Sunday, March 31st 2024

A Shape Called a 'Sphinx' Could Explain Handedness in Biology

The article discusses chirality in biochemistry, focusing on the consistent left- and right-handed orientation from DNA to protein structures. A recent study on tessellations of triangular shapes sheds light on the reasons for biological chirality preferences. Led by US and German researchers, the investigation delves into the geometric and physical factors influencing life's patterns. Chirality's mysterious nature is highlighted by the emergence of chiral preferences across different scales, impacting molecules' real-world effects. The study explores the statistical mechanics of chiral tile ensembles, revealing how chiral sphinx tiles interact and form clusters under varying energy conditions.

Where does the solar system end? -

The solar system, a vast expanse with planets, moons, asteroids, and comets orbiting the sun, has three potential boundaries: the Kuiper Belt, a region of asteroids and dwarf planets beyond Neptune; the heliopause, where the sun's magnetic field ends; and the Oort Cloud, a distant comet reservoir. The Kuiper Belt, spanning 30-50 astronomical units from the sun, is debated as the solar system's edge due to its connection to the sun's protoplanetary disk. The heliopause marks the sun's magnetic influence limit, where solar wind yields to interstellar space.

Tardigrade Proteins Capable of Slowing Metabolism in Human Cells - Technology Networks

University of Wyoming researchers study tardigrades' ability to survive extreme conditions. Tardigrade proteins expressed in human cells can slow down molecular processes, potentially aiding in aging and cell storage technologies. The study, led by Silvia Sanchez-Martinez and Thomas Boothby, explores tardigrades' mechanisms for entering suspended animation during stress. These proteins could offer life-saving treatments and improve cell-based therapies.

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The search for the extraordinary within the ordinary is what attracts me. I read scientific articles like a child discovering a pond full of tadpoles, with each word a revelation, each concept a potential novel. Science, with its sphinx-like equations deciphering chirality, the blurred boundaries of the solar system, and tardigrades that disrupt human biology, reminds me that the universe is a playground for curious minds.

These three articles, although distinct, form a whole. Chirality leads me to the complexity of the brain, to how form determines function, an idea that seems essential to me in art. The boundaries of the solar system remind me of the frontier of Montpellier, of that shifting line between the known and the unknown, between the center and the periphery, between what we know and what remains to be discovered. Tardigrades, capable of transforming human biology, remind me of our fragility, our quest for transcendence, exploration, survival.

Each of these articles speaks to me of the border between reality and imagination, between the known and the dreamed. They tell me that science, like literature, is an act of faith in the unknown, a step towards the other side of the pond, where water droplets create ripples that bounce back off the banks. Science, like art, is an invitation to think about the world differently, to reshape it, to dream of it differently. And what if, ultimately, our greatest discovery was to understand that our quest for knowledge is also a quest for ourselves?


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