Web Pick of the Week
Science.gov, launched only a few months ago, is a large resource with a great deal to offer. Fourteen scientific and technical information organizations from ten major governmental science agencies have collaborated to create this website. The site provides free access to authoritative selected science information provided by the government agencies, including research and development results. You can use the browsable index for a broad range of topics--including science education, technology, energy, health, chemistry, math, and biology--or enter your own search terms.
The site does ask for a bit of patience. When you search by entering your own keywords, the site prompts you to select up to ten agencies databases to search from, so there is an extra step for you. But the rewards are good, as your chances of obtaining reputable and useful information are very high. Science.gov aims to serve "educational and library communities, as well as business people, entrepreneurs, agency scientists, and anyone with an interest in science."
Biodegradable Plastic that Imitates Bacteria
Professor Geoffrey Coates at Cornell University acheived a long sought-after scientific goal when he found an economical way to make a polyester commonly found in many types of bacteria into an easily biodegradable plastic. This "green" plastic could have uses spanning from packaging to biomedical devices.
Professor Coates discovered a method of synthesizing this polymer that is widely found in nature, particularly in some bacteria, where it is formed as intracellular deposits and used as a storage form of carbon and energy. The polymer shares many of the physical and mechanical properties of petroleum-based polypropylene, with the added benefit of being biodegradable.
This new discovery was made public just this past weekend at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans. Find out more details about how Professor Coates performed this impressive feat of science through the link above.
The Franklin Institute gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the National Science Foundation and Unisys Corporation.
The Franklin Institute is the Demonstration Site for the
Mid-Atlantic Consortium, providing science and math
resources for teachers.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 9819641.
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