Twenty-year-old Rosalyn Sussman cut a steely, solitary figure in September 1941 as she started her doctorate in nuclear physics at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. “I was the first woman to have a graduate assistantship in physics there since 1917,” she recounted to biographer Eugene Straus. She was the only female faculty member among 400, and there were no women’s bathrooms in the lab facilities—a major inconvenience, especially during the many nights she spent sleeping on the floor of the lab. Despite her confidence and persistence, even Rosalyn couldn’t have predicted that she would graduate several semesters early, make the jump to medicine, develop a revolutionary technique in the field of endocrinology, and win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1977.

Motherboard Future: Q&A with the First Human Set to Get a Head Transplant

Motherboards Jason Koebler talked to Valery Spiridonov, a 29 years old computer scientiest from Russia, who suffers from a rare muscle-wasting disease. He will be patient zero to undergo a head transplant in 2017. The new body would come from a healthy brain-dead donor.

Why did you decide to come out now? You could have kept it a secret if you wanted.

This is an experiment of very huge scale. We must understand it’s something like being the first man in space, the first man on the moon and things like this. It’s a breakthrough in science, technology, and biology. We just couldn’t keep it secret because people must know what’s going on and what opportunities are going to happen. I need to tell people these kinds of operations are needed and demanded by hundreds of thousands of people in much worse condition than I am.

The 36-hour operation is performed by a team of 150 doctors & nurses and has been estimated at £7.5 million. You can support Val on indiegogo. He’s crowdfunding a trip to Annapolis, where details will be announced.

Here’s a TEDxLimassol Talk from Dr. Sergio Canavero, who’s in charge of the HEAVEN procedure, an acronym for head anastomosis venture, talking about Frankenstein stuff:

[Motherboard Interview] [more on futurescope about head transplants]


Wood-Electronics: High-performance green flexible electronics based on biodegradable cellulose nanofibril paper

Remove “Wood Electronics” and you have the title of a new paper, recently published in nature by scientiests from the University of Wisconsin working in partnership with the US Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory.

The researchers developed wooden semiconductors, high-performance flexible electronics using ecofriendly materials, that are biodegradable and basically just act like plant fertilizer in the environment (turns out that fungi like it).

Today’s consumer electronics, such as cell phones, tablets and other portable electronic devices, are typically made of non-renewable, non-biodegradable, and sometimes potentially toxic (for example, gallium arsenide) materials. These consumer electronics are frequently upgraded or discarded, leading to serious environmental contamination. Thus, electronic systems consisting of renewable and biodegradable materials and minimal amount of potentially toxic materials are desirable. Here we report high-performance flexible microwave and digital electronics that consume the smallest amount of potentially toxic materials on biobased, biodegradable and flexible cellulose nanofibril papers.

Furthermore, we demonstrate gallium arsenide microwave devices, the consumer wireless workhorse, in a transferrable thin-film form. Successful fabrication of key electrical components on the flexible cellulose nanofibril paper with comparable performance to their rigid counterparts and clear demonstration of fungal biodegradation of the cellulose-nanofibril-based electronics suggest that it is feasible to fabricate high-performance flexible electronics using ecofriendly materials.

Who would have thought? Wood as a cutting-edge semiconductor material. Nice.

[paper] [via motherboard]