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Friday, April 27, 2018

THE LATEST IN SCIENCE

In my final few days of this daily blog site, I salute Scientific American, for during my wait between the first and second holes at the Ala Wai Golf Course, I have mostly read this magazine to keep abreast of science.  In the March issue are these three topics:
  • Island of Stability (Christoph Dullman and Michael Block)
    • Did you know that there are 118 known elements?  Here is the periodic table you might have seen in your chemistry class (there were 102 elements when I started college):

    • #118 Og is Oganesson, for Yuri Oganessian of Russia is a pioneer in this field.  Further:
      • #113 Nihonium, or Japan, where this element was synthesized.
      • #114 is Flerovium, in honor of Russian Georgy Flyorov.
      • #115 is Moscovium, and you can guess Russians also were the discoverers.
      • #116 is Livermorium, because researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNR) worked with Russians to create this element.  I just learned that Livermore comes from landowner Robert Livermore.  Edward Teller and Ernest Lawrence (right, with Teller to the right) founded LLNR.  I worked at this lab a couple of times way under Teller in laser fusion.
      • #117 is Tennesine because Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee provided the Berkelium to synthesize this element.
    • The next discovery, #119, is temporarily known as Unanennium, and is especially significant, for it will be the first element in the eighth period.  RIKEN in Japan and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research at Dubna, Russia are battling to be the discoverer.  Japan has the current edge.  My lunch guest from Japan earlier this week came to Nihon University from Riken.
  • There is a simple recipe now for making babies from skin cells (Karen  Weintraubat this time, only mice):
    • Scrape skin cells from the tail of a donor mouse.
    • Add the appropriate cocktail to convert them into stem cells.
    • Add more chemicals to transform the above into either eggs or sperms.
    • Add ovarian cells, or, in general, attempt to maintain a mouse womb environment.
    • Fertilize these eggs with sperms.
    • Result:  baby mice.
    • Clearly, someday human skins will be used for, guess what?
    • The USA and Japan are two countries which prevent that step, but similar morality constraints are not so limiting in China and Israel.

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