brownians

If Once Upon a Time has a Tinkerbell, I WANT HER TO BE PLAYED BY EMILY BROWNING. <333 Omg, seriously. She’d be perfect. They ALREADY have her Sucker Punch co-star (Jamie Chung), so why not?? *prays the writers will somehow see this*

Einstein, twenty-six years old, only three years away from crude privation, still a patent examiner, published in the Annalen der Physik in 1905 five papers on entirely different subjects. Three of them were among the greatest in the history of physics. One, very simple, gave the quantum explanation of the photoelectric effect—it was this work for which, sixteen years later, he was awarded the Nobel prize. Another dealt with the phenomenon of Brownian motion, the apparently erratic movement of tiny particles suspended in a liquid: Einstein showed that these movements satisfied a clear statistical law. This was like a conjuring trick, easy when explained: before it, decent scientists could still doubt the concrete existence of atoms and molecules: this paper was as near to a direct proof of their concreteness as a theoretician could give. The third paper was the special theory of relativity, which quietly amalgamated space, time, and matter into one fundamental unity. This last paper contains no references and quotes no authority. All of them are written in a style unlike any other theoretical physicist’s. They contain very little mathematics. There is a good deal of verbal commentary. The conclusions, the bizarre conclusions, emerge as though with the greatest of ease: the reasoning is unbreakable. It looks as though he had reached the conclusions by pure thought, unaided, without listening to the opinions of others. To a surprisingly large extent, that is precisely what he had done.
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C. P. Snow

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Einstein’s miracle year

View full lesson here: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/einstein-s-…

As the year 1905 began, Albert Einstein faced life as a “failed” academic. Yet within the next twelve months, he would publish four extraordinary papers, each on a different topic, that were destined to radically transform our understanding of the universe. Larry Lagerstrom details these four groundbreaking papers.

Lesson by Larry Lagerstrom, animation by Oxbow Creative.

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Packed Like Protein Sardines

A couple weeks ago I gave you a quick and dirty lesson in how cells are not the neatly ordered bags of water that textbooks make them out to be. Now Harvard’s BioVisions and XVIVO animation bring us this amazing look at the crowded protein pandemonium inside every bit of you.

It’s kind of overwhelming, with all that Brownian twitching and enzymatic oscillation, eh? So overwhelming, in fact, that the only structures I could recognize by sight were the myosin V walking down an actin filament kinesin on a microtubule walking like a drunk with a shaky step, and some clathrin cages vibrating themselves in and out of vesicle formation. Recognize anything else?

Even if you have zero idea what’s going on, this is a beautiful look at a world beyond sight, informed by decades of study in protein structures and biophysics, and translated into a beautiful combination of sights and sounds. Enjoy this scientific journey!

Also check out XVIVO’s brilliant look at mitochondria, our cellular powerhouses, and their classic “Inner Life of a Cell.”