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Posts Tagged ‘chemistry’

The human body has about 1,000 kinds of receptors, structures on the surface of cells, which let the body respond to a wide variety of chemical signals, like adrenaline. Some receptors are in the nose, tongue and eyes, and let us sense smells, tastes and light.
“They work as a gateway to the cell,” Robert Lefkowitz told a news conference in Stockholm by phone. “As a result they are crucial … to regulate almost every known physiological process with humans.”
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said it was long a mystery how cells interact with their environment and adapt to new situations, such as when they react to adrenaline by increasing blood pressure and making the heart beat faster.
Scientists suspected that cell surfaces had some type of receptor for hormones.
Using radioactivity, Robert Lefkowitz managed to unveil receptors including the receptor for adrenaline, and started to understand how it works.
Brian Kobilka and his team realized that there is a whole family of receptors that look alike — a family that is now called G-protein-coupled receptors.
In 2011,Brian Kobilka achieved another breakthrough when his team captured an image of the receptor for adrenaline at the moment when it is activated by a hormone and sends a signal into the cell. The academy called the image “a molecular masterpiece.”
Mark Downs, chief executive of Britain’s Society of Biology, said the critical role receptors play is now taking for granted.
“This groundbreaking work spanning genetics and biochemistry has laid the basis for much of our understanding of modern pharmacology as well as how cells in different parts of living organisms can react differently to external stimulation, such as light and smell, or the internal systems which control our bodies such as hormones,” Downs said in a statement.(AP news of Oct,10,2012/Karl Ritter,Louise Nordstrom)
For scientists creating new drugs this breakthrough holds tremendous interest. For a moral philosopher it may be in the manner cells react to external stimulation. Think of each individual as a cell. Cannot individuals like cells react to moral imperatives of Truth which is in an abstract plane? Biological imperatives of reproduction,- propagation of one’s kind, has an abstract counterpart in love. Truth loves its own kind and would see it accepted as natural as one breathes the air or winds down after a day’s work.
Each chromosome has its genetic material and so has a moral being the requirements of truth.
benny

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Joseph Priestley-(1733-1804)Dissenter,Chemistry,Unitarian
Scientist,pillar of the British Enlightenment Priestly found his spiritual home in the US- though he never took American citizenship, and exerted much influence on the new nation. As for his writings in the late 1760 and 70s he foreshadowed the language the founding fathers were to use in the 1776(Stuart Andrews).
His essay on the First Principles of Government(1768)asserted the fundamental axiom of the Enlightenment that knowledge is the key to progress.
the son of a cloth-dresser from Leeds, was born in 1733. After the death of his mother in 1740, Joseph lived with his aunt from whom he drew his religious views that were to pose great threat to him. His strong nonconformist religious views would cause him to flee England albeit his great contribuion to the world of Chemistry. Though sickly as a child he entered the new nonconformist Daventry Academy in Northamptonshire, where he studied history, science and philosophy. At Daventry he read David Hartley’s Observations of Man (1749) which grounded his direction in life. Priestley was deeply influenced by Hartley’s views on free will and the notion of human perfectibility through good education.
In 1755 Joseph Priestley became a minister at the Presbyterian church at Needham Market. He became interested in exploring how science could improve the quality of human life. In 1761 Priestley was appointed as tutor at the dissenting Warrington Academy in Lancashire.
While at Warrington Joseph Priestley wrote Liberal Education for Civil and Active Life (1765). In the book he stressed the importance of science, arts, modern languages and history and argued they were better suited than the classics for those students who wanted a career in industry and commerce. This was followed by a book on science The History and Present State of Electricity (1767). He now turned his attention to politics. In 1768 his book The First Principles of Government and the Nature of Political, Civil and Religious Liberty was published. In the book he argued for the development of a political system that maximizes civil liberty. In a statement that was to have an influence on the work of Jeremy Bentham and his ideas on Unitarianism, Priestley wrote: “The good and happiness of the members, that is the majority of the members of the state, is the great standard by which every thing relating to that state must finally be determined.”
These three books brought Priestley to the attention of Richard Price and Benjamin Franklin. Both men became friendly with Priestley and encouraged his work in science and politics. After long discussions with the two men, Priestley wrote The State of Public Liberty in General and of American Affairs in Particular (1774). The pamphlet attacked the British government for depriving the colonists their rights and liberties.
Priestley’s political beliefs made him unpopular with the British government. Church leaders were also concerned with the religious views expressed by Priestley in books such as The History of the Corruptions of Christianity (1782) and History of Early Opinions Concerning Jesus Christ (1786). The books developed Priestley’s ideas on Unitarianism. They also included attacks on such doctrines as the virgin birth and the Holy Trinity. Many people, including King George III, became convinced that Priestley was now an atheist.
Priestley moved to Birmingham where he became friends with businessmen and scientists such as John Wilkinson, Josiah Wedgwood, Matthew Boulton and James Watt. Whereas Priestley’s scientific work, for example, his discovery of oxygen, was welcomed, his religious and political views were constantly getting him into trouble. Priestley and his friend Richard Price became leaders of a group of men that became known as the Rational Dissenters. To the government, these were dangerous men.
In 1794 he discovered oxygen he went on an European tour accompanying his patron under whom he held the post of a librarian(1773-80)and from whom received an allowance of 40 pounds a year for his laboratory. It was here he made the momentous discovery on Aug 1,1774. During this tour he came to meet Lavoisier. In France his genius was recognized. He was given French citizenship in 1792.)
Hostility towards Joseph Priestley increased in 1791 when he wrote a pamphlet defending the French Revolution. Priestley argued that he believed the events in France increased the chance of “universal peace and goodwill among all nations” as it made possible an “empire of reason”. His views on the role of the monarchy upset King George III. The king and his supporters particularly disliked Priestley’s view that in future monarchs will be the “first servants of the people and accountable to them”. Priestley now obtained the nickname ‘Gunpowder.’ In 1791 Priestley published A Political Dialogue on the General Principles of Government. In the book Priestley expressed similar political ideas to those expressed by Tom Paine in the Rights of Man. Later that year Priestley took part in forming a Constitutional Society in Birmingham. Tories in the city made inflammatory speeches attacking Priestley’s political ideas and this resulted in a mob breaking into his house and destroying most of his papers, books and scientific equipment.
After the Birmingham riots in 1774 he decided to emigrate to America. He settled in Pennsylvania and over the next few years he wrote several books on Unitarianism. Priestley also established the first Unitarian Church in America.
Joseph Priestley died on 6th February, 1804.(ack:www.spartacus.com.uk)

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Cosmos and I are bound in ways no logic or reason can explain. To think a rational mind can think everything to its logical conclusion is a folly. Chemistry that makes me thrive does not reason but imposes its will on me nevertheless. I choose my way and if it is proved right way I have to thank only those invisible controls that work in Cosmos. As a caveat to this let me add in fixing the impressions that assail me my reason helps me to be relevant in terms of immediate circumstances and also finetune where it has fallen short.
ii
Coffee and basil do not complement each other. These have molecules that work opposite to each other. Coffee as a result will taste foul.

Our preferences for persons do not fall within what we would call rational behavior. Love at first sight? (Even before a woman has spoken a word man gets chemical messages: phermeron compounds set off to create signals in the brain.) VNO is located in the lower part of your nose much lower than olfactory cells and are tuned to receive such signals. What does the message say?’ I feel excited!’ Naturally you fall in love. Such chemical communication is intrapersonal and at unconscious level.
If body chemistry work should not I expect to bond with Cosmos in a permanent way? Is there some common ground?
Death of stars gives rise to new stars in cosmos: those elements spewed out of a dying star are what make up calcium in our bones and iron in the blood. Can we think of life on Earth without oxygen? Or for that matter carbon? These two also are by courtesy of a supernova.
In a manner of speaking we are ‘star children’ shaped by stellar events.
If all life forms as well as celestial bodies are evolved out of interstellar gases and dust do we have a specific centre? Every element in our body has been a wanderer among clouds of interstellar gas, and having come together by some sort of an arrangement should we not have been equally at home in cosmos as well?
To all intents and purpose we consider the Earth as our home and millennia of living here has shut out much of our cosmic ancestry; and in compensation we have acquired an ability to live on the Earth.
Our chemical ancestry is little understood and we think earth in terms of material aspects. Our thoughts ride on the wing of non material cues. If I smell chestnut being roasted around I am feeling homesick already of eating it in the special way mother baked for children. My thoughts are teased our by it. Time is compressed and also space. On the wings of chemical molecules homesickness spreads its wings. The fault is not in our stars but body chemistry. My body is shaped from Cosmos and my thoughts can leapfrog over reason despite what some skeptics might say. They cannot think straight and without the aid of material proof.
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)
benny

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FRANCIS WILLIAM ASTON (British) (1877  –  1945)
Physicist/Chemist.

Invented the mass spectrograph, an instrument by which the stable chemical elements can be analysed in terms of their separate isotopes. Isotopes and varieties of the same element having the same chemical properties but different masses – for example uranium 235 and uranium 238 which have to be separated to make nuclear fuel or nuclear weapons. Aston working with J.J. Thomson of Cambridge set out to find if stable elements had isotopes like the known radioactive ones. In 1919 he perfected a mass spectrograph in which isotopes were separated by an ingenious combination of electric and magnetic fields. He rapidly analysed some 50 of the 92 known elements and demonstrated that nearly all possessed isotopes were not whole number multiples of the mass of the simplest atom, hydrogen. Instead they showed a mass defect accounted for (according to Einstein’s famous equation e=mc2) by the energy used up in binding the atomic nuclei together. For this significant level amount Aston was awarded the Nobel prize for Chemistry (1922).
Our understanding of isotopes is fundamental to our understanding of atomic nature.
compiler:benny

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