2107-08-01 (Mother Nature’s son)

Today, I learned that:

Regardless of what we say and think, we still respond to Her (Mother Nature). Sometimes She shares with us the most amazing scenarios, such as the one in today’s header photo. It shows a countryside highway with bamboo trees on both sides. And if you can read Portuguese, then you understand that this place is a sanctuary for wild animals. The road sign depicts an ocelot, and furthermore there is an alert that this is a road with a high degree of crashes between cars and animals. The location is close to the city of Assis, state of São Paulo, Brazil, where there is an ecological station.

It seems like a perfect coincidence that it is located in Assis, because as you probably remember, in a similarly sounding town in Italy, during the 12th century, there was born a person who later would be known as Saint Francis of Assisi. Among other things, he is known for his friendliness to the birds and in 1979 Pope John Paul II declared him the Patron Saint of Ecology. (The current Pope Francis I also honoured him by adopting his name as his own papal name.) See references #1 and #2 below.

But Mother Nature does not only present us with beauty, She is also very practical. Last Friday, I was reminded twice of that, when Radio Sweden interviewed professionals involved with creating and using practical solutions from Her in favour of humanity.

In the morning, I was told about a new kind of glue, which will permit heart surgeons to glue parts together within a beating heart. The origin of that invention is in the slime produced by a slug, which inspired scientists at Harvard. Hear and read about it in reference #3 below (Swedish), as well as read about in reference #4 (English).

Arion_vulgaris

Arion vulgaris, photo by Xauxa Håkan Svensson – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11200581

Then in the evening, another sensational feat. As long as we can remember, the spider has impressed us with its production of ultra-thin, yet extremely strong threads. And now Swedish scientists have discovered a way of recreating such production without using toxic chemistry. Reference #5 contains an audio interview in Swedish with Anna Rising, one of the scientists, and reference #6 is a written interview in English, where she and her fellow colleague Jan Johansson explain more.

Then, over the weekend, I remembered a similar story from exactly 10 years ago. By using practical solutions from a gecko and a mussel, scientists at Northwestern University were able to create a glue that would stick well also under water, see reference #7 below. And in the beginning of 2017, see reference #8, was reported how the very same gecko had inspired researchers at Kiel University to invent a method of immediate grip and release.

But wait, there is more! As a bonus, look also at this article from 2010, reference #9 below, which reports about a combination of mussel glue and nanoparticles to create a proactive cover against corrosion.

To end today’s post, what could be better than listening to the fantastic song writher John Denver, so tragically gone in 1997, to describe his love to Mother Nature! See and here his poem in reference X below.

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Assis

2: Saint Francis of Assisi

3: Snigelinspirerat lim kan användas vid operationer

4: Slug Slime Inspires Scientists To Invent Sticky Surgical Glue

5: Forskare om att framställa artificiell spindelväv, med början vid 06:20

6: Spinning super strong synthetic spider silk

7: Design by Gecko, Plus Glue by Mussel, Yields a Powerful Adhesive

8: Scientists Can Turn This Gecko-Inspired Gripping Device On or Off With the Flick of a Light

9: Musslornas klister används som rostskydd

X: John Denver – Mother Nature’s son

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-06-10 (Fredag)

Idag lärde jag mig, att:

Det trevliga lekmannaspråkprogrammet Ordalaget har sagt sitt. Idag var det final och gravölet serverades på allra bästa sätt, live i studion på SR Jämtland i Östersund. I referens nummer 1 nedan finns allt om denna slutepisod, med bilder och listor på alla ord som har ordalagts under de drygt fem år som programmet sändes.

ordalagettrio

Ordalaget, dvs. Christina Kjellsson, Stefan Hanberg och Lars T. Johansson, uppträder live inför publik i finalprogrammet. Foto: Leif Landin/SR Jämtland.

Visste du om att Sverige besitter en naturtillgång som endast blev känd för några få år sedan? Jag tänker på fyndigheten i lappländska Vittangi av höggradig grafit, som kan komma att användas som råmaterial i tillverkningen av supermaterialet grafén. Idag kostar grafén omkring US$ 30 per kg, så nog verkar det som en ljus framtid för svensk gruvindustri. Läs mera i referens nummer 2 nedan.

(Today’s post in Swedish deals with the final episode of a layman’s language programme, and the rich supply of high-grade graphite in the extreme north of Sweden.)

… Tack för idag, slut för idag!

Refs.:

1: Ordalagets final live!

2: Miner ends quest for gold to unearth strongest material in world

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-05-29 (Söndag)

Idag lärde jag mig, att:

Den stora partikelreaktorn Large Hadron Collider (LHC) vid Cern i Schweiz fortsätter att producera intressanta resultat, som kanske kan komma att visa sig väl så viktiga som bekräftelsen av Higgspartikeln i juli 2012.

Efter en uppgradering så kan LHC nu åstadkomma ännu högre energinivåer och nu har det observerats något som man ännu inte vet vad det kan vara. Om man kan repetera resultaten så kan man också kan komma närmare på spåren om vad denna partikel är för något. Kanske är det den första partikeln i en ny grupp av tunga partiklar, eller är det en slags ny Higgsliknande partikel, 6 gånger så tung som den tidigare? Lyssna på Vetandets värld, referens 1 nedan, och läs mer i Chalmersartikeln i referens 2.

LHC

En bild på Atlas-detektorn, som registrerar och mäter de partiklar som genereras i den 27 km långa Large Hadron Collider, lokaliserad på gränsen mellan Schweiz och Frankrike.

På onsdags i nästa vecka, 2016-06-01, är det så dags att inviga världens längsta järnvägstunnel, Gotthardstunneln. Det rör sig egentligen om två parallella tunnlar på hela 57 km vardera som har byggts under 17 år mellan Schweiz och Italien. Invigningen kommer att förrättas av invånarna i byarna i tunnelns ändpunkter som kommer att närvara på de två tåg som samtidigt kommer att färdas genom tunnlarna i motsatta riktningar. Lyssna till historien på Vetandets värld, referens nummer 3 nedan.

Gotthard

Den nya Gotthardtunneln har sina portaler vid Alpernas fot. Foto: Mats Carlsson-Lenart

… Slut för idag, tack för idag !

Refs.:

1: Partikeln som kan förändra fysiken

2: Hints of unknown elementary particle explained using Swedish theory

3: Världens längsta järnvägstunnel går under Alperna

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-03-27 (Söndag)

Idag lärde jag mig, att:

Sveriges Radio sänder ett program på söndagsmorgonar som är riktat till en yngre publik, 9-13 år, och som heter Helt sant! I en blandning av fakta och sketcher lär de sig vetenskaper på ett lättillgängligt sätt. Idag fick vi lära oss att papper kan återvinnas 7 gånger, men att för glas finns det ingen övre gräns. Och nu vet också våra påläggskalvar vad grafén är, den ultratunna polymeren jag beskrev i mitt blogginlägg 2016-02-01 som har Chalmers som europeisk forskningsledare. Och dagens hyllning till grafén kom i form av sång, lyssna på referens nummer 1 nedan.

Men samtidigt som vi lär ut spjutspetsteknik till våra barn, så finns det politiker runt om vår jord som förnekar evolutionen, att det pågår en global uppvärmning, och t.om. att AIDS är frukten av ett virus. Det senaste påståendet framfördes och vidhålls av den sydafrikanske ex-presidenten Thabo Mbeki. Se nedanstående bildtext och lyssna också på ljudfilen i referens nummer 2.

mbeki

Citat från Johan Bergendorff, SR Vetenskapsradions Veckomagasin 2016-03-25: “Härom veckan gick Sydafrikas förre president Thabo Mbeki ut i ett öppet brev och försvarade sin tidigare inställning att hiv-viruset inte orsakar aids. Thabo Mbekis nygamla kvacksalvarpåståenden som kostade mer än 300 000 sydafrikaner livet har rivit upp gamla sår.”

… Slut för idag, tack för idag !

(This post in Swedish deals with teaching science to children and also how the former South African president Mbeki continues to deny a connection between HIV
and AIDS.)

Refs.:

1: Materialspecial med sånghyllning till grafén

2: Thabo Mbeki fortsätter förneka att HIV orsakar AIDS i Sydafrika

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-02-01 (Monday)

Today, I learned that:

By entering the month of February, 2016, my blog is also entering its second calendar month. I wish to thank everyone for suggestions, compliments and even complaints, because that is the best way to progress. As you have seen from the posts from January, I like to vary the topics and hopefully there is a little something for everyone.

Although most people have not heard of it, there is a brand new material that is starting to gain space in our lives. The material, which is called graphene, is a two-dimensional atomic crystal made up of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. The first time that anyone was able to isolate graphene was in 2004, and already in 2010 the pioneers, Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their research. The following fantastic video, created by the Graphene Flagship Project is a perfect introduction, so I urge you to watch it:

The Graphene Flagship Project, launched in 2013, together with the Human Brain Project, are the first of the European Commission’s Future and Emerging Technology Flagships, whose mission is to address the big scientific and technological challenges of the age through long-term, multidisciplinary research and development efforts. The Graphene Flagship is coordinated by my alma mater Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.

The Graphene Flagship is tasked with bringing together academic and industrial researchers to take graphene from the realm of academic laboratories into European society in the space of 10 years, thus generating economic growth, new jobs and new opportunities. The core consortium consists of 142 academic and industrial research groups in 23 countries.

In 2015, I had the pleasure of participating in a MOOC ( Massive open online course ) offered by Chalmers within the EdX organization, one the most prestigious MOOC providers, founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012. It was a tough course, but it gave me very interesting information about what graphene is, how we can produce it, and what we can use it for.

ChM001x, Introduction to Graphene Science and Technology - Certificate

The references below provide further information about graphene and its applications.

… That’s what I learned in school!

Refs.:

1: Graphene Flagship

2: Introducing Graphene

3: Introduction to Graphene Science and Technology

4: MOOC

5: The Age of Graphene and how it will transform our mobile experiences

+: What did you learn in school today ?