27 December 2017

Research Picks Weekly – 27 December 2017

Chemistry, a Nobel pursuit
The Nobel Prize is often considered the highest of achievements in the various fields of endeavour in which it is offered. Research into the adolescence of Chemistry laureates suggests that the existence of a “nuclear” family, extended family, and an outstanding teacher are present in the teenage years of those winners. The research also suggests that an early interest in science is critical as is an interest in three other pursuits: reading, sports, and music.
Shavinina, L.V. (2017) ‘What lessons can innovation education learn from childhood and adolescent education of the Nobel Prize winners in chemistry?‘ Int. J. Innovat. Educ., Vol.4, No.2/3, pp. 191-213

Are you board in maths class?

Board games could be a useful adjunct to traditional mathematics elementary school teaching methods according to new research. A small-scale study over the course of a month showed that creativity improved in the board gamers compared to those young students who did not have board games incorporated into their lessons. They found that free-play group students’ flexibility, a part of creativity, improved significantly. Teacher intervention in those with lower scores helped and for higher-achieving students benefits were seen even without teacher interventions.
Park, J. and Lee, K. (2017) ‘Using board games to improve mathematical creativity‘, Int. J. Knowledge Learning, Vol 12, No. 1, pp 49-58.


Researchers from Malaysia review the state of the art when it comes how nanocellulose might be exploited as a novel material in engineering. They point out that nanocellulose can be harvested from abundant natural sources, such as algae, bacteria, wood, and other plant materials and has an “excellent” range of properties. The presence of hydrophilic groups means that to develop it further as a polymer-type material there is a need to carry out surface modifications that allows it to be used in a wide variety of composites.
Ya’acob, W.M.H.W. and Aziz, F.A. (2017) ‘Nanocellulose: a promising material for engineering – an overview’, Int. J. Materials Engineering Innovation, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp.71–86.

Spice of life
Curcumin, also known as turmeric, is a mild-tasting yellow spice. Much research has been carried out into its putative medicinal properties although there is little strong evidence of any particular benefits to any natural product component of the spice. Nevertheless, docking studies with different target proteins implicated in Alzheimer’s disease suggest that it, or a pharmaceutical product derived from turmeric, might be an avenue of research worthy of pursuit. The most pertinent protein target in Alzheimer’s disease is acetylcholinesterase, and also cholinesterase and inducible nitric oxide synthase. Given that any interaction might be exploited to modulate the activity of an enzyme, this research takes a step towards further investigation of curcumin in this fatal disease.
Saha, N.G., Roy, S., and Sriraman, S., (2017) ‘Interaction of curcumin with different target proteins of Alzheimer’s disease: docking and MD simulation studies‘ Int. J. Computat. Biol. Drug Design, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp. 315-330

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