Evolutionary Design of Low Molecular Weight Organic Anolyte Materials for Applications in Nonaqueous Redox Flow Batteries
Background: To solve the grand challenges facing society — energy, water, climate, food, health — scientists and social scientists must work together. The prevailing term for this is interdisciplinarity. In this week’s special issue we take a closer look at that ideal versus reality. For instance, there is evidence that research that transcends conventional academic boundaries is harder to fund, do, review and publish — and those who attempt it struggle for recognition and advancement. The issue examines what governments, funders, journals, universities and academics must do to make interdisciplinary work thrive.
(For a primer on the current state of interdisciplinarity, check out our infographic that charts trends by country and discipline.)
Design challenge: While our special issue does not shy away from the current issues and controversies around interdisciplinary research, we do ultimately believe in our ability as a research community to solve our biggest challenges by working together. As such, we needed art for the issue that would mirror this message by visualizing the ideal we are supporting.
What better way to show that ideal – an interdisciplinary team of specialists working together for the greater good – than in a superhero comic style? We decided to put together a dream team of science and social science archetypes on the cover – a nod to the notion of an ideal, but equally so it’s a nod to our belief in the profound results such collaborations could yield.
We enlisted comic artist Dean Trippe to create heroes representing talents across various disciplines. He imagined the team with amazing attention to detail, from the Invisible Hand representing economics to Control-X, a data scientist. The character names and costumes are true to the best of classic comic style, with the occasional homage. (Can you spot them?)
We had a lot of fun making this one, but it did create a lot of questions for us along the way, particularly with regard to representing ideal forms that are intended to stand in for the real world. The bodies of superheroes are superior to even elite athletes – what does that mean for a woman’s form? Would it look sexist? Or what about age? Or race? We did our best to balance these concerns while keeping to a pure comic style. (Any departure from the classic style would have produced an unintended whiff of parody.)
Fans of comics will, I hope, welcome this cover, while others might be turned off by it, thinking comics childish or unsophisticated. Dean and I had some good conversations along the way while creating this one. He is a strong advocate of the positive force of comics to reach adults in a unique way, as can be found here. Bias against comics persists for various reasons - there is a history of sexism for sure - but the medium is gaining ground as feminist heroes and other sophisticated comic forms take shape.
PS. Please join the fun by sharing which #sciencesuperhero you are (or perhaps suggest who we could add to the cover team). Your sketches encouraged!
Computational and 13C Investigations of the Diazadienes and Oxazadienes Formed via the Rearrangement of Methylenecyclopropyl Hydrazones and Oximes
Single-Handed Helical Wrapping of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes by Chiral, Ionic, Semiconducting Polymers
Rhodium-Catalyzed Dynamic Kinetic Asymmetric Transformations of Racemic Allenes by the [3+2] Annulation of Aryl Ketimines
Racemization required: Rhodium(I)-catalyzed CH activation directed by unprotected ketimines initiates selective [3+2] cycloaddition with allenes, providing access to highly substituted indenylamines. The reaction proceeds through the dynamic kinetic asymmetric transformation of racemic allenes. The catalyst controls the enantio- and diastereoselectivity, the regioselectivities of the CH activation and allene incorporation, as well as the E/Z ratio.
Does the dehydrogenative coupling of aromatic compounds mediated by AlCl3 at high temperatures and also by FeCl3, MoCl5, PIFA, or K3[Fe(CN)6] at room temperature proceed by the same mechanism in all cases? With the growing importance of the synthesis of aromatic compounds by double CH activation to give various biaryl structures, this question becomes pressing. Since some of these reactions proceed only in the presence of non-oxidizing Lewis acids and some only in the presence of certain oxidants, the authors venture the hypothesis that, depending on the electronic structure of the substrates and the nature of the “catalyst”, two different mechanisms can operate. One involves the intermediacy of a radical cation and the other the formation of a sigma complex between the acid and the substrate. The goal of this Review is to encourage further mechanistic studies hopefully leading to an in-depth understanding of this phenomenon.
Where is the oxidant? Although the coupling of arenes in the presence of Lewis acids has been known for some time, the differentiation between reactions in the presence of a non-oxidizing Lewis acid (Scholl reaction) and in the presence of an oxidizing Lewis acid has been lost over the years. This Review highlights the similarities and differences between these reactions, which most probably proceed by two different mechanisms.
Ligand-Free Palladium-Mediated Site-Specific Protein Labeling Inside Gram-Negative Bacterial Pathogens
...an interesting application for Keira's work?