Nanotechnology and Chemical Engineering News, Articles, Videos

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Welcome to the Chemical Engineering News portal, your source of news, articles, links, and resources about chemical engineering, nanotechnology, and anything science related!

This website has initially started as a blog of a poor chemical engineering student by the name of Paulina (that’s me!) and a place for her to keep her resume for those who are searching the web for a Chemical Engineer Portfolio. When Paulina realized that her little blog has reached thousands of readers from over a 100 different countries, she decided to devote more time to covering news from the science world. Due to her education and professional background, the focus remains on Chemical Engineering and Nanotechnology but anything related to laboratories and science if a fair game to be written about!

Pro Bono Education Help – in addition to providing nanotechnology, chemical and engineering news, Paulina started providing free help to students in related fields (chemical and engineering in general), as well as advice on area of study selection. It started with students contacting her through the Chemical Engineering News website, Google Plus, and Facebook. Most commonly asked questions included how much do chemical engineers make? are there many jobs in nanotechnology? Should I study chemistry or chemical engineering? which degree is harder? etc. – Paulina did all she could to answer all of them and it grew from there. People started asking more advanced questions, such as help in selecting a project for a thesis statement/final project in B.S. in Chemical Engineering. If you’d like some advice on school, degree selection, or anythign related science(especially Nanotechnology and Chemical Engineerign), please us the email form located on the Contact page.

Paulina and Her Crocodile - The Founders of Chemical Engineering News

A Word From The Creator of Chemical Engineering News: – Updated: by at UIC – Department of Chemical Engineering, 810 S Clinton St Chicago, IL 60607, On 2015/01/30

Hello and welcome! I would like to sincerely first thank you for visiting my website!
When I first started the website in May of 2012 I have not dared to dream that it would be of interest to so many people! When I reached the first 2,000 readers I was simply stunned (as of July 2013 the website is getting almost double that amount every month and growing)! That, combined with so many kind letters that I have received from my visitors gave me the motivation needed to continue writing! You might imagine that studying for a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering degree does not leave much time for blogging and answering fan-mail but I promise to answer every email I receive and continue writing as often as humanly possible – all thanks to you my kind visitor!

Thank you once again and please feel free to browse the Chemical Engineering News website and say hi using the email form on my contact page!

Sincerely Yours,


Asteroid Mining Company, NASA, Will Explore Stocks of Planetary Resources After Manned Mars Mission Flight in 2020

Asteroid Mining Company Finding Stocks of Planetary Resources by Katie Braun

In Search of Stocks of Planetary Resources: Future Asteroid Mining Operations – Artist’s Impression by Katie Braun

In 2010, President Barack Obama cancelled the NASA Constellation program – the United States’ return trip to the moon- but identified a new target instead.  In preparation for a manned Mars mission flight in 2020, America would travel to a near-Earth asteroid. This was reaffirmed during his Reddit AMA in 2012, where he typed, “we are focused on a potential mission to a [sic] asteroid as a prelude to a manned Mars flight.”

In ten years or so, perhaps a little longer with the uncertainties of planning and asteroid orbits factored in, America- and we as a unified humankind- will once again venture off of our homeworld to set foot on a new celestial body. While this mission is cause for excitement for everyone, especially the science-inclined readers of Chemical Engineering News, the possibilities this raises for the future are of particular interest to said chemical engineers.

NASA – An Asteroid Mining Company?

It’s nothing new- we’ve been thinking about the benefits of off-planet mining for quite some time. Harvesting resources such as titanium, nickel, iron, carbon, hydrogen, and others, as well as precious materials such as cobalt or platinum, brings forth a host of obvious benefits. Our Earth will one day be exhausted, of course, but there’s also the free market to consider. If traveling to an asteroid and mining tungsten becomes a cost-effective way to acquire this necessary element, you can bet it won’t be long until a dozen competing for-profit companies enter the asteroid business. The complexities of corporations owning asteroids aside, this will open up a variety of exotic-sounding jobs.
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Ancient Chemical Engineers and History of Chemical Engineering

Ever since junior high, I have been a bit of a history buff with my favorite era being the ancient time and my favorite topic being the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. I never pursued this professionally nor academically past high school – with exception of some history courses at Loyola University Chicago during my undergrad days. That being said, I try to keep up and expand my knowledge in this field whenever I have some free time, which, admittedly, doesn’t happen too often. My two top sources of information in this subject include “Wikipedia-surfing” and cable TV, chiefly History Channel. The latest fad on the latter one is a series of loosely related series and specials about ancient engineers and the marvels of ancient technology. Not all of it is new to me but some revelations have indeed blown me away! For instance, did you know the Roman Empire had a ship named “Forty” that was bigger than modern aircraft carriers and could transport in excess of 7,000 Roman legionnaires? Needless to say I’ve been hooked on those shows, so I decided to add a little ‘History’ to the ‘News’ and write an article related to ancient engineering here on Chemical Engineering News. The other day, I watched an episode that investigated ancient engineers and compared them to the greatest scientific mind of our times, Albert Einstein. this made me wonder if there were any Ancient Chemical Engineers, who were they, what did they do, and how did they fit into the History of Chemical Engineering in general? Lets take a closer look at this.
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Attorney Peter Mavrick Advice: What Should U.S. Engineers do When Looking to Work Overseas

Attorney Peter Mavrick recently was asked to render advice in connection with a chemical engineer who would be working outside the U.S. for a multi-national corporation. The legal advice involved protecting the legal and financial interest of the chemical engineer in this financial relationship. Without divulging detailed information, the following are the topics on which Mr. Mavrick was asked to render legal advice: (1) choice of law provisions; (2) arbitration; (3) severance; and (4) compensation for tax considerations. This article will discuss two of the above topics: choice of law and severance.

Choice of law provisions allow the contracting parties to choose the law of a forum state or nation that a court must apply in the event of a contractual dispute. For example, a party could sue for breach of contract in Florida and require the Florida court to apply California law to interpret the contract. Such provisions would allow a national or multinational entity to enjoy uniformity in the law applicable to its contracts. Choice of law provision also could allow a party to choose the laws of a forum that are more favorable to that party.
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Chemical Engineering Jokes and Funny Stories About Engineers

Chemical Engineer Joke

Chemical Engineer Joke

1) Chemical Engineers vs. Chemists

Question: What’s the difference between Chemists and Chemical Engineers?
Answer: Chemical Engineers get paid and Chemists teach chemistry.

2) Chemical Engineer Flirting

Question: How does a Chemical Engineer flirt?
Answer: “Are you made of copper and tellurium? Because you are so CuTe!

3) Bear in polar Water

Question: Why did the white bear dissolve in water?
Answer: Because it was polar.

4) Civil vs. Mechanical Engineers

Question: What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers?
Answer: Mechanical Engineers build weapons and Civil Engineers build targets.

5) Civil vs. Chemical Engineers

Question: What is the difference between Chemical and Civil Engineers?
Answer: Chemical Engineers build targets that explode much better.

6) Neutron at a Bar

A neutron walks into a bar; he asks the bartender:  “How much for a beer?”
The bartender looks at him and says: “For you, it’s no charge.”

7) Simple Math

Question: How does a Chemical Engineer multiplies 2 by 2?
Answer: He uses a slide rule, gets a result of 3.99 and calls it 4 to the nearest significant figure

8) Broken Car

A Mechanical, Chemical, and Computer Engineer are on a road trip. Suddenly, the car squeaks and grinds to a halt. The Chemical Engineer says: “did you hear that squeak? That’s contaminated fuel, so we better clean the fuel lines!”
“Nah,” replies the Mechanical Engineer, “that was the piston seizing, so we better take the engine apart quick!”
The Computer Engineer remains quiet and after some prodding from the other two, he replies shyly “Maybe if we could get out of the car and get back in again?”

9) Human Body Design – Is God an Engineer?

Who engineered the human body?
Mechanical Engineer – Look at all those joints!
Chemical Engineer – Think of all the mass and energy balance!
Electrical Engineer – Look at all those neurons and electrical connections in our bodies!
Civil Engineer – Who else would put a sewage pipe right next to a playground?!!

10) The Frog Princess and a Chemical Engineer

A man wearing a white lab coat was walking down a meadow path when he spotted a frog. The frog called out to him “if you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful princess!” Without much thought, the man gently took the frog in both his hands and deposited it in his lab coat’s pocket.

The frog called out again, “If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful princess, and stay with you for the weekend!”
The man took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and put it back in his coat pocket.

The frog tried again – “If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful princess, stay with you for a whole week AND do anything you want!” but the man simply took the frog out of his pocket again, smiled, and put it back.

The exasperated frog called out to him one last time: “What is wrong with you dude? I just told you that I’m a beautiful princess, that I’ll stay with you for a week and do anything you want. All you have to do is kiss me, so why don’t you?”

The man, looking slightly amused, said, “Listen, I’m a chemical engineer, so I REALLY don’t have time for a girlfriend right now, but a talking frog is pretty damn cool thing to have!”

11) How Many Engineers Does it Take to Change a Light bulb

How many first year engineering students does it take to change a light bulb?
None. That’s a second year subject.

How many second year engineering students does it take to change a light bulb?
One, but the rest of the class copies the report.

How many third year engineering students does it take to change a light bulb?
“Will this question be in the final examination?”

How many civil engineers does it take to change a light bulb?
Two. One to do it and one to steady the chandelier.

How many electrical engineers does it take to change a light bulb?
None. They simply redefine darkness as the industry standard.

How many computer engineers does it take to change a light bulb?
“Why bother? The socket will be obsolete in six months anyway.”

How many mechanical engineers does it take to change a light bulb?
Five. One to decide which way the bulb ought to turn, one to calculate the force required, one to design a tool with which to turn the bulb, one to design a comfortable – but functional – hand grip, and one to use all this equipment.

How many nuclear engineers does it take to change a light bulb?
Seven. One to install the new bulb and six to figure out what to do with the old one for the next 10,000 years.

12) Mathematicians and Chemical Engineers

Three engineers and three mathematicians are on a train going to a conference. The mathematicians each bought a ticket. The engineers have one between them. As the conductor starts through the train car, the engineers all rush off and jump into the small lavatory.

The conductor knocks on the door of the lavatory and says “Ticket, please.” At which point the engineers slide the one ticket through a ventilation slot and the conductor punches it. The mathematicians think this looks like a good trick and decide to try it on the train ride back home.

As the mathematicians board the train they have one ticket between them. The engineers have no ticket!
After a while, one of the engineers says, “Here comes the conductor!” So all three mathematicians jump up and run into the lavatory with their one ticket.

One of the engineers goes to the lavatory door and says “Ticket, please.”

Planet Made of Diamond Twice the Size of Earth Discovered in Outer Space

Scientists have made a stunning discovery 40 light-years away from us in Cancer the crab constellation. A Yale University team of researchers under the leadership of Nikku Madhusudhan claim to have found a Super-Earth orbiting a star. That was back in 2012. Now, another team found an Earth-sized planet also made of diamond! The findings have just been published in a peer-reviews Astrophysical Journal.

The newly discover star (not a planet as in the case of 55 Cancri e) is so far the coldest and faintest white dwarf star discovered to date. It also has a companion star, a pulsar designated as PSR J2222-0137. The white dwarf is a star that nearly exhausted its nuclear fuel, so it begins to cool down. In this case the star became so cold that carbon contained within it has crystallized into a diamond.

So, its not one but two diamonds at least matching the size of our planet. If there are two, can there be more? If scientists are to be believed – and I hope they are – mega-sized diamonds are a common occurrence in space. They might be commonplace enough to warrant a new classification of planets made of carbon turned into diamond, at least that’s what National Geographic stipulates.

So, what does it mean for us? Well, for one – if you are investing into diamonds you better sell them before several billion years pass on the off-chance that our Sun turns into diamond itself! :)

What do you think? Are those planets or stars actually made of diamonds?



El Chupacabra Captured Alive in South Texas [Video]

Alleged El Chupacabra Captured in Texas

Alleged El Chupacabra Captured in Texas

A live specimen of the legendary blood-sucking monster ‘El Chupacabra’ has apparently been captured by a Texas resident, CNN News reports.

According to the article published by CNN, a couple from Ratcliffe, TX has spotted a freakishly looking canine munching on some corn up in a tree on their property.

Texan Jackie Stock describes the creature her husband subsequently captured and put in a cage as having a “hairless back, large claws, and countless teeth.” The description fits the mythical El Chupacabra, a beast from North and Central American folklore, sightings of which has been reported for hundreds of years, mainly in the Southern United States and Mexico.
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Nanotechnology Courses in Chicago, IL

Ottie, one of the Chemical Engineering News readers sent in a question asking if there are  any “Chicago City Colleges that are offering nanotechnology courses directly, not through a 3rd party?” The answer, unfortunatelly, is no – at the present time there are no Nanotech classes offered by the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC). There are some alternatives though, so lets take a look at the Nanotechnology courses in Chicago, IL (as well as the Chicagoland suburbs).

Back in 2012, Oakton Community College announced new Nanotechnology class offering. According to the press release:

“Fundamentals of Nanotechnology” kicks off the new Nanotechnology Employment, Education, and Economic Development Initiative (NE3I), a collaborative effort to bring nanotechnology education to Oakton and area high schools. Other partners include the Village of Skokie; the Illinois Science +Technology Park (IS+TP), housing more than a dozen science and technology companies; NanoInk, Inc., which develops nanotechnology curriculum; and the North Suburban Educational Region for Vocational Education (NSERVE), a career and technical education consortium of nine high schools in Chicago’s northern suburbs.”

I can definitely recommend this initiative, because of first-hand knowledge of the  program’s creation. During my employment at NanoInk, Inc. (2012-2013), I have worked with the NanoProfessor team (NanoInk’s education arm). As part of that initiative, I have been developing labs for use in Nanotechnology courses and publications. I have also personally trained the professors from Oakton Community College – chiefly I had the privilidge of “instructing the instructors” in use of various machines used in Nanotech industry. Among others, we covered the use of NLP200, Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Fluorescent Microscope, and qNano.

Unfortunately, Chicago is not big on Nanotechnology yet, so I double checked that Nanotech classes are still offered at Oakton – they are! According to the Oakton Community College 2013-2014 course catalog, Fall ’14 semmester features a nanotech course classified under the Pgysics Department – PHY 140: Fundamentals of Nanotechnology 1. The course’s description from the catalog tells us that:

“Course introduces the nanoworld, including topics in nanophysics, nanochemistry and nanobiology, including forces, fluidics, wave nature of light, atoms and molecules, nanoscale structures, biological function at the nanoscale and practical applications in each field. Hands-on laboratory activities make use of dip-pen nanolithography, atomic force microscopy, and fluorescence microscopy. Prerequisite: MAT 070 or placement into MAT 110, and one year of high school biology and one year of high school chemistry. Fee $50.”

Just to be sure, I checked the catalog of each and every one of the seven City Colleges of Chicago but failed to find any Nanotechnology classes. The only reference to Nanotech courses I could find on was a press release announcing a new partnership with NanoInk – now a defunct company, so it seems the program has ground to a halt, at least for now.

That being said, if you are a CCC student, check with your professors about internship opportunities at Nanotechnology companies – that’s how I found my way to NanoInk in the first place.

There are some other opportunities too. Northwestern has several Nanotechnology learning opportunities and Nanotechnology research. There are also PhD programs at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Chicago, as well as several seminars. Northwestern sponsors an annual Nanotech seminar in September and there should be an upcoming Nanotechnology presentation at UIC as well – I will post more information as soon as it becomes available.

I will keep updating this page with new programs and events, so please check back in the near future. Also, I suggest keeping an eye on the U.S. Government’s National Nanotechnology Initiative

Thanks for stopping by my Chemical Engineering and Nanotechnology News website!


Curing CVI – U.S. Researcher Invents a New Organ: a Miniature Heart!

The saying ‘Need is the mother of invention’ has been proven true once again! This time it has been Q.E.D’ed by Narine Sarvazyan, Ph.D., a researcher from George Washington University who invented a new human organ – a mini heart.

Dr. Sarvazyan needed to find a new way of delivery (return) of blood from veins that are absent a functioning valve. In order to do that, she turned her attention towards stem cells – instead of using them for repairing existing organs, she decided to defy the canon and use them to create a completely new organ – first such an application of stem cells in modern science!
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Personal Injury Attorney: No Litigation in Nanotech-Linked Mesothelioma Cases

Last February, I published an article investigating alleged links between carbon nanotubes, one of the wonder children of Nanotechnology, and Mesothelioma, a rare type of malignant cancer. Now, a year on, it is high time to take another look at the subject. I started by checking with a personal injury attorney – after all, if a new source of cancer is found, especially one originating in a workplace environment, an injury lawyer would be one of the first  people to find out about it. Even so, I needed somebody qualified to answer my questions.
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Need More Reasons to Become a Chemical Engineer?

This could be a perfect example for my “How the Science Changed my Life” series! To be more specific, this article could read How Science Changed Kyle Bishop’s Life – or at least his bank account that just went up by $437,000 from a National Science Foundation award – congratulations Dr. Bishop!
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Environmental Engineering Program Offered at University of New Hampshire!

Good news for engineering students and professionals in New England – UNH now offers an Environmental Engineering Program! I have been contacted by a representative of University of New Hampshire (Linda Conti from the Professional Development & Training department) asking to share this info with the Chemical Engineering News readers.

University of New Hampshire Continuing Education for Professionals offers a new online course as part of the Environmental Engineering Program – Environmental Sampling & Analysis. The class is meant for both rookie and experienced professionals who are in the environmental remediation field and engage in testing and analyzing water, soil, and hazmat materials.
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Smart Contact Lens from Google can Measure Wearer’s Glucose Levels

Smart lens that can measure glucose levels in human body - image curtsy of Google.

Smart lens that can measure glucose levels in human body – image curtsy of Google.

BREAKING NEWS from the world of very small technologies: the tech giant Google has just announced it has a working prototype of a contact lens that can measure the glucose levels in the body of the person wearing them. Tiny sensors, located between layers of the lens, test for the amount of glucose in persons tears.

According to researchers from Google, the lens has a “tiny” wireless chip and a “miniaturised” glucose sensor that is embedded between two layers of material the lens is composed of.

The lens is still in a prototype stage and we will have to wait quite a while before they become commercially available. Google is working on a miniature LED light that would light up when worrying levels of glucose are detected.

“It’s still early days for this technology, but we’ve completed multiple clinical research studies which are helping to refine our prototype [..] We hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease” – Google Blog.
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