Friday, August 30, 2013

molecule of the day: anisomycin

The molecule of the day is anisomycin:

It's a natural product from Streptomyces that inhibits protein translation in eukaryotes.  It can be used to determine whether a phenomenon depends on protein synthesis.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

word of the day: schliere

The word of the day is schliere:

Etymology:  German, < regional Schliere (feminine) striæ, streaks, corresponding to Schlier (masculine) marl, < early new High German schlier (masculine and neuter), < Middle High German slier mud, related to Middle High German slier, sliere ulcer, < Old High German sclierrun (dative plural). 
b. A zone or stratum in a transparent medium whose density differs sufficiently from that of the surrounding medium for it to be detectable by refraction anomalies, usu. in consequence of pressure or temperature differences or composition inhomogeneities. (OED)

"With the introduction of the phase plate into the schlieren optical system and the development of double sector cells and synthetic boundary cells along with refinements in theory, great strides have been made in the accuracy of the determination of sedimentation coefficients (for a detailed account of these developments see reference 2)."

 - Howard K. Schachman, "Deductions from Hydrodynamic and Thermodynamic Measurements", Brookhaven Symposia in Biology 13:49 (1960)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

word of the day: collimate

The word of the day is collimate:

Etymology:  < ‘collīmāre’, an erroneous reading, found in some edd. of Cicero, of Latin collīneāre, < col-, com- together + līnea line, līneāre to bring into a straight line. 
2. trans.
a. To place or adjust (a telescope) so that the line of sight is in the required position; to place (two telescopes, lenses, etc.) so that their optical axes are in the same line.
b. To make parallel, as a lens, the rays of light passing through it. (OED)

"General attrib. uses of pl. schlieren, with reference to an experimental method for the observation and recording of schlieren in transparent media, in which the specimen is illuminated with a collimated beam of light, and the diffraction pattern resulting from localized refraction of light rays by the schlieren is photographed or displayed on a screen."

 - OED