Archive for 'Arts and science'

Chemical Sensors Attractively at One’s Fingertips

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Chemists, some of them, do pay attention to their fingernails. A team at the University of California, La Jolla (an institution that seems to exist on April 1, when it apparently migrates from San Diego), has paid special attention. Details are in their study:

A Wearable Fingernail Chemical Sensing Platform: pH Sensing at Your Fingertips,” Jayoung Kim, Thomas N. Cho, Gabriela Valdés-Ramírez, Joseph Wang, Talanta, vol. 150, April 1, 2016, pp. 622–628. The authors explain:

“Here we introduce the first demonstration of a wearable fingernail chemical-sensor platform. The objective of this work is to demonstrate the first example of a wearable chemical sensor on a fingernail platform. Fingernails represent an attractive wearable platform, offering portability and possibility to merge technology with beauty and fashion products, thus reflecting growing trends toward more stylish wearable devices. While several efforts have been made on developing fingernail-based sensors, none has been developed for chemical sensing.”

Here’s further detail from the study:


BONUS (by some of the same researchers): Tattoo-Based Noninvasive Glucose Monitoring: A Proof-of-Concept Study

Five Japanese extensive interviews with Ig Nobel winners

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

The magazine Tech Notes is conducting a series of extensive interviews with Japanese Ig Nobel Prize winners. Here are links to the first five interviews. All are in Japanese [we present here machine translations of the headlines]:

The Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think [1st] research and Kitazatodai Mabuchi Mr. skin of banana and think humor creative ideas of origin?


Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think [2nd] If you turn off the onion really reason for tears – discovered from where there is no doubt: House Foods Group Inc. Mr. Imai


Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think [3rd] to silence people talkative! Invention of speech jammer: Tsuda College Kurihara Mr.


Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think [4th] dog language translation machine “Bowlingual”, the development history of? : Matsumi Suzuki


[Ig Nobel Prize interview Laugh and Think 5th] Pigeons distinguish the picture of Picasso and Monet! ? Of human beings to learn from animal psychology: Shigeru Watanabe


Nominative Determinism: Dr. Forrest on Trees

Monday, February 1st, 2016

Landscape-Trees-ShrubsThis book presents a horticultural overview of the main plant families of trees and shrubs from temperate regions that are cultivated in urban and rural landscape schemes. Most of the plants used come from a limited number of plant families and within these families, certain genera contribute very significantly. The largest chapter in the book describes 37 plant families according to their identification, functional use and management in landscape schemes. With this information readers will be able to assess the suitability of species and prepare planting designs for prevailing sites.”

Author: Dr. Mary Forrest, School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Ireland.

“Imagine if the window were made of ants…”

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Ig Nobel Prize winner David Hu researches many questions that involve biology AND mathematics AND physics. And often, fluid dynamics. In this video, he confides, concisely, some of the biophysical ways that ants survive perilous, quickly-changing physical conditions:

The 2015 Ig Nobel Prize for physics was awarded to Patricia Yang [USA and TAIWAN], David Hu [USA and TAIWAN], and Jonathan Pham, Jerome Choo [USA], for testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds).

REFERENCE: “Duration of Urination Does Not Change With Body Size,” Patricia J. Yang, Jonathan Pham, Jerome Choo, and David L. Hu, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 111 no. 33, August 19, 2014, pp. 11932–11937.

NOTE: David Hu will be one of the stars of the London shows on the upcoming Ig Nobel Eurotour, in March 2016.

(Thanks to Maggie Lettvin for alerting us to the video.)

Colin Raston tells of Un-boiling an Egg, and the Ig Nobel Prize

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

Colin Raston tells how he and colleagues found a way to partially un-boil an egg, and of how this led to an Ig Nobel Prize, in this Flinders University video:

The 2015 Ig Nobel Prize for chemistry was awarded to Callum Ormonde and Colin Raston [AUSTRALIA], and Tom Yuan, Stephan Kudlacek, Sameeran Kunche, Joshua N. Smith, William A. Brown, Kaitlin Pugliese,Tivoli Olsen, Mariam Iftikhar, Gregory Weiss [USA], for inventing a chemical recipe to partially un-boil an egg.

REFERENCE: “Shear-Stress-Mediated Refolding of Proteins from Aggregates and Inclusion Bodies,” Tom Z. Yuan, Callum F. G. Ormonde, Stephan T. Kudlacek, Sameeran Kunche, Joshua N. Smith, William A. Brown, Kaitlin M. Pugliese, Tivoli J. Olsen, Mariam Iftikhar, Colin L. Raston, Gregory A. Weiss, ChemBioChem, vol. 16, no. 3, February 9, 2015, pp. 393–396.

Here’s an ABC news report about it: