Sunday, August 30, 2009


Some things are just amazing. For those of you like me who are on the approach to fifty looking back at the things civilization has accomplished in the last half century are mind boggling. I remember in grammar school when the teacher spoke in breathless awe about the invention of the electron microscope and the worlds it would open to the scientific community. Really awe inspiring stuff. In that vein check this out.

Scientists from IBM used an atomic force microscope (AFM) to reveal the chemical bonds within a molecule.

'This is the first time that all the atoms in a molecule have been imaged,' lead researcher Leo Gross said.

In the image above the hexagonal shapes of the five carbon rings are clear and even the positions of the hydrogen atoms around the carbon rings can be seen.

To give some perspective, the space between the carbon rings is only 0.14 nanometers across, which is roughly one million times smaller than the diameter of a grain of sand.

Holy smoke! It took me a bit of pondering to realize just how important this type of research is. But then it got me a bit worried too. I mean, are we tinkering with stuff we have absolutely no business screwing with? Does a scientist having a bad Monday morning perhaps wield the power to cause all of us to have six eyed grandchildren? Well, we survived the A Bomb (so far) and the moon landings. Fingers crossed everyone.

The rest at the link.

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