Search Results for: label/fluorescent lights
How fluorescent lights work: quantum mechanics in the home
We have a tendency to think that “quantum mechanics” is synonymous with “out of the ordinary.” I do that, too, since there’s so much strange to talk about: the blurring of particles and waves, the apparent randomness that drove Einstein crazy, and so forth. It’s easy to forget that quantum mechanics also is an everyday matter. The odds are pretty good you’re reading this post on a computer screen (as op…
Authored by Matthew R Francis on January 30, 2012
Unicorns and Brainbows
Brainbow is a mouse with a rainbow brain. By Jeffrey Perkel A couple weeks ago I wrote about the beautiful world right under our noses, a world visible only under the microscope. The cover image for that post was this picture, a “‘Brainbow’ transgenic mouse hippocampus,” which placed 18th in the 2008 Nikon Small World Photomicroscopy contest. Brainbow technology also won the 2007 Olympus Bioscapes contest, with this be…
Authored by Jeffrey Perkel on May 6, 2013
Making Light in Electronics
By DXS Physics Editor Matthew Francis A while back, I wrote about one of the most common ways of making electric light: fluorescent bulbs. Understanding fluorescent lights requires quantum mechanics! While a lot of quantum physics seems pretty removed from our daily lives, it’s essential to most of our modern technology. In fact, reading what I’m writing requires quantum mechanics, since you are using a computer (maybe a handheld…
Authored by Matthew R Francis on April 20, 2012
Biology Explainer: The big 4 building blocks of life–carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and nucleic acids
…molecules themselves break down into a surprisingly small number of building blocks. The proteins that make up all of the living things on this planet and ensure their appropriate structure and smooth function consist of only 20 different kinds of building blocks. Nucleic acids, specifically DNA, are even more basic: only four different kinds of molecules provide the materials to build the countless different genetic codes that translate into all…
Authored by Emily Willingham on June 8, 2012
Tiptoe through the thalamus…
atively coarse resolution of diffusion MRI to the subcellular level of electron microscopy. That’s a story for another day, but if you’re interested in this topic, I highly recommend Sebastian Seung’s eminently readable 2012 book, Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are. Back to the Allen Institute datasets. When you click on ‘Mouse Connectivity’, the site presents you with an index of injection sites, 47 in all….
Authored by Jeffrey Perkel on November 19, 2012
After Newtown missteps, journalists get guidelines
…almost twice as likely to say that they don’t want to live or work near a person with mental illness if they read an article about a person with mental illness involved in a mass shooting, according to a study published March 20 in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Interestingly, this tendency is the same even if the article avoids any mention of mental illness. This may be because this link between violence and mental illness is deeply engrain…
Authored by DXS Contributor on March 27, 2013
Why is the sky pink?
On Mars, the sky is pink during the day, shading to blue at sunset. What planet did you think I was talking about? On Earth, the sky is blue during daytime, turning red at as the sun sinks toward night. Scattering light Well, it’s not quite as simple as that: if you ignore your dear sainted mother’s warning and look at the Sun, you’ll see that the sky immediately around the Sun is white, and the sky right at the horizon (i…
Authored by Matthew R Francis on March 12, 2012
How large is a proton?
…of various types, mostly hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen, with plenty of others to bulk things out. Let’s think about some numbers for size, then: unless you’re a kid or a giant, your height is probably between 1 and 2 meters. One of my fingernails is about 1 centimeter across (1/100 of a meter). A red blood cell is a little less than 10 micrometers—10 millionths of a meter—across. A typical atom is a few hundred picometers (100 trillion…
Authored by Matthew R Francis on February 13, 2013
Towards better drug development, fewer side effects?
…on’t worry –- the article is way more interesting than its title. Those trees on the right are called SPADE trees. They map cellular responses to different stimuli in a collection of human blood cells. Credit: (c) 2012 Nature America [Nat Biotechnol, 30:858--67, 2012] Here’s the basic idea: The current methods drug developers use to screen potential drug compounds –- typically a blend of high-throughput imaging and biochemical ass…
Authored by Jeffrey Perkel on September 24, 2012
Autism and the DSM-5
…ial social aspect of this change, and the one thing that might, when it comes to autism, elevate the DSM-5 above the level of doorstop. [Image credit: Dave Bullock, UK, via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 generic license.]…
Authored by Emily Willingham on April 23, 2013