Post List

  • October 27, 2010
  • 09:06 AM

Graphene research at Cal: Close, but no Nobel

by Anna Goldstein in Berkeley Science Review Blog

Fans of the Nobel Prize in Physics know that this year's honors went to a pair of U.K.-based researchers for the discovery of graphene, a.k.a., The World's Thinnest Material. While neither winner has a significant connection to UC Berkeley (the last Cal professor to win the physics Nobel was George Smoot in 2006), many here in the physics department can rightly claim at least some stake in this year's prize. That's because graphene's discovery in 2004 sparked a huge burst of high-impact re........ Read more »

Zhou SY, Gweon GH, Fedorov AV, First PN, de Heer WA, Lee DH, Guinea F, Castro Neto AH, & Lanzara A. (2007) Substrate-induced bandgap opening in epitaxial graphene. Nature Materials, 6(10), 770-5. PMID: 17828279  

Son YW, Cohen ML, & Louie SG. (2006) Half-metallic graphene nanoribbons. Nature, 444(7117), 347-9. PMID: 17108960  

Son YW, Cohen ML, & Louie SG. (2006) Energy gaps in graphene nanoribbons. Physical Review Letters, 97(21), 216803. PMID: 17155765  

Zhang, Y., Brar, V., Girit, C., Zettl, A., & Crommie, M. (2009) Origin of spatial charge inhomogeneity in graphene. Nature Physics, 5(10), 722-726. DOI: 10.1038/nphys1365  

Levy N, Burke SA, Meaker KL, Panlasigui M, Zettl A, Guinea F, Castro Neto AH, & Crommie MF. (2010) Strain-induced pseudo-magnetic fields greater than 300 tesla in graphene nanobubbles. Science, 329(5991), 544-7. PMID: 20671183  

Girit, C., Meyer, J., Erni, R., Rossell, M., Kisielowski, C., Yang, L., Park, C., Crommie, M., Cohen, M., Louie, S.... (2009) Graphene at the Edge: Stability and Dynamics. Science, 323(5922), 1705-1708. DOI: 10.1126/science.1166999  

Zhang Y, Tang TT, Girit C, Hao Z, Martin MC, Zettl A, Crommie MF, Shen YR, & Wang F. (2009) Direct observation of a widely tunable bandgap in bilayer graphene. Nature, 459(7248), 820-3. PMID: 19516337  

  • October 27, 2010
  • 09:05 AM

J.B.S. Haldane and the case of the revivified head

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Here's a nicely gruesome image for the week of All Hallows' Eve.
"I dreamed I was in a dark room," said Jane, "with queer smells in it and a sort of low humming noise. Then the light came on ... I thought I saw a face floating in front of me. ... What it really was, was a head (the rest of a head) which had had the top part of the skull taken off and then ... as if something inside had boiled over. ... Even in my fright I remember thinking, 'Oh, kill it, kill it. Put it out of its pain.' ... It ........ Read more »

Haldane, J.B.S. (1924) A mathematical theory of natural and artificial selection, part I. Trans. Cambridge Phil. Soc., 19-31. info:other/

Haldane, J.B.S. (1948) The theory of a cline. Journal of Genetics, 48(3), 277-84. DOI: 10.1007/BF02986626  

  • October 27, 2010
  • 09:00 AM

Blog: One Big, Huge Problem

by Torah Kachur, Rheanna Sand and Brit Trogen in Science in Seconds


Obesity is one of the most misunderstood issues in health care. And, apologies in advance, one of the biggest. It's defined, along with "overweight" and "underweight" purely by BMI. And while most would agree that the height to weight ratio is probably not the best determinant of health, it doesn't stop most of us from using it as a measure of the general chubbiness of the population.


In Canada, a 2004 survey of adults found........ Read more »

  • October 27, 2010
  • 08:50 AM

Play video games…and cure cancer?

by Caroline Sober in Promega Connections

“Whoa, what is that?” says my coworker, Dan, looking at the brightly colored, squiggly structure on my computer screen I’m flipping and tugging at with clicks of my mouse. “It’s a protein. I’m playing Foldit,” I reply, clicking and dragging on a blue sidechain to eliminate the red spiky “clash” ball between it and another [...]... Read more »

Cooper S, Khatib F, Treuille A, Barbero J, Lee J, Beenen M, Leaver-Fay A, Baker D, Popović Z, & Players F. (2010) Predicting protein structures with a multiplayer online game. Nature, 466(7307), 756-60. PMID: 20686574  

  • October 27, 2010
  • 08:46 AM

Antioxidant backlash

by David Bradley in Reactive Reports Chemistry Blog

More  research is needed into antioxidants found in plants, which may actually aggravate health conditions rather than benefiting people who eat them. Specifically, quercetin and ferulic acid have been shown to aggravate kidney cancer in severely diabetic laboratory rats, according to a  study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Kuan-Chou Chen, Robert Peng, and [...]... Read more »

Hsieh CL, Peng CC, Cheng YM, Lin LY, Ker YB, Chang CH, Chen KC, & Peng RY. (2010) Quercetin and Ferulic Acid Aggravate Renal Carcinoma in Long-Term Diabetic Victims. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. PMID: 20669956  

  • October 27, 2010
  • 08:30 AM

Trick, treat, or toy? Children will appreciate the latter too

by Colby in

It is a cultural norm in various countries to give children candy for Halloween.  While I don’t have kids or generalized advice on controlling their candy intake around this holiday, the flip side are the ethics of doling out junk if … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • October 27, 2010
  • 08:00 AM

Critical Care for Critically Obese Patients

by Arya M. Sharma in Dr. Sharma's Obesity Notes

Yes, the usual term is “morbidly” obese (a term I do not like), but today’s post is simply to draw my readers’ attention to a special issue of Critical Care Clinics dedicated entirely to the critical care of patients with severe obesity.
This special issue is edited by Marilyn Haupt and Mary Jane Reed from Temple [...]... Read more »

Haupt MT, & Reed MJ. (2010) Preface. Critical care clinics, 26(4). PMID: 20970042  

  • October 27, 2010
  • 06:23 AM

Bites: Ice cold Trypanosomes

by Wellcome Trust in Wellcome Trust Blog

When it comes to studying Trypanosomes, it pays to play it cool. Transmitted by the bite of the Tsetse fly in sub-Saharan Africa, members of the Trypanosoma brucei species are responsible for the fatal human disease sleeping sickness as well as nagana in cattle. The parasite has a complex lifecycle, and attacks the central nervous [...]... Read more »

Höög JL, Gluenz E, Vaughan S, & Gull K. (2010) Ultrastructural investigation methods for Trypanosoma brucei. Methods in cell biology, 175-96. PMID: 20869523  

  • October 27, 2010
  • 06:12 AM

Do taller men need to be more aware of testicular cancer?

by Cancer Research UK in Cancer Research UK - Science Update

Six-footers shouldn’t start panicking when they read today’s news story that being taller could increase the risk of testicular cancer. Being tall doesn’t directly cause cancer. It’s just one of many physical traits that are linked to a person’s risk, in the same way that fair-skinned people have a higher risk of skin cancer. The [...]... Read more »

  • October 27, 2010
  • 05:49 AM

How the leopard got its spots

by GrrlScientist in GrrlScientist

A new study shows why leopards and other big cats are spotted, striped or melanistic -- all black. In short, big cats' patterning and pattern attributes evolved in relation to their ecology and behaviors... Read more »

William L. Allen, Innes C. Cuthill, Nicholas E. Scott-Samuel, & Roland Baddeley. (2010) Why the leopard got its spots: relating pattern development to ecology in felids. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. info:/10.1098/rspb.2010.1734

  • October 27, 2010
  • 05:30 AM

In-house gyms, meditation rooms and on-site laundry services introduced to accommodate changing work values

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

Generational differences in work values: Leisure and extrinsic values increasing, social and intrinsic values decreasing From Journal of Management This study examines a US nationally representative sample of young people and measures their values at the same age at different points in time, to observe generational differences in values. It is recognized that today’s workforce [...]... Read more »

  • October 27, 2010
  • 04:20 AM

The History of Halloween & It's Modern Psychological Implications

by John Wayland in The Darwin Tribune

It's nearing that spooky time of year again. The traditions of Halloween actually come from countries such as Ireland, Scotland and England. According to Kelley (1919) "Americans have fostered them, and are making this an occasion something like what it must have been in its best days overseas. All Hallowe'en customs in the United States are borrowed directly or adapted from those of other countries". This Special Edition focuses on the Brief History & Psychology of Halloween.According to Ke........ Read more »

Dodd, M. (2007) Bumps in the Night. Working Mother, 30(7). info:/

  • October 27, 2010
  • 02:31 AM

One Big, Huge Problem

by Brit Trogen in Science in Seconds

Obesity is one of the most misunderstood issues in health care. And, apologies in advance, one of the biggest.

It's defined, along with "overweight" and "underweight" purely by BMI. And while most would agree that the height to weight ratio is probably not the best determinant of health, it doesn't stop most of us from using it as a measure of the general chubbiness of the population.... Read more »

  • October 27, 2010
  • 01:41 AM

The Piffle Paradox - or how pure mathematicians have fun

by westius in Mr Science Show

Ever wondered how pure mathematicians have fun? The following is from the 1967 paper Modern Research in Mathematics by A. K. Austin, from the Department of Pure Mathematics at the University of Sheffield. It's a send-up, by the way...

A note on piffles by A. B. Smith

A. C. Jones in his paper "A Note on the Theory of Boffles," Proceedings of the National Society, 13, first defined a Biffle to be a non-definite Boffle and asked if every Biffle was reducible.

C. D. Brown in "On a paper by A. ........ Read more »

Austin, A. (1967) 3183. Modern Research in Mathematics. The Mathematical Gazette, 51(376), 149. DOI: 10.2307/3614400  

Farlow, S. (1980) Three Mathematical Satires A rebuke of A. B. Smith's paper, 'A Note on Piffles'. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 11(2), 285-304. DOI: 10.1080/0020739800110222  

  • October 27, 2010
  • 12:20 AM

Depressed mice, gene therapy, and p11

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

“Gene therapy”… …oooooh… Sounds very cool, doesn’t it? Sounds like the FUTURE! Where’s my JETPACK!!!?!?! But of course “gene therapy” is kind of a buzzword. A lot of people throw it around, but it seems like a lot of people don’t know what it really MEANS, and what it can be used for. But it [...]... Read more »

Alexander B, Warner-Schmidt J, Eriksson T, Tamminga C, Arango-Llievano M, Ghose S, Vernov M, Stavarche M, Musatov S, Flajolet M.... (2010) Reversal of Depressed Behaviors in Mice by p11 Gene Therapy in the Nucleus Accumbens. Science translational medicine, 2(54). PMID: 20962330  

  • October 26, 2010
  • 07:51 PM

The Wednesday Post - Halloween Special

by James Byrne in Disease Prone

Sporotrichosis is caused by the thermally dimorphic (can grow in one of two different forms depending on the environmental temperature) fungus Sporothrix schenckii and is characterised by subcutaneous nodules that can blister and ulcerate resulting in satellite lesions developing around the initial site of infection.... Read more »

  • October 26, 2010
  • 06:58 PM

Back from the Brink: Victories in Conservation

by WhySharksMatter and Southern Fried Scientist in Southern Fried Science

Earth is facing a biodiversity crisis so severe that many conservation scientists refer to it as a mass extinction event. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a professional network of 11,000 volunteer scientists belonging to more than 1,000 government and NGO agencies in 160 countries, evaluates species worldwide and determines their risk of [...]... Read more »

Hoffmann, M. et al. (2010) The impact of conservation on the world's vertebrates. Science. info:/

  • October 26, 2010
  • 05:56 PM

Featured - How not to think yourself smart...

by Rift in Psycasm

[Wherein our hero considers how he might think himself smarter. Yet it appears Brain-Training might just be woo.]At this time of year I start wondering how to get an edge in my exams. Is studying really the best way about it? Last exam period I examined the best way to use caffiene, and I ran a series of informal experiments to figure my own personal method out [here]. This time round I w; (read more)

Source: Rift - Discipline: Psychology... Read more »

Owen, A., Hampshire, A., Grahn, J., Stenton, R., Dajani, S., Burns, A., Howard, R., & Ballard, C. (2010) Putting brain training to the test. Nature, 465(7299), 775-778. DOI: 10.1038/nature09042  

Jaeggi SM, Buschkuehl M, Jonides J, & Perrig WJ. (2008) Improving fluid intelligence with training on working memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(19), 6829-33. PMID: 18443283  

Carretti, B., Borella, E., & De Beni, R. (2007) Does Strategic Memory Training Improve the Working Memory Performance of Younger and Older Adults?. Experimental Psychology (formerly "Zeitschrift für Experimentelle Psychologie"), 54(4), 311-320. DOI: 10.1027/1618-3169.54.4.311  

  • October 26, 2010
  • 05:23 PM

Groundbreaking method for computer simulation: Car-Parrinello Molecular Dynamics turns 25

by Olexandr Isayev in

Twenty five years ago two budding scientists, Roberto Car and Michele Parrinello, used their expert knowledge, coupled with enthusiasm and a healthy dose of naivety, to develop a groundbreaking method for computer simulation. ... Read more »

Editorial. (2010) A model approach to modelling. Nature Materials, 9(9), 687-687. DOI: 10.1038/nmat2852  

Hafner, J. (2010) A joint effort with lasting impact. Nature Materials, 9(9), 690-692. DOI: 10.1038/nmat2838  

  • October 26, 2010
  • 03:40 PM

Now that's a f***ing big genome!

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

Why are some genomes so big? I mean, seriously. Why would the marbled lungfish with a genome weighing 132.83 picograms (pg) need an estimated 130,000,000,000 bp? It may have to do with that fact that these fish undergo metamorphosis, and the large developmental coding this could entail.

Then there is the genome of Paris japonica, a rare plant whose genome weighs 152.23 pg, making its genome the largest known so far, at a whopping estimated 150,000,000,000 bp. (Humans have a genome size of 3,........ Read more »

Fischer, M., Allen, M., Wilson, W., & Suttle, C. (2010) Giant virus with a remarkable complement of genes infects marine zooplankton. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1007615107  

PELLICER, J., FAY, M., & LEITCH, I. (2010) The largest eukaryotic genome of them all?. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 164(1), 10-15. DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.2010.01072.x  

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