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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Video: This Molecule Doesn't Horse Around
14 September 2010 5:26 pm
Molecules are nothing like horses. But if they were, they'd be a bit smarter, because they would have figured out that trotting is a colossal waste of energy. Researchers placed four different carbon-ring molecules with oxygen atoms for "legs" on a copper surface. Heat exchange propelled them forward. Two-legged molecules moved roughly the way humans walk: one leg after the other. The four-legged ones walked in much the same way, moving first the atoms on one side, then the atoms on the other—a gait known as pacing. They never trotted like a horse does. That's because, according to simulations the team reports online this month in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, moving diagonally opposite legs at the same time distorts the molecule—and thus requires much more energy than pacing. But even pacing has disadvantages: The team found that two-legged molecules were much better at moving through obstacles than were four-legged ones.
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