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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
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ScienceShot: Pictures Reveal Weight of Cells
30 August 2012 3:48 pm
Guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar is tricky, but try guessing the weight of a cell just by looking at it (left). Scientists have now accomplished this feat using nothing more than a standard laboratory microscope and a digital camera. By analyzing how an object bends or refracts light (middle), image-processing algorithms can deduce its composition. Knowing an object's makeup allows one to infer its density (right), and because the microscope can also be used to measure an object's dimensions and volume, that data altogether enables researchers to calculate the cell’s mass. This technique, reported online this week in Physical Review Letters, found that human red blood cells have an average dry mass of 27.2 trillionths of a gram. This is in line with past measurements, which have typically relied on custom-built instruments. Researchers say the new approach could help monitor how live cells grow and change over time, such as in response to disease or environmental changes.
See more ScienceShots.