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How a Human Smell Receptor Works Is Finally Revealed
After decades of frustration, researchers have determined how an airborne scent molecule links to a human smell receptor.
Inside Ancient Asteroids, Gamma Rays Made Building Blocks of Life
A new radiation-based mechanism adds to the ways that amino acids could have been made in space and brought to the young Earth.
‘Fullertubes’ Join the Family of Carbon Crystals
The buckminsterfullerene revolution never came, but some researchers are eagerly exploring the properties of newfound carbon crystals known as fullertubes.
Machine Learning Highlights a Hidden Order in Scents
Efforts to build a better digital “nose” suggest that our perception of scents reflects both the structure of aromatic molecules and the metabolic processes that make them.
Molecule-Building Innovators Win Nobel Prize in Chemistry
The chemists Carolyn Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharpless were recognized for their development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry.
What Is Life?
Without a good definition of life, how do we look for it on alien planets? Steven Strogatz speaks with Robert Hazen, a mineralogist and astrobiologist, and Sheref Mansy, a chemist, to learn more.
Quantum Complexity Tamed by Machine Learning
If only scientists understood exactly how electrons act in molecules, they’d be able to predict the behavior of everything from experimental drugs to high-temperature superconductors. Following decades of physics-based insights, artificial intelligence systems are taking the next leap.
Chemistry Nobel Prize Honors Technique for Building Molecules
Benjamin List and David MacMillan received the 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their development of asymmetrical organocatalysis.
Secret Workings of Smell Receptors Revealed for First Time
Researchers have finally seen how some smell receptors bind to odor molecules. The work yields new insights into one of the most mysterious and versatile senses.