Goddess of Green Chemistry and Climate

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When the vice-chancellor of our university declared that they had come up with their own anthem “Rasayan Devike” (Goddess of Chemistry), I thought he was crazy. Who does that, I said to myself. Until now.

It has been five years since I graduated from this university. Today, I found out that the concept took birth to spread awareness about green chemistry – how old chemistry could help clean up its act with newer greener chemistry.

There’s actually a statue of the goddess near the vice-chancellor’s office. Makes me wonder the length to which the university must have gone to engage people in environmental protection. What were the odds of being ridiculed? 100%? Probably, because I heard no one talk about it the way I’m doing it now. I have a newfound respect for this.

Chances are students barely knew what it was all about. It may have been nothing but a stunt for them. Not to me anymore. History is filled with mythological characters. People have devised ways to celebrate these characters and what they symbolize.

Which takes me to another train of thought. Have you ever heard of the God of Climate? There are many weather gods – wind, thunder, rain, lightning. None for Climate. As NASA defines, “The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere “behaves” over relatively long periods of time.”

So, what am I proposing, you ask? I’m proposing a God of Climate, wait, no – a Goddess of Climate (it’s just more fun that way). I don’t know how this is going to help, but hey everything begins with an idea, right?

Is the earth adapting to climate change?

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dimitrisvetsikas1969

“Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.” – H. G. Wells

Species adapting to their environment is not new to scientists. When a species fails to do so, it is doomed towards extinction is an accepted fact. In one of my blog posts called ‘Global warming? Think again.‘, I mentioned that a type of corals called the Gorgonian corals were flourishing with rise in ocean temperature.

Can the newly discovered life growing on plastic waste be considered another proof of adaptation? A whole new group of microscopic creatures has been found growing of the vast amount of discarded plastic floating in the world’s oceans, according to ABC.net.au. While that is no excuse for us to continue dumping plastic waste in oceans, it offers a fresh perspective on climate change.

It is possible that there might be many more species out there trying to adapt to climate change. As for humans, technology is on their side to help them sustain in such climatic conditions for now. It won’t be too long until we have to struggle for adaptation as well. Current technologies are under scrutiny as to whether they are sustainable to help us to sustain on this planet. Perhaps a rather unconventional route towards adaptation might lie in learning more about the ability of a Dutch world record holder, Wim Hof, commonly nicknamed the Iceman for his ability to withstand extreme cold.

Global warming? Think again.

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“More water vapor enters the air as the planet warms, and this should amplify the CO2 -caused run-away heating except for one thing. Every now and again, the water vapor condenses into clouds, and then (sometimes) falls as rain or show. Clouds and snow reflect the incoming sunlight, and this leads to global cooling. Rain and snow drive water vapor from the air, and this leads to accelerated global cooling. To the extent that clouds are chaotic, and out of man’s control, the global climate should be chaotic too. So far, no one has a very good global model for cloud formation, or for rain and snowfall, but it’s well accepted that these phenomena are chaotic and self-similar (each part of a cloud looks like the whole). Clouds may also admit “the butterfly effect” where a butterfly in China can cause a hurricane in New Jersey if it flaps at the right time.” – Enlightening article, read more: http://www.rebresearch.com/blog/global-warming-takes-a-15-year-rest/

I mentioned something similar in one of my previous posts (Keeping an open mind, dated Feb 19, 2013). I said, “Global warming. It is safer to say you don’t know if it is happening than to be blindly sure that it is happening because everyone says so. Who’s to blame? Ineffective communication? I think I do not know much about it to come to a conclusion. When we talk about global warming, it is more of a global phenomenon. There are many problems that are common to all parts of the world, but not all of the problems, some of them need local care. Global warming is just a small part of the puzzle.”

When stony corals die and gorgonian corals flourish as the ocean warms up, when greenhouse emissions warm up the planet while particles; clouds and ice reflect the sun, I don’t know what to believe. Everything around us seems to be adapting or it is extinct and we are all in the same boat, so that applies to us too. So, all in all, I think green seems to be a good way to go about our current problems, especially pollution and waste.

Isosteres

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Volunteer image author Kangheungbo

Isosteres are substances with similar molecular and electronic characteristics. They may not be structurally related, but they often have similar physical properties. They are chemical substances, atoms or substituents that possess nearly equal or similar molecular shape and volume, approximately the same distribution of electrons and which exhibit similar chemical properties. Benzene and pyridine are classical examples of isosteres.

Can a carcinogenic molecule be made safe by knowing its isostere ? Yes. Look at this for example.

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Does it mean all F isosteric substitutions are safe?

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Does it depend on the position?

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Silicon as an isostere for Carbon:

Si is the 2nd most abundant element on the planet. Naturally occurring Si-C bonds are unknown. Even if they were, such bonds must have immediately formed some other bond.

Silicon substitution in acetylcholine analogs:

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Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter. A muscarinic receptor agonist is an agent that enhances the activity of muscarinic acetylcholine receptor.

Silane analogue of Polyethylene, Air stable:

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In the presence of water and/or soil, siloxanes hydrolyze to smaller oligomers and monomeric 1,1-dimethylsilanediol.

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Mammals also rapidly oxidize silicon-hydrogen bond, whereas the carbons attached to silicon are metabolized much like simple hydrocarbons.

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DDT, DDD & Silicon isosteres:

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DDT  = dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane

DDD = dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane

Why is DDT good? Millions of lives were saved against mosquitoes with the help of it. Why is DDT bad? It turned out to be an endocrine disruptor, genetoxic, persistent and exteremely hydrophobic chemical.

Insecticide MTI-800:

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If you replace C with Si, no mortality of fish is observed at 50 mg/l. While with C in it, Fish LD50 is 3 mg/l.

Further reading:

Last edited: December 19th 2017