You’re flipping a coin. How many heads in a row would it take for you to start getting suspicious?
HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH: Ninety-Two?[i]
In the summer of 1905, an obscure patent clerk, recently turned physicist, radically changed our view of the world with one mathematics equation, E= mc2. With this simple, but ultimately profound, statement Albert Einstein showed that matter and energy were simply different forms of the same thing. The ramifications of this revolutionary concept were enormous, ultimately sowing the seeds for the nuclear age that emerged in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Continue reading
My calling as a scientist is to produce and analyse protein structures, which are complex arrangements of atoms. These structures are beautiful, messy things. Because atoms have no colour, we protein scientists can paint our structures any colour we want. Most of us, myself included, choose bright, bold, primary colours, the colours of children’s toys. In our computer-generated models, the atoms are polished and shiny, reflecting virtual spotlights as if placed in a tiny photography studio.
When I think of life, I think first of proteins and their atoms, stacked up and shiny like baubles in a store window. This image of life is accurate in its details, but incomplete. Just like an old yearbook photo is Continue reading
This week as I was demonstrating “Messy Church Does Science”, I extracted someone’s DNA using salt water, washing-up liquid and methylated spirits. At the boundary between these substances, a white substance forms that can be drawn out into a thin glistening thread made up of millions of stands of DNA – the twisted double helix. That form itself is a wonderful example of the artistry that arises from a chaotic mix of chemical elements. Yet perhaps true artistry is seen in the emergence of life that DNA shapes in all its diversity and beauty across millions of years. Continue reading