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Examining the intricacies of the nitrogen cycle

Nitrogen may not get the same level of attention as its neighbors on the periodic table, carbon and oxygen. But like its neighbors, it's an element we can't live without.

Wildfire smoke may have amplified Arctic phytoplankton bloom

Smoke from a Siberian wildfire may have transported enough nitrogen to parts of the Arctic Ocean to amplify a phytoplankton bloom, according to new research from North Carolina State University and the International Research ...

Building better quantum sensors

Usually, a defect in a diamond is a bad thing. But for engineers, miniscule blips in a diamond's otherwise stiff crystal structure are paving the way for ultrasensitive quantum sensors that push the limits of today's technologies. ...

New reaction facilitates drug discovery

Chemists at ETH Zurich have found a facile method that allows a commonly used building block to be directly converted into other types of important compounds. This expands the possibilities of chemical synthesis and facilitates ...

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Nitrogen

Nitrogen (pronounced /ˈnaɪtrədʒɨn/) is a chemical element that has the symbol N and atomic number 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78% by volume of Earth's atmosphere.

Many industrially important compounds, such as ammonia, nitric acid, organic nitrates (propellants and explosives), and cyanides, contain nitrogen. The extremely strong bond in elemental nitrogen dominates nitrogen chemistry, causing difficulty for both organisms and industry in converting the N2 into useful compounds, and releasing large amounts of energy when these compounds burn or decay back into nitrogen gas.

The element nitrogen was discovered by Daniel Rutherford, a Scottish physician, in 1772. Nitrogen occurs in all living organisms. It is a constituent element of amino acids and thus of proteins, and of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). It resides in the chemical structure of almost all neurotransmitters, and is a defining component of alkaloids, biological molecules produced by many organisms.

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