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Early contributions of crystallography to the atomic theory of matter
Giovanni Ferraris, Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Torino, Torino, Italy
Accepted: 2019-01-06 | Published Online: 2019-01-07 | DOI: 10.13128/Substantia-81
After briefly presenting early hypotheses on the submicroscopic origin of symmetry and polyhedral morphology in the crystals, the structural model proposed by Haüy in 1784, based on the periodic repetition of integrant molecules made up of simple molecules, is discussed. It is then highlighted how – through investigation of crystal hemihedry, isomorphism (mixed crystals) and optical activity – researches aiming at overtaking drawbacks of Haüy’s model brought basic ideas to achieve the modern knowledge of the atomic structure of matter. The atomic-scale interpretation of properties of the crystalline state soundly contributed, among others, to properly define molecules and atoms, determine the atomic weights, hypothesize stereoisomerism, build the periodic table of elements and define ionic radii and bond.
The increased anthropogenic gas emissions in the atmosphere and the rising of the Earth’s temperature: are there actions to mitigate the global warming?
Francesco Barzagli, Department of Chemistry, University of Florence, & ICCOM CNR, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
Fabrizio Mani, ICCOM CNR, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
Accepted: 2018-12-12 | Published Online: 2018-12-13 | DOI: 10.13128/Substantia-69
Some frozen bodies have been recently discovered in the Alp glaciers because the global warming is forcing the ice to retreat. Many years have passed since the first perception of a strong link between the temperature of the Earth and the amount of some gases in the atmosphere, the so called greenhouse gases. Today there is a general consensus among the governments, the scientists and industrial organizations of most countries in recognizing the relationship between the increase of the atmospheric CO2 concentration resulting from over a century of combustion of fossil fuels and the observed global warming. The development of technologies to reduce the anthropogenic emissions should not be further delayed, in accordance with the Paris Agreement that recommended keeping the global mean temperature well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
This paper gives an overview of the different greenhouse gases, their emissions by economic sectors and the international treaties that require the most developed countries to pursue the objective of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Amongst the different actions directed towards a low-carbon economy, the chemical capture of CO2 from large stationary emission points is the most efficient and widespread option. Additionally, new technologies are currently exploited to capture CO2 directly from air and to convert CO2 into fuels and valuable chemicals.
Similarities and contrasts in the structures and function of the calcium transporter ATP2A1 and the copper transporter ATP7B.
Giuseppe Inesi, California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, USA
Accepted: 2018-10-02 | Published Online: 2018-10-03 | DOI: 10.13128/Substantia-68
Ca2+ and Cu2+ ATPases are enzyme proteins that utilize ATP for active transport of Ca2+ or Cu2+ across intracellular or cellular membranes. These enzymes are referred to as P-type ATPases since they utilize ATP through formation of a phosphorylated intermediate (E-P) whose phosphorylation potential affects orientation and affinity of bound cations by means of extended conformational changes. Thereby specific cations are transported across membranes, forming transmembrane gradients in the case of Ca2+, or accepting Cu2+ from delivering proteins on one side of the membrane and releasing it to carrier proteins on the other side. Binding of Ca2+ or Cu2+ is required for enzyme activation and utilization of ATP by transfer of ATP terminal phosphate to a conserved aspartate residue. The ATPase protein is composed of a transmembrane region composed of helical segments and including the cation binding site (TMBS), and a cytosolic headpiece with three domains (A, N and P) containing the catalytic and phosphorylation site. The number of helical segments and the cytosolic headpieces present significant differences in the two enzymes. In addition, details of transmembrane cation extrusion are different. The Ca2+ and Cu2+ ATPase sustain vital physiological functions, such as muscle contraction and relaxation, activation of several cellular enzymes, and elimination of excesscation concentrations. A historic review of studies on chemical and physiological mechanisms of the Ca2+ and Cu2+ ATPase is presented.
The ‘Consciousness-Brain’ relationship
Jean-Pierre Gerbaulet*, N-LIGHT Endowment Fund, France
Pr. Marc Henry, Université de Strasbourg, France
(*) Contact author
Accepted: 2019-01-24 | Published Online: 2019-01-28 | DOI: 10.13128/Substantia-161
From a thought experiment on the observation of a human intellect by itself, we will attempt to demonstrate that: Unlike what many neuroscientists postulate, assemblies of neurons do not generate consciousness: it pre-exists any material system.