Featured Journal – Science


Absolutely everyone has heard of Science. With an incredible impact factor of 31.027, it is the world-leading journal for all areas of original scientific research, and only the best of the best work gets published in it. Founded in 1880 by Thomas Edison, Science has always featured only the most cutting edge research being carried out at the moment, leading to only 8% of the papers submitted to it being accepted.

Science doesn’t focus on a specific field, like many scientific journals, and publishes work from the entire spectrum of scientific research and discovery. This means that competition for publication is even fiercer, and getting your work published in this journal tends to be a huge career boost for researchers.

Publishing news, reports, full research articles, commentaries, reviews, perspectives, letters and technical comments, Science covers the full breadth of science research, and so appeals to a huge readership, which is estimated to be around 1 million.

You can view the latest issue online here, but you (or your institution) will need a subscription to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to view all of the content.

In Science today:

Abundant Metals Give Precious Hydrogenation Performance


Hydrogenation is conceptually a very simple reaction – it is simply the addition of H2 over a C=C or C=O bond. However, catalytic hydrogenation often requires the use of precious metals such as rhodium or palladium, which are very expensive. Furthermore, they are far less abundant than other metals, so a great deal of research is being undertaken at the moment to replace these metals with base metals such as iron which are cheaper, much more abundant and less toxic. This perspective highlights the need for such base metal catalysts, and gives some nice examples of some which have shown promising performance in the hydrogenation of organic molecules.


Amine(imine)diphosphine Iron Catalysts for Asymmetric Transfer Hydrogenation of Ketons and Imines


Following on from the perspective above, this report demonstrates the use of iron catalysts for efficient hydrogenation of enantiopure alcohols and amines – very valuable products. Careful design of chiral ligands led to the formation of a highly active catalytic species, which allowed for hydrogenation to take place with good turnover frequencies. Furthermore, the researchers have carefully thought through the mechanism of the catalysis, and given us a system which can be well understood and used to great effect. This is a great example of how an important and useful reaction type may no longer be completely reliant on precious metals.


Imaging the Absolute Configuration of a Chiral Epoxide in the Gas Phase

Chirality is an intrinsic structural property of a plethora of chemically and biologically relevant compounds, and so the determination of the absolute configuration of a molecule is very important. X-ray diffraction analysis can sometimes be utilised to solve this problem, but this relies on the production of suitable single crystals of the compound, and there are sometimes problems determining the structures of compounds containing only light atoms. In this report, the authors describe the use of foil-induced Coulomb explosion imaging to give unambiguous molecular structures of chiral molecules in the gas phase. So far, only small molecules have been used, but if this can be developed it will provide an amazing new tool which can quickly offer vital molecular information which so far has been inaccessible. Cool stuff!


Hepatitis C Virus E2 Envelope Glycoprotein Core Structure


The hepatitis C virus affects a significant amount of the world’s population, and has a higher death rate than HIV. Knowing the structure of such a virus is key to understanding how it affects the body and what can be done to fight it. Here, the authors describe the crystal structure of the E2 core of the virus, which is a key target for drug design. Although the entire structure of the virus is still unknown, this is a great development in its elucidation, and will give medicinal chemists valuable insight into how the virus attacks cells, and so how it can be stopped.


Science is a world-leading journal, which features a broad range of high-quality research from all aspects of scientific discovery. This is just a snapshot of the chemistry-related work being reported there this month, and if you’re interested in other areas of science, you would enjoy the other work being showcased as well. Science is a great resource for researchers, as well as an entertaining read for all science-lovers.


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