Archive for chemistry

Miller-Urey experiment revisited

Posted in science with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2008 by airtightnoodle

The famous Miller-Urey experiment, frequently attacked by creationists, appears to have produced more intriguing results than the original scientists first suspected.  The experiment is famous for producing amino acids from an apparatus filled with methane, hydrogen, and ammonia–the conditions that were once believed to represent the early Earth’s atmosphere.  Eventually these conditions were considered to be inaccurate.

Jeffrey Bada, one of Miller’s former students, found that Miller had done more work on this issue that was never published when he inherited Miller’s possessions after his death.

Miller had left samples in a box:

…from a device that spewed a concentrated stream of primordial gases over an electrical spark. It was a high-powered variation on the steady-steam apparatus that earned him fame – but unlike that device, it appeared to have produced few amino acids, and was unmentioned in his landmark 1953 Science study, “A Production of Amino Acids Under Possible Primitive Earth Conditions.”

Bada and his team analyzed these samples that Miller left behind and found no fewer than 22 amino acids.

This should comfort all the packrats out there.  Don’t throw anything away!  🙂

You can read more about this here.


Hydrogen economy on the way?

Posted in environmental science with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2008 by airtightnoodle


Scientific American recently reported on some breakthroughs in developing hydrogen fuel cells.  As many people are aware, hydrogen can be used as an alternative fuel and has been researched for years, but so far it has not proven to be cost-effective. 

Due to some recent breakthroughs in research, hydrogen power may be closer than we think.

Click here to read the rest of the article.