Natural nano-machines. 1. Alice in a micro-factory

Chowdhury, Debashish (2007) Natural nano-machines. 1. Alice in a micro-factory Resonance - Journal of Science Education, 12 (1). pp. 4-14. ISSN 0971-8044

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Imagine an underwater factory which is about 10μm long in each direction. The factory is filled with machienes, each typically a few tens of nanometers long, which perform specific tasks and operate in a well-coordinated manner. A cell, the structural and functional unit of life, is not very different from this micro-factory. In this two-part article, I begin with Alice's guided tour of this micro-factory in her dream during which the guide shows her wide varieties of nano-machines. The style of presentation of the first part is inspired by Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland. In the second part, I introduce the methods of studying the materials and mechanisms of the molecular machines through dialogues. The three participants in this discussion are Alice, her elder brother Alex and her father Albert. The style of presentation of the second part is adapted from Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. Albert, a professor of biophysics, emphasizes the crucial difference between the mechanisms of the natural nano-machienes and those of their macroscopic counterparts. He also points out some practical applications of this inter-disciplinary research in biomedical science and nano-technology.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences.
Keywords:Motor Protein; Intra-cellular Transport; Ion Pump; ATP Synthase
ID Code:89049
Deposited On:30 Mar 2012 10:17
Last Modified:19 May 2016 03:42

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