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It will be difficult – but not impossible – to detect the chemical breakdown products of any nerve agents that may have been used in the Damascus attack, but access to the victims could be critical in proving the illicit use of chemical weapons.

Electric eels spark hope on kidney stones

British scientists have discovered why electric eels do not get kidney stones but humans - and especially men - do.

ROCK: Going underground

Kim Deal found fame with the Pixies and the Breeders. Then everything fell apart. Ben Thompson hears what happened

New drug cuts heart attack risk

GLENDA COOPER

Why change will take a long time to filter through

Women and work: Report urges the strengthening of maternity provisions, childcare facilities and retraining programmes; Liz Searl finds the first female Fellow of Trinity keen to win improvements

the human condition: a gut reaction to the nineties

IN THE EIGHTIES, IT WAS JOGGING AND JANE FONDA. NOW IT'S ALL COLONIC IRRIGATION AND DETOX DIETS. AS STRESS PLAYS HAVOC WITH OUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEMS, INTERNAL CLEANLINESS HAS TAKEN ITS PLACE NEXT TO GODLINESS; 4 'The idea that some foods are full of toxins is wrong. It's a prostitution of science' 4

Sherry toasts win

Golf

OBITUARY: Christian Anfinsen

Christian Anfinsen was the joint winner of the 1972 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work done with the enzyme ribonuclease while he was chief of the laboratory of chemical biology at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), at Bethesda, Maryland.

If the worm turns blue, the river's polluted

Ruth McKernan looks at the development and use of `biological litmus tests'

Celsis tests the water with a faster bug-detection kit

SPOTTING contaminated drinking water is a bit like closing a barn door after the horses have bolted. The time it takes water to flow from reservoir intake to kitchen tap is typically about a day, but tests for microbes, using techniques unchanged for more than a century, can run for up to four days. Celsis International, a Cambridge-based diagnostics company, hopes to reduce the time-lag to just 24 hours.

Molecule of the Month : Cleo watched the bitter berry work and opted for the asp

John Emsley looks at atropine, the poisonous product of the deadly nightshade

Garden plants in poison alert

The dangers of the sweet pea and the yew tree are to be highlighted in a campaign alerting people to the poisonous attributes of some of Britain's most popular plants. The National Poisons Unit is to run a poster campaign and will work with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and the Royal Horticultural Society to carry out an expert review of the toxicity of plants on sale in garden centres and nurseries.

Obituary: Professor Adolf Butenandt

Adolf Butenandt was one of the leading biochemists of the first half of this century. In 1939 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his primary achievements - the isolation in the years 1929 to 1934 of the sex hormones oestrone, androst erone and progesterone, and the elucidation of their chemical structure. The Nazi government forbade him from accepting the prize. After the award of the Nobel Prize for Peace to Carl von Ossietzky, who was in a German concentration camp, German citizens were barred by law from accepting Nobel Prizes. It was only after the Second World War that the Swedish Academy asked Butenandt about the circumstances of his refusal. As a result, he received the document and the medal and was listed officially as a No bel prizewinner.

Wariso turns on gas for personal best

Solomon Wariso completed his first competition since a three-month doping suspension with a personal-best performance at Birmingham's national indoor arena yesterday, writes Mike Rowbottom.

Obituary: Professor Walter Bartley

Walter Bartley, biochemist: born Brighton 20 January 1916; Professor of Biochemistry, Sheffield University 1963-81, Dean of the Faculty of Pure Science 1972-75, Pro Vice Chancellor 1977-81; married (one son, one daughter); died Sheffield 19 August 1994.

Obituary: Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz

Yeshayahu Leibowitz, biochemist, neurophysiologist, philosopher: born Riga, Latvia c1903; married (one son, three daughters, and two sons deceased); died Jerusalem 18 August 1994.
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Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'