Understanding how cells follow electric fields

Many living things can respond to electric fields, either moving or using them to detect prey or enemies. Weak electric fields may be important growth and development, and in wound healing: it’s known that one of the signals that guides cells into a wound to repair it is a disturbance in the normal electric field between tissues. This ability to move in response to an electric field is called galvanotaxis or electrotaxis.

UC Davis dermatology professor Min Zhao, Peter Devroetes at Johns Hopkins University and colleagues hope to unravel how these responses work, studying both body cells and Dictyostelium discoideum, an amoeba that lives in soil. Dictyostelium is unusual because it spends part of its life crawling around as a single-cell amoeba, but occasionally multiple amoebae will come together to form a fruiting body.

In a paper just published in the journal Science Signaling, Zhao and colleagues screened Dictyostelium for genes that affect electrotaxis. They used special barcoded microplates developed by Tingrui Pan, professor of biomedical engineering at UC Davis to screen hundreds of amoeba strains.

More information: A large-scale screen reveals genes that mediate electrotaxis in Dictyostelium discoideum, Sci. Signal., 26 May 2015. Vol. 8, Issue 378, p. ra50, DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aab0562

Amoeba crawling in an electric field. Published on May 28, 2015UC Davis researcher Min Zhao and colleagues are looking for genes that allow living cells to detect electric fields. This could be important in wound healing. They found that removing a gene called PiaA disrupts the ability of the soil amoeba Dictyostelium to respond to an electric field.

Upward Lightning 

Upward lightning primarily occurs when there is a nearby positive cloud-to-ground flash. The electric field change caused by the preceding flash causes an upward positive leader to initiate from a tall object such as a building, tower or wind turbine. It is the shape of the tall object and the resulting enhancement in the electrical field that makes it possible for an upward leader to form following a nearby flash. (Source)

GIF created by Sixpenceee. Original video obtained via YouTube. 

As if bumblebees weren’t already cool enough, this just in: they’re using electric fields to judge whether or not a flower has already been plundered of its pollen by another pollinator. This article from Scientific American says that the bees “build up a positive electrical charge as they rapidly flap their wings.” This is useful to the bees and the flowers as it helps the pollen more tightly cling to the bees. But it also turns out that it minutely changes the electrical field of flowers which have already been visited by another bee, and the bees can see this. As I have said so many times before, and will probably say a thousand times again, nature is so totally cool! ~AR

(via Bumblebees Sense Electric Fields in Flowers: Scientific American)

Requested by shadowalex2000

While generally regarded as pseudoscience, the concept of an aura has a sort of scientific basis. The basic idea is this: You are made up of a large collection of vibrating, oscillating protons and electrons. Because protons and electrons have charge, their movement generates an electric and magnetic field–although a very weak one. The Earth’s magnetic field, for example, is caused by the spinning, molten iron and nickel in the planet’s core. An aura is the same idea. Moving charge = magnetic field.

So how would you detect an aura, hypothetically? Again, this is all pseudoscience with no real experimental backup, but many parapsychologists claim to detect the human aura through Kirlian Photography. You can think of Kirlian Photography like the Northern Lights but on a very small scale. Essentially, if you give an object energy (through a battery for Kirlian imaging, through cosmic rays for the Northern Lights), the object will emit a small aurora, which can then be captured on photographic film. It’s simply a way of detecting very weak electric and magnetic fields.

While a valid method of imaging, the detection of “auras” through Kirlian Photography is largely disputed. Yes, we can detect an electric field from our bodies with this method, but there’s no solid scientific evidence to suggest it changes based on our mood or health.

That being said, there is some science behind people who can “see” auras. The phenomenon synesthesia, in Greek, means “together senses”. It describes the very scientific phenomenon of mixing up your senses, such as seeing sound, hearing a smell, or feeling music. On a smaller note, every time you smell a good meal, and you can imagine exactly how it tastes before you even take a bite; that’s synesthesia.

Interestingly enough, many aura-oriented healers exhibit extreme forms of synesthesia. But, as you might imagine, the actual healing that goes on has no scientific foothold outside of the placebo effect.

As far as Lucario goes, neither of these options would be of use to him in sensing what a person is “feeling or thinking”. There is, however, a significantly more understood, very scientific concept of hormones, which are chemicals your body regularly releases based on mood, health, hunger, senses, and even aging.

The endochrine system is the collection of glands that produces, transports, and regulates hormones. There a lots of different hormones which do different things, but they’re all part of the incredibly complex chemical processes that make our bodies work.

Many hormones are released through our skin, and there’s actually a bit of evidence that suggests humans can even smell each other’s hormones. That fact is likely almost instinctually involved in romantic and sexual attraction.

If Lucario could smell or even just detect hormones, he would be able to tell a lot about a person. If they are angry, sad, lonely, hungry for hamburgers or a vegetarian, if someone is sleep deprived, sick, or pregnant, he could be able to tell.

Lucario can sensitively detect hormone levels in an animal, possibly through an advanced olfactory system. Because of this, it can deduce what a person is thinking or feeling based off of the hormones they are releasing.

Does this mean that “Aura Sphere” is just a big ball of hormones Lucario throws at his opponents? I’d rather not find out.

anonymous asked:

What are the best representations of the atomic theory? How are particles actually measured and visualized? What is the smallest particle we can see, with aide? What is the best evidence that proves the existence of the atom? I use particle, atom, electron here interchangeably for your answering purposes.

Can’t you just ask why clouds are white…

  • What are the best representations of the atomic theory? 

The best rep. of the atomic theory is the current theoretical model of the atom which involves a dense nucleus surrounded by a probabilistic cloud of electrons.

  • How are particles actually measured and visualized? 

If they’re heavy enough you put them on a scale and do some other measurements and then some very simple math. 

But if we’re dealing with subatomic particles its a little bit more complicated. Usually they are measured by their relationship with energy and momentum (Einsteins famous equation)

For example if you wanted to measure a proton, you put it in a mass spectrometer. Accelerating it to a known electric field gives it kinetic energy proportional to its charge, causing the proton to move in a circular path in a uniform, well-calibrated magnetic field allowing the momentum to be measured quite precisely.

Visualizing them is another thing. 

Believe it or not, this is a color photograph of a single trapped barium ion held in a radio-frequency Paul trap. Resonant blue and red lasers enter from the left and are focused to the center of the trap, where the single ion is constrained to orbit a region of space about 1 millionth of a meter in size.

another great way is when Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986 for inventing the Scanning tunneling microscope. An instrument for imaging surfaces at the atomic level. IBM made a movie with it called a boy and his atom. (below you see carbon monoxide molecules moved frame by frame to make a movie, gif made by me)

  • What is the smallest particle we can see, with aide? 

My educated guess would be the photon. If we were to take it’s size by wavelength we could probably detect high energy gamma photons which could be considered the smallest particle we could see with the use of an instrument. 

The smallest particle…or sub-particle by mass would be the neutrino, we havn’t measured a the correct mass of a neutrino yet, but we know that its the particle with the least mass out there we can detect (or not, i don’t really know, google it)

  • What is the best evidence that proves the existence of the atom? 

Is this a joke? I hope it is. Because almost everything you see with you naked eye is made out of atoms, and there are countless experiments proving the existence of the atom AS I HAVE SHOWN ABOVE… Believing anything else would be blasphemy in the eyes of science.

You can litterally see atoms these days, and some sub atomic particles too, take for example an alpha particle which is just a helium nucleus. We can see those in a cloud chamber.

(gif taken from my post: Background Radiation in a cloud chamber)

I hope my answers satisfy your questions. Cheers


These silicon tree rings will one day be part of the world’s largest digital camera—a 3.2-gigapixel array dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of dark energy and dark matter.

To make the image sensors for the galaxy-gazing Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, we melt silicon so that it grows cylindrically outward from the center. But even our cleanroom controls can’t overcome inevitable imperfections.

Tiny variations in the silicon or the temperature produce these concentric rings. That subtle flux, seen in shades of gray, produces electric fields that can distort the image. And here’s the big concern: What if those distortions interfere with the subtle signatures of 10 billion distant galaxies?

Don’t worry, y’all. The sensors just passed their vision test, complete with checks against complex simulations of the way dark matter bends light across the cosmos.


Jahiliyya Fields // Clear Collar

yuushanoah asked:

i feel bad for just sorta, interrupting outta nowhere but i saw you were talking about robot freckles and wanted to just throw in my two cents idk, but; sharks have freckle-looking things called Ampullae of Lorenzini which they use to detect electrical fields, soo i guess itd totally make sense for robots to have something similar? EM field-sensing robot freckles, idk, im sorry to be a bother haha c: >


I’m absolutely delighted that you put in this little piece of info of yours. This is super cool and you know what? 

Headcanon Kaon with freckles to aid him with ‘seeing’. How’s that?


(via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hHv5iKbRTc)


#edc #edm #edcnyc #electric #daisy #carnival #knife #party #bass #rave #music #festival #plur #knifeparty #kinetic #field (at EDC At MetLife Stadium)