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Logan: Nets seek answers, trying to get their chemistry right – Newsday

Despite acquiring "third star" James Harden one month ago to form an All-Star triumvirate with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets have traveled a bumpy road since then. Irving was on a personal leave of absence at the time, Durant was just coming off one COVID-19 quarantine and since has undergone a second quarantine that ended Friday.

The Nets Big 3 played their seventh game together as a unit Saturday night at Golden State to begin a five-game West Coast road trip that figured to be their toughest test of the season, and they didnt have starting center DeAndre Jordan, who missed the game for personal reasons. Counting Golden State, the Nets had just 10 games left before the All-Star break in March, and they still are searching for answers.

The good thing is they have played their best against the top teams, and they are facing four teams with winning records plus a quality Kings team that slipped one game below .500 with a loss on Friday night.

"We seem to get up and play better against the better teams," coach Steve Nash said before the Nets departed on their cross-country trek. "The West Coast definitely will challenge us. All these teams [also including the Suns, Lakers and Clippers] are very good. I hope we match the level that is asked of us and play to our level.

"The idea is to win games, but the big picture is: Are we getting better? Are we putting ourselves in position to be a more formidable team down the road? Thats the No. 1 priority for me over wins and losses. Weve got so many guys that have been in and out of the lineup, so were still in our infancy as far as trying to jell and put this group together."

The Nets recently snapped a three-game losing streak that was their worst of the season with a win over the Pacers on Wednesday in their best defensive performance of the season. Durant said his time off allowed him to focus on what the Nets have to work on most.

"Just being on the same page to start games on the defensive side," Durant said. Pointing to the final game of their recent losing streak, he added, "I watched the Detroit game, and we were down 14 points at the end of the first quarter. No matter who were playing against, thats a big deficit. We just want to start off games with intensity and keep building from there."

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Long road trips offer an opportunity to build an off-the-court bond that translates to better performance on the court, and that is especially true in the midst of a pandemic when everyone is stressed by the need to observe strict NBA health and safety protocols.

"With the bus rides, plane rides, being in the locker room with these guys, I feel like we still are in a bubble no matter what," Durant said. "I think were building that chemistry and getting to know each other on a personal level.

"Obviously, being out and going out to dinners and being able to hang out in public together definitely would help, but I still think were getting a lot of team bonding and building as were going through the season. Its about executing what we need to do on both ends of the floor, staying on one page, and I think were trending in the right direction."

The Nets have made no secret of their championship aspirations, and its obvious they have one of the most high-powered offenses in the league. But the win over the Pacers showed the importance of communication and what Nash describes as "connectivity" on defense to their long-term success.

The coach said the Nets are a quiet team, so this road trip comes at a great point in the season because it might help to galvanize them. "In the old days, we bonded by going out to dinner together, going to a bar," Hall of Famer Nash said of his playing days. "You cant do that in COVID. Its not a normal world.

"Its a challenge for us being a new group, new [coaching] staff, the changes, the trade, COVID. We just havent had a clean runway. In the good, old days, I would have put my credit card behind the bar and told the guys to go out and have a good time, but that aint happening in COVID. So well have to find creative ways to grow and find that bond."

Greg Logan has worked for Newsday since 1982 covering a wide array of sports and events, currently including the Brooklyn Nets beat.

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Logan: Nets seek answers, trying to get their chemistry right - Newsday

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Finding the Right Chemistry: Balancing Family and Nuclear Safeguards – International Atomic Energy Agency

By analysing samples to verify countries declarations of nuclear material, Urska Repinc, an Analytical Chemist, contributes to the IAEAs mission to verify the peaceful use of nuclear material an activity known as nuclear safeguards.

I feel privileged to work at the IAEA, and I have a strong sense of responsibility for the results we report. This position allows me to use my knowledge, skills and abilities in a challenging way, says Repinc.

Repinc works in the IAEA Office of Safeguards Analytical Laboratories, which comprises two laboratories: the Nuclear Material Laboratory (NML) and the Environmental Sample Laboratory (ESL). Both laboratories analyse samples collected by IAEA inspectors in the field. The NML, where she works, analyses uranium and plutonium samples to verify nuclear material declarations, while the ESL mainly analyses cotton swipe samples to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material.

Urska supports the work in almost all of the laboratory areas in NML, and she assists the other analysts in the treatment and measurement of nuclear material samples, said Steven Balsley, Director of the Office of Safeguards Analytical Services, IAEA. The NML is a center of excellence for the treatment, chemical processing, and measurement of nuclear material samples.

Hailing from the town of Idrija, Slovenia, Repinc studied radiochemistry at the Jozef Stefan Institute (JSI), in the capital Ljubljana. It was there that Repinc began her work on uranium analysis.

The way she undertook training and her research work from the very start, we realized she was a very talented analytical chemist and determined to achieve the best results, said Milena Horvat, Repincs former senior colleague and current Head of the Department of Environmental Sciences at JSI.

Following advice from her colleagues in Ljubljana, Repinc visited Austria for technical training on the analysis of uranium at the IAEA before joining the European Commissions Joint Research Centre in Karlsruhe, Germany, for post-doctoral research. Using uranium again, Repinc investigated the elements ability to aid research for cancer therapy treatments.

Working with radioactive isotopes became more complicated, however, when Repinc started a family. As a radiologically exposed worker, health and safety regulations require the reporting of a pregnancy immediately. The reactions of some disappointed her, perceiving pregnancy as a potential career-stopper.

I believe family is important. It should not be considered a disadvantage to pause your career for family reasons, said Repinc. In science, its often challenging to be at the top level while meeting familial commitments.

To overcome this challenge, Repinc looked for a position that allowed her to meet both commitments: family and career. Her qualifications and experience proved ideally-suited for her position at the IAEA. Twelve years after her first visit to the laboratories, Repinc returned this time as a member of the Safeguards team. As a hard-working and talented professional, Repinc managed to find the right chemistry between family and career.

The Agency has established fellowships and training programmes to increase the participation of women and youth in nuclear science. Such opportunities include the Safeguards Traineeship, and the new Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme which recently awarded fellowships to 100 female students from around the world. These efforts also support the Agencys commitment to achieve gender parity 50 percent women and 50 percent men at all levels of professional and higher categories by 2025.

Read more about the IAEAs focus on gender equality.

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Finding the Right Chemistry: Balancing Family and Nuclear Safeguards - International Atomic Energy Agency

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Team chemistry could carry Phillies long way in 2021 season – That Balls Outta Here

Consider the past two major Philadelphia sports championships the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies and 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. A common attribute between the two teams, which will forever be in the hearts of fans, is that each player and coach had chemistry with each other.

There was talent on both, but it was the chemistry that ultimately led the Phillies past the New York Mets in the division, followed by the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Tampa Bay Rays in the postseasonand what helped lift the Eagles past the Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings, and New England Patriots on their way to their first-ever Super Bowl championship.

The 2020 Phillies season was unfortunate on many fronts, especially how it ended. The Phillies had perhaps the most talent on their roster since their 2007-11 postseason run. Manager Joe Girardi believes that if anything, a lot of chemistry was built across the 60-game season.

Dont be surprised if that carries the team further than expected in 2021.

I think a lot of times you create stronger chemistry when you go through difficult times, Girardi recently told reporters. You can also lose some people in a sense, but if you could get through to get to the other side, I think it creates stronger chemistry than if youre just winning because you do go through the ups and downs and have to support each other, sometimes pull each other out of slumps or a few bad outings in a row. You know the guy next to you has your back and I think thats really powerful.

When recently asked if he had ever been on a team that because of failure, that it led to success down the line, re-signed Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius pointed out the 2017 New York Yankees a team also managed by Girardi.

They predicted us to be at the bottom of the standings. Talking to the guys, we said, Look, we have a great group of guys and always compete. So, no matter what, we can always put our name on the map and fight as a team,' Gregorius said. Thats the same thing that happened last year, too. Nobody expected us to be even close, because they always talk about how, This is not good.'

In 2016, the Yankees finished six games over .500, but still was fourth in the American League East, nine games behind the division-winning Boston Red Sox.The following year, the Yankees improved to 20 games over .500 and second in the division behind their rival. They ended up advancing all the way to Game 7 of the ALCS, before losing to the infamous Houston Astros.

At the end of the day, youre still a team. We came short one game [in 2020], but showed that we didnt go out and give the games up. We fought until the end, Gregorius continued. You feel in the team that the team has a heart to fight 24/7. We came short, but that was last year. We turned the page on that and now move forward this year. I think were good.

This chemistry is something to watch for in 2021.

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Team chemistry could carry Phillies long way in 2021 season - That Balls Outta Here

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SIUE Difference Maker: Chemistry professor Kevin Tucker shines as a teacher and mentor – AdVantageNEWS.com

Southern Illinois University Edwardsvilles Kevin Tucker, assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Chemistry, is the epitome of a teacher-scholar: offering numerous opportunities for students to engage in applied research and gaining funding to advance his novel research endeavors.

But a necessary addition to that designation is mentor. Amid a pandemic that has made it difficult for students and educators to conduct laboratory research, Tucker has demonstrated just how much emphasis he places on his role as a teacher-scholar-mentor.

An acknowledgement of his impact on students success is Tuckers nomination as a Difference Maker by chemistry graduate student and research assistant Katherine Maloof.

Dr. Tucker is more than an amazing professor and mentor, Maloof said. This past year has been one of the hardest in my life, but Dr. Tucker has helped me through it. Without him, I would not be where I am today, and I can say that confidently. He will pick you up when youre down, and give you what you need to build yourself back up. He truly has a passion for learning and ensuring the success of his students. He goes above and beyond for us, and absolutely deserves to be recognized.

I am honored and humbled by Katies words, Tucker said. I have a large research lab ranging from 15-20 students depending on the semester, and I truly enjoy mentoring each one of them as a student and as a person. I always want to know my students as a whole individual because it allows me to mentor them more effectively toward their goals professional and life.

Tuckers research focuses on the detection of pharmaceutical and personal care products, and other contaminants of emerging concern, within local and regional waterways and the surrounding soil systems. These compounds include antibiotics, and endocrine disruptors, soaps, cosmetics and agricultural products.

He has worked diligently to overcome the pandemic'schallenges by creating policies that allow his research team to continue their important work in a safe environment. He developed lab zones that are reserved via a group calendar to ensure proper spacing of students. Additionally, each student wears a mask and face shield in the lab for protection.

Tucker credits students for making his scholarship possible and knows from personal experience just how valuable effective mentorship is for academic, professional and personal development.

As I pursue novel research projects and form new collaborations, I know that it is my students and their support and commitment to the lab that will enable me to continue to deliver positive results in the future, Tucker said. I remember having professors as an undergraduate who mentored me into the student and professional that I have become. I revered them and am still in contact with them to this day. I expect nothing less of myself with every student that I mentor than what my mentors gave me.

SIUE is celebrating Difference Makers like Tucker throughout February. These individuals are just a few of the many university faculty, staff and students who have made hard times a little less difficult for others. They were nominated by colleagues and students.

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SIUE Difference Maker: Chemistry professor Kevin Tucker shines as a teacher and mentor - AdVantageNEWS.com

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Space, energy and synthetic half-reactions | Opinion – Chemistry World

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the periodic table of elements and how it relates chemical properties to an elements position in the table. Its predictive applications and its ability to teach us some of the principles behind chemical transformations are far-reaching and cannot be overestimated.

At the same time, chemical reactivity is much more nuanced than might be gleaned by looking at the rows and periods of Mendeleevs venerable classification. For example, carbon participates in an overwhelmingly diverse set of chemical transformations, yet relatively little can be concluded about carbons context-dependent reactivity by looking at the periodic table alone. So what is the most appropriate means to classify organic transformations?

The prevailing approach, prescribed by most textbooks, centres on functional groups. This method builds on sameness and categorises reactions based on the expected reactivity of atoms in particular environments. But this classification is not optimally conducive to predicting reaction outcomes and establishing the mechanism by which they proceed. While modern theoretical methods based on quantum mechanics are demonstrably appropriate at suggesting detailed ab initio explanations to countless molecular-level phenomena, there might be benefits to a simple structure-driven formalism that builds on reactivitys foundation: the driving force that is needed to run energetically uphill steps. Securing an appropriate match between the driving force and the reactive intermediate that needs to be created or channelled in a particular direction is what chemical reactivity is all about.1

At first, the driving force concept appears straightforward: favoured processes either minimise enthalpy or maximise entropy (or both). But the driving force is anything but an easy concept to understand. Try asking a colleague about how many types of driving forces they know. It is not a simple question. The usual suspects might include strain release, formation of strong bonds and the like, but the answer will be dwarfed by the overwhelming number of documented chemical transformations and their reasons to exist. Even if we had an exhaustive list of all driving forces imaginable, their actual utility would be limited. This is because, in order to benefit from a driving force, one first needs to cross a kinetic barrier. This is why, despite its universal appeal, driving force remains one of the most intangible and abstract concepts in chemistry. While the notion of the driving force is being used and misused all the time, it is not always possible to apply this concept to address chemistry challenges in a logical way.

Try asking a colleague about how many types of driving forces they know

What could help to rationalise chemical reactivity would be to categorise the known driving forces and uphill steps for comparative purposes. One particular embodiment of this way of thinking does exist. In electrochemistry, standard electrode potentials help to find productive combinations of reductants and oxidants based on thermodynamic arguments from electrochemical half-reactions. These numerical values show how easy or difficult it is for a given species to undergo electron transfer. While the experimentally measured and tabulated values for electrode potentials are useful, they are limited to electron transfer processes that involve charged intermediates on electrode surfaces. What if instead of electrode potential, we consider the broader concept of chemical potential and apply it to mechanism-driven organic chemistry? This sounds appealing but, in practice, chemical potential has not been meaningful for practitioners of organic chemistry because it is not apparent how to apply it in rationalising reactivity.

The prevailing approach, prescribed by most textbooks, centres on functional groups. But this classification is not optimally conducive to predicting reaction outcomes and establishing the mechanism by which they proceed. While modern theoretical methods based on quantum mechanics can suggest detailed ab initio explanations to countless molecular-level phenomena, there might be benefits to a simple structure-driven formalism that builds on reactivitys foundation: the driving force that is needed to run energetically uphill steps. Securing an appropriate match between the driving force and the reactive intermediate that needs to be created is what chemical reactivity is all about.1

At first, the driving force concept appears straightforward: favoured processes either minimise enthalpy or maximise entropy (or both). But the driving force is anything but an easy concept to understand. Try asking a colleague about how many types of driving forces they know. The usual suspects might include strain release, formation of strong bonds and the like, but the answer will be dwarfed by the overwhelming number of documented chemical transformations and their reasons to exist. Even if we had an exhaustive list of all driving forces imaginable, their actual utility would be limited. This is because, in order to benefit from a driving force, one first needs to cross a kinetic barrier.

What could help to rationalise chemical reactivity would be to categorise the known driving forces and uphill steps for comparative purposes. One particular embodiment of this way of thinking already exists. In electrochemistry, standard electrode potentials help to find productive combinations of reductants and oxidants based on thermodynamic arguments from electrochemical half-reactions. These numerical values show how easy or difficult it is for a given species to undergo electron transfer. While the experimentally measured and tabulated values for electrode potentials are useful, they are limited to electron transfer processes that involve charged intermediates on electrode surfaces. What if instead of electrode potential, we consider the broader concept of chemical potential and apply it to mechanism-driven organic chemistry? This sounds appealing but, in practice, chemical potential has not been meaningful for practitioners of organic chemistry because it is not apparent how to rationalise reactivity using this concept.

What is lacking is a classification of available driving forces and their matches with appropriate uphill steps. A particularly attractive proposition would be to find new and previously underappreciated correspondence between endergonic and exergonic elementary reactions. I propose that we consider each endergonic or exergonic step as a synthetic half-reaction (SHR), similar to electrochemical half-reactions. SHRs can then be linked if they have matching higher-energy states, corresponding to ionic and radical intermediates or out-of-equilibrium conformations that help drive reactions. This builds on a reasonable assumption that the energetic benefits of the driving force must operate in the area of the molecule where chemical heavy lifting causes a chemical transformation. I refer to such instances as spatioenergetic matches.2

It stands to reason that only some matches between synthetic half-reactions would be productive or interesting. While many of these combinations might correspond to already established processes, I suspect that there will be instances that have not received prior attention and experimental verification. The possibility to find new reactions by understanding how half-reactions can be spatioenergetically matched with one other is an enticing proposition. On a pedagogical level, this way of thinking might encourage new ideas and expand students horizons away from the driving force usual suspects.

There is presently no way to comprehensively evaluate productive combinations of driving forces and their cognate uphill steps. Indeed, search engines such as Reaxys and SciFinder do not offer an opportunity to evaluate higher energy states. I propose creating a continually expanding knowledge base of SHRs. The time is right for the emergence of a system that will allow intuitive understanding of the relationships between reactive intermediates and other high energy states. This knowledge base should stand as a worthy complement to the periodic table of elements.

While the half-reaction idea should be intuitively clear to any organic chemist, there is presently no way to comprehensively evaluate productive combinations of driving forces and their cognate uphill steps. Indeed, search engines such as Reaxys and SciFinder do not offer an opportunity to evaluate higher energy states. I propose creating a continually expanding knowledge base of SHRs. The time is right for the emergence of a system that will allow understanding of the relationships between reactive intermediates and other high energy states. This knowledge base should stand as a worthy complement to the periodic table of elements.

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Space, energy and synthetic half-reactions | Opinion - Chemistry World

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How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected NBA team chemistry – Axios

In a league where every movement is tracked and every statistic is measured, chemistry remains the rare, unquantifiable variable that dictates NBA wins and losses.

The intrigue: Fostering NBA chemistry has become increasingly difficult now that players change teams so often. But nothing has ever impacted chemistry-building quite like the pandemic. The question is: has it helped or hurt?

Consider this: Due to the short offseason, rookie Anthony Edwards made his NBA debut just 33 days after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Timberwolves.

The bottom line: So, amid the strangest season of their lives, have NBA teams come together or drifted apart? The truth is, we'll never know.

I reached out to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to get his take on NBA chemistry and how it has been affected by the pandemic.

How important is chemistry in the modern NBA?

How do you think the pandemic has impacted chemistry this season?

What do the Mavericks do to foster chemistry? Has that been impacted?

Is basketball chemistry similar to chemistry in any workplace?

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How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected NBA team chemistry - Axios

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