Sequel to an Essay on the Constitution of the Atmosphere, Published in the Philosophical Transactions for 1826; With Some Account of the Sulphurets of Lime
The complete archive of the Royal Society journals, including some of the most significant scientific papers ever published since 1665, is to be made freely available electronically for the first time until 2007.
The archive contains seminal research papers including accounts of Michael Faraday's groundbreaking series of electrical experiments, Isaac Newton's invention of the reflecting telescope, and the first research paper published by Stephen Hawking.
The Society's online collection, which until now only extended back to 1997, contains every paper published in the Royal Society journals from the first ever peer-reviewed scientific journal, Philosophical Transactions in 1665, to the most recent addition, Interface.
You can register for free. So now, for a time at least, you can read free of charge some extraordinary historical documents. Here are a few examples:
- On the Constitution of the Atmosphere by John Dalton
- On the Action of Radium Emanations on Diamond by William Crookes
- The Separation of the Most Volatile Gases from Air without Liquefaction by James Dewar
- On the Compressibilities of Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, and Carbonic Oxide between One Atmosphere and Half an Atmosphere of Pressure, and on the Atomic Weights of the Elements Concerned.--Preliminary Notice by Lord Rayleigh
Note: this facility seems to have been withdrawn?
A NASA press release claims that the Opportunity rover "has demonstrated some rocks on Mars probably formed as deposits at the bottom of a body of gently flowing saltwater." "Bedding patterns in some finely layered rocks indicate the sand-sized grains of sediment that eventually bonded together were shaped into ripples by water at least five centimeters (two inches) deep, possibly much deeper, and flowing at a speed of 10 to 50 centimeters (four to 20 inches) per second," said Dr. John Grotzinger, rover science-team member from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.
A NASA press release indicates that NASA's Spirit, the first of two Mars Exploration Rovers on the surface within Mars' Gusev crater, has identified carbonate minerals "in the rover's first survey of the site with its infrared sensing instrument, called the miniature thermal emission spectrometer or Mini-TES. Carbonates form in the presence of water, but it's too early to tell whether the amounts detected come from interaction with water vapor in Mars' atmosphere or are evidence of a watery local environment in the past, scientists emphasized."
"We came looking for carbonates. We have them. We're going to chase them," said Dr. Phil Christensen of Arizona State University, Tempe, leader of the Mini-TES team. Previous infrared readings from Mars orbit have revealed a low concentration of carbonates distributed globally. Christensen has interpreted that as the result of dust interaction with atmospheric water. First indications are that the carbonate concentration near Spirit may be higher than the Mars global average.
After the rover drives off its lander platform, infrared measurements it takes as it explores the area may allow scientists to judge whether the water indicated by the nearby carbonates was in the air or in a suspected ancient lake. http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/spirit/20040109a/graph-carb...
This graph, consisting of data from the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's mini-thermal emission spectrometer, shows the light, or spectral, signatures of carbonates - organic molecules common to Earth that form only in water. The detection of trace amounts of carbonates on Mars may be due to an interaction between the water vapor in the atmosphere and minerals on the surface.
Image credit: NASA/JPL/Arizona State University
The BBC report that special interests in a number of developed countries wish to to be allowed to continue using a bromine containing gas, methyl bromide, for various purposes such as crop fumigation. Methyl bromide is known to destroy ozone, O3, (an allotrope of oxygen, O2) and this is being debated at an international meeting in Canada. The Montreal Protocol does allow continued use of ozone-destroying gases for purposes agreed to be "critical", but is this really critical?
There seems to be a possibility that nickel compounds might help in the electrolysis of water, the reaction at the centre of hydrogen fuel cells. Researchers at the Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, and at the French Atomic Energy Commission in Gif-sur-Yvette and attached a nickel compound that mimics hydrogenase enzymes (catalysts) and attached it to the surface of carbon nanotubes. This maximises the catalyst's surface area. The resulting material was tested using a proton-exchange membrane and produced hydrogen from a sulphuric acid solution. The result is only 1% as efficient than commercial platinum catalysts but is stable under typical fuel cell conditions, justifying further study.1
- 1. From Hydrogenases to Noble Metal-Free Catalytic Nanomaterials for H2 Production and Uptake,
, Science, 12/2009, Volume 326, Issue 5958, p.1384 - 1387, (2009)
The Hubble telescope has identified oxygen and carbon in the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet for the first time. The oxygen and carbon are evaporating from a "hot jupiter" planet HD 209458b, orbiting a star lying 150 light-years from Earth. HD 209458b is only 4.3 million miles from its Sun-like star, completing an orbit in less than 4 days. This is not a sign of life!