Friday, January 22, 2010

Top 10 Funny Science Videos

Very dorky science videos.

Marshall Nirenberg (April 10, 1927 – January 15, 2010)

Marshall Nirenberg passed away recently from cancer. Nirenberg is famous for "deciphering" the genetic code. I wrote a piece about him earlier in this blog. In the classic experiment with Heinrich Matthei, the duo showed that nucleic acid codon poly-uracil (UUU) coded for the amino acid phenylalanine.

According to a New York Times Obituary, Nirenberg was “enthusiastic and magnetic. He had an idea every two or three minutes."

NIH has an excellent exhibit on the genetic code discovery.

Nirenberg shared the 1968 Nobel Prize with Robert Holley and Gobind Khorana.

Nirenberg's collected papers can be found at the National Library of Medicine.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Parasite of the Day

My colleague at the American Museum of Natural History, Susan Perkins, has started an ambitious new blog. She will be introducing a new parasite to the world each day in Parasite of the Day. Unfortunately, perhaps, for the hosts of the world, Susan has plenty of subject matter and should be busy for quite some time. A recent paper in PNAS (Dobson et al. 2008) states that although they "estimate that there are between 75,000 and 300,000 helminth species parasitizing the vertebrates. [They] have no credible way of estimating how many parasitic protozoa, fungi, bacteria, and viruses exist. At least the helminths parasites of vertebrates will keep Susan busy for the next 821 years or so.

The photo above is of Neoechinorhynchus emyditoides a species of acanthocephalan, or thorny-headed worm, by Mike Barger.