Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Chemistry thoughts

Today was yet another very interesting (but still incredibly hot) day. Our titration lab went smoothly and we ended up with good results! Today’s guest speaker was Ruben L Gonzales. He walked us through the process by which his lab managed to get an action shot of a Ribosome coding proteins! When I was a child, I heard about scientists doing grand and mysterious things such as “atom smashing” and wondered how this could be possible. My eight-year-old brain figured that you would take something like a car crusher, but make it so precisely and perfectly that the plates would be able to crush individual atoms.

Of course, this is nowhere near how particle colliders operate! The idea that doing something on a micro scale is the same as doing it on a macro scale but more precise is completely wrong, and this talk was a powerful reminder of this. If you want a model of how a ribosome codes proteins, you can’t just take a mini video camera and film it. To achieve these things, Chemists must jump through incredible hoops. For example, mutating half of a ribosome so it accepts fluorescent markers is in no way a part of regular filmmaking. Anyways, thinking about this is making my head run in circles. Good night!

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