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Periodic Table Etched Onto a Single Hair

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the because-they-can dept.

United Kingdom 59

adeelarshad82 writes "The University of Nottingham's Nanotechnology Center decided to help Professor of chemistry, Martyn Poliakoff celebrate his special day by 'etching' a copy of a Periodic Table of Elements onto a single strand of the scientist's hair using a 'very sophisticated' electron ion beam microscope. The microscope creates a very fine etching of the periodic table only a few microns across by shooting a 'focused ion beam' of gallium ions at the hair. The technology here is nothing revolutionary, but it is inspiring to see a grown man get so giddy with the prospect of seeing science in action."

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Useful (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34708084)

That's amazingly useful. Now if only I could carry that book I was meaning to read on a hair in my pocket....

Re:Useful (1)

queazocotal (915608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34777262)

Did anyone else have the urge to obtain a hare, shave it, and tattoo the periodic table onto it?

Just in time! (2)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34708094)

Just in time for the Periodic Table to be changed [ottawacitizen.com] , making this outdated!

Re:Just in time! (3, Informative)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34708102)

Except this periodic table just lists the elements and their positions.

What is changing is how the weights are displayed.

Re:Just in time! (2)

commlinx (1068272) | more than 3 years ago | (#34708198)

Just in time for the Periodic Table to be changed [ottawacitizen.com] , making this outdated!

A new kind of hair loss?

Re:Just in time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34708940)

FTFA you were linking to:

(Quick, ever seen darmstadtium?)

Just for the records, that element would be something like "intestine cityum" in English ...

Re:Just in time! (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34712922)

The professor and the team have already addressed that in another video they recorded last week:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQ48TwPKHiQ [youtube.com]

And they still haven't figured out (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34708100)

a way to make my dick bigger.

Re:And they still haven't figured out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34708162)

Well, they certainly can't make it any smaller.

Re:And they still haven't figured out (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34708196)

True. And what a pity, too. They'll have to find the solution to that one before they can etch the Periodic Table onto your dick.

Re:And they still haven't figured out (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34708206)

True. And what a pity. They'll have to find the answer to that one before they can etch the Periodic Table onto your dick.

Re:And they still haven't figured out (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34708276)

So you're saying the periodic table wouldn't fit on it even this way?

Re:And they still haven't figured out (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34709032)

Google "Jessica Biel red bikini"

Re:And they still haven't figured out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34713104)

CmdrTaco is that you?

Re:And they still haven't figured out (1)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 2 years ago | (#34716472)

Is your small pole still makes her sad in bedroom?

Didn't you got my emails?

Awnsers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34708114)

Does anyone have the answers to the final on a hair for me?

mental note... (3, Funny)

drdoot (1467353) | more than 3 years ago | (#34708150)

...inscribe cheat sheets on hair for next uni exam....

Re:mental note... (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34717586)

"What do you mean I can't bring an electron microscope into the exam hall? That guy has a calculator!"

- RG>

Re:mental note... (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34762346)

Nah, hand in the answers on a pubic hair. A much better way to annoy that lecturer you don't like....

SO IS SAYZ TO HIM, I'D LIKE TO SEE YOU SPELL MEDUT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34708172)

So I says to him, I says, I'd like to see you spell medutermanium, and he goes, right, and so he does, and I am like, wow, coo!

Real scince breakthrough! (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 3 years ago | (#34708204)

I wonder whether scientists and engineers have a use of resources better aimed to mankind benefit.
But I could be wrong as I'm hairless.

Wallace & Grommit (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34708212)

The professor in the video sounds a bit like Wallace of "Wallace & Grommit" with the "ooh's" and "aah's".

Re:Wallace & Grommit (1)

f5hacka (884374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34709996)

But he looks like Bill Nye and Einstein after an Atomic Headbutt© smashed their faces into ONE

His special day (1)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 3 years ago | (#34708214)

His birthday, if you read the article, but the summary refers back to something that's not been stated. Did anyone even read this submission before posting it?

"His special day" (1)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 3 years ago | (#34708224)

His birthday, apparently. Wouldn't know from the summary. Did anyone proof read this submission before posting?

smuggling information. (1)

bronney (638318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34708238)

so now I just need to burn whatever I want on a hair and carry that across countries, decode it on the other side ...

Exam proctors beware! (1)

darthwader (130012) | more than 3 years ago | (#34708258)

If you notice a student looking very carefully at her hair, she is probably cheating like this. For enhanced exam security, all body hair must be removed before entering the examination room.

Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34708712)

Now the professors are going to make me cut my hair and shave before every test.

Think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34708734)

To all of the people who say "Pfft, this is useless!". USE YOUR IMAGINATION.

This could be vital to somebody's education. This could be an important testing step in the development of a nanotech tool. This could accelerate barber science considerably.

Not Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34708798)

The technology here is nothing revolutionary, but it is inspiring to see a grown man get so giddy with the prospect of seeing science in action."

The "science in action" is nothing but applied technology. Science is more about testing hypotheses than applying established theories.

Sorry for me being a Science Nazi.

Nerd of the year (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34708800)

He's got my vote... wow. Just, wow.

Re:Nerd of the year (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34712602)

He taught me at undergraduate level - Atomic and Molecular Structure, and is very well known around the university. He's the brother of film director Stephen Poliakoff, and is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.

He's also a huge nerd, and has an enormous collection of dog toys (he has no dog) that he uses in his lectures, and his office is full of plastic water bottles from all over the world that he collects "pretty much by accident" - a white lie about a hobby that turned into a real hobby.

This video is part of a larger series by the University of Nottingham, shot and edited by Brady Haran. Their channel is http://www.youtube.com/user/periodicvideos [youtube.com] - but they also have a separate one for the physics department called Sixty Symbols. The videos are excellent introductions to each of the elements (there's one for every one on the table) and various molecules, reactions and current events. There's one that looks at the chemistry involved in the red mud disaster in Europe this year, for example, and one about the Iceland volcano. It's well worth checking them out, if only to give my friends and colleagues some more exposure!

Crypto key (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34709066)

They could encode a cryptographic key, such as the AACS key for HD-DVD/Blu-Ray.

time capsule (1)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34709158)

Future archaeologists will unearth this remarkable strand and wonder "Were they bored? Or just really excited about combining electrons and protons?"

missing data (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34709260)

With no atomic masses included, this table is useless for cheating on my Chem tests!

Next challenge (1)

jbatista (1205630) | more than 3 years ago | (#34709266)

The next challenge is to use this technique to cheat on exams.

Cheaters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34709492)

Great, now I'm goign to have shave my entire body next time I go to take an exam...

Call Holmes! (1)

Hitman_Frost (798840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34709534)

The team from the Nanotechnology and Nanoscience Centre also entered the festive spirit and took advantage of the wintry weather by engraving the words 'Merry Christmas' onto a snowflake. Philip Moriarty, professor of physics, said: 'Although writing on a snowflake is on one hand a bit of seasonal fun, it's also a neat demonstration of the powerful capabilities of the tools that scientists use in the lab on a day-to-day basis.'

What everyone has missed from this particular version of the story is that Nottingham University has a *Professor Moriarty* on their staff!

Call Holmes!

Call Holmes! (1)

Hitman_Frost (798840) | more than 3 years ago | (#34709664)

The team from the Nanotechnology and Nanoscience Centre also entered the festive spirit and took advantage of the wintry weather by engraving the words 'Merry Christmas' onto a snowflake.

Philip Moriarty, professor of physics, said: 'Although writing on a snowflake is on one hand a bit of seasonal fun, it's also a neat demonstration of the powerful capabilities of the tools that scientists use in the lab on a day-to-day basis.'

What has been missed from this article is that Nottingham University has a *Professor Moriarty* on its staff, who has access to ion beam equipment!

Call Holmes!

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34709768)

What type of hair was it? My pubic hair are thicker than my head hair.

Let me know when (1)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 3 years ago | (#34710138)

they get a complete LOC on a single strand of hair.,,

old news is old! (1)

sleepy_weasel (839947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34710298)

Saw this on Sciam.com probably two weeks ago, and on fark.com a few days after that...

So, is the approval process just that slow here?

Re:old news is old! (1)

Ismellpoop (1949100) | more than 3 years ago | (#34711086)

shhh don't mention Fark last time I did I got a serious case of bad karma. Funny thing is who would waste mod points on something like that?

Thoughtful Gift (1)

joshuao3 (776721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34710396)

It's hard to give a thoughtful gift. The guys at the Nanotechnology Center have done a very excellent job at a tough task. While it doesn't necessarily advance mankind, it made one person's day that much better. I applaud this effort.

Revised elements song (2)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34711854)

A more impressive feat would be rewriting Tom Lehrer's elements song to accomodate all the new elements of which the news has come to Harvard. Ununseptium doesn't have the lyrical qualities of "Indium" and "Gallium".

I will just write it on my hand like homer simpson (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34712012)

I will just write it on my hand like homer simpson.

hairs in vacuum (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#34712082)

Martyn Poliakoff says:

I don't think I've ever had any of my hairs put into vacuum before.

- he must have one hairy apartment!

--

On the other hand it would have been even cooler if they stuck a few atoms of each element from the periodic table onto his hair in the right order as well. Bonus points for doing it while the hair is still on his head. More bonus points for doing it to every hair on his head. Extra super bonus points for trying to go through TSA at a local airport with that kind of hair to see what would happen, would they detect things like uranium?

Re:hairs in vacuum (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34712652)

A single atom of Uranium, no chance.

The amount of Polonium 110 used to kill Alexander Litvenenko was about 10 micrograms, which is significantly more than a single atom, and no airport detector is going to pick that up, especially if it's inside a container (it's an alpha emitter only).

More amusing was the "outrage" on talk radio shows here from members of the public (and the host himself) about why there weren't procedures and detectors in place to pick this sort of thing up at airports to prevent it happening. You think backscatter scanners are bad? Just wait until each person has to be searched for 10 micrograms of Polonium!

Re:hairs in vacuum (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#34713660)

That's why I said put a bunch of atoms for each element on each hair he has. Don't have to stop at only the head either...

Re:hairs in vacuum (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#34713894)

"A bunch" is still not many.

In 10 micrograms of uranium (assuming U238 only) there are 1.43x 10^34 atoms, for example. That's a few more than "a bunch", and 10 micrograms is an extremely small amount.

Re:hairs in vacuum (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#34714486)

so, and with all the hair, put a bunch of atoms on each hair (a bunch, which would be readable with that microscope they used, thus at micron level, with each element being 4 microns across (4/1000000 of a meter across), place a table like that on each hair, you have quite a few. You can go ahead and calculate how many hairs the guy has and how many 4 micron Uraniums and Thoriums and Plutoniums and Americiums he would have.

Re:hairs in vacuum (1)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 2 years ago | (#34716376)

Something is very wrong with your calculation. I got 2.53*10^16 atoms.

Re:hairs in vacuum (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#34716500)

Did I divide by Na or 1/Na perhaps? - I did it on my phone without writing anything down.

Big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34712184)

One of Ozzy's hairs actually *contains* the entire periodic table.

Smelly nerds! (1)

Singularity42 (1658297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34712546)

Popular guys who actually get sex would inscribe the book of GENESIS, not this nerdy stuff.

Related story (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 2 years ago | (#34714164)

Doesn't it amaze you the lengths that students will go to cheat on their tests? They are now engraving the answers in their hair.

Quotes are for...? (1)

drcheap (1897540) | more than 2 years ago | (#34714980)

What's with all the 'quoted phrases' in TFS that imply the reader would have no clue what these highly-scientific terms mean?

'etching' 'very sophisticated' 'focused ion beam'

Reminds me of the Harvey Birdman episode Back to the Present where George Jetson is goin on about how "In the 'future' we use 'computers' to ..."

I disagree.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34715838)

What he said is very revolutionary. The standard model and presentation is being changed, from Mendeleev time, the isotope average has been fixed, now its a range! Excellent. Science at work. And thanks to all those nerdy element creators! Where do I get one of those totally neerdy Peroidic table coffee cups? When a new element comes out do they print new ones? Nifty!

Omniprobe (1)

Ponyegg (866243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34753542)

I loved the option in the on-screen menu 'Insert Omniprobe'... muahahahaha
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