101 Things You Don't Know About Science and No One Else Does - download pdf or read online

By James Trefil Physics Professor

ISBN-10: 0395877407

ISBN-13: 9780395877401

James Trefil takes the reader on an exciting travel around the borders of present medical knowledge-from astronomy to genetics, from details know-how to cosmology, the good contested questions that preoccupy researchers this day and should turn into headlines the next day. In based, witty three-page summations, Dr. Trefil "makes feel of technology for the remainder of us" (Washington Post).

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It may come as a surprise to learn that we can detect fossil evidence of organisms as microscopic as bacteria, but paleontologists have been doing just that for some time. The technique works like this: you find a rock formed from the ooze on an ocean bottom long ago, cut it into slices, and examine the slices under an ordinary microscope. If you're lucky (and highly skilled) you will find impressions left by long-dead cells. 5 billion years old. Life on earth must have started well before that.

More recently, radioactive markers have been attached to molecules that are known to interact only with certain types of receptors in specific cells. The result: a map of the locations in the brain where specific molecules do their work. Like the more familiar MRI, fMRI has become a commonplace tool in medicine. In both techniques, a material is placed < previous page page_27 next page > < previous page page_28 next page > Page 28 between the poles of a large magnet; the protons that constitute the nuclei of hydrogen atoms in that material will then perform a motion called precession.

In this theory, the first globule whose chemicals were able to replicate themselves grew, split, and became the ancestor of us all. Whichever of these (or other) theoretical processes actually occurred, it had to produce that first living cell within a few hundred million years. And this fact, in turn, gives rise to the most intriguing idea of all. If primitive life is really that easy to produce, sooner or later (and I suspect it will be sooner) someone is going to reproduce the process in the laboratory.

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101 Things You Don't Know About Science and No One Else Does Either by James Trefil Physics Professor


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