and make a zinc cation to which anionic rhenium compounds coordinated.

Drug sponge could minimize side effects of cancer treatment

January 9, 2019

scientists discover new drug spongeWith the help of sponges inserted in the bloodstream to absorb excess drugs, doctors and scientists are hoping to prevent the dangerous side effects of toxic chemotherapy agents or even deliver higher doses to knock back tumors, like liver cancer, that don’t respond to more benign treatments.

Cracking the code to soot formation

September 7, 2018

industrial sootThe longstanding mystery of soot formation, which combustion scientists have been trying to explain for decades, appears to be finally solved, thanks to research led by scientists at Sandia National Laboratories. This groundbreaking work was published in 'Science' magazine with involvement from scientists at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley Lab.