Monday, 19 February 2007

Cells outed

In his poem Lamia, Keats lamented that the desire of scientists to understand the natural world destroyed its beauty.
Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
We know her woof, her texture; she is given
In the dull catalogue of common things.
Philosophy will clip an Angel’s wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine -
Unweave a rainbow ...

I can't speak for anyone else but I find that exploring the natural world adds to its beauty. Dammit, it lets you double dip. A rainbow is a magnificent sight. But it's also a marvel of physics. Knowing how one forms does not obliterate its splendour. It gives another blast of wonderment.

Cells aren't quite as spectacular as rainbows but they are even more amazing. This animation depicts the workings of one. This is the short version, which I first encountered on the Bronze Blog (under the heading From the "Universe is frikkin' amazing!" file). The high resolution original—with commentary—is on the Harvard University web site.

We watched it at work today. We concur. The universe really is frikkin' amazing.

5 comments:

TAW said...

Funny, I had JUST watched (literally seconds ago) this animation before coming here.

This is a higher quality version- http://studiodaily.com/main/searchlist/6850.html

and this one is longer, and is narrated. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPTFYNji0rc

TAW said...

Oy... I'm stoopid. Did I mention I just woke up? lol.

Snail said...

Thanks for those links.

I watched the videos yesterday in the company of a cell biologist and a microbiologist. When it finished, we felt that we probably weren't worthy of our cells!

tapperboy said...

Neato, music wasn't bad either. Thanks

Snail said...

The music is perfect, ain't it?