Tensegrity and Complex Systems Biology
The Ingber laboratory is interested in the general mechanism of cell and developmental regulation: how cells respond to signals and coordinate their behaviors to produce tissues with specialized form and function. The specific focus is on control of angiogenesis and vascular development. Our approach has been driven by our hypothesis that the process of tissue construction may be regulated mechanically. We introduced the concept that living cells stabilize their internal cytoskeleton, and control their shape and mechanics, using an architectural system first described by Buckminster Fuller, known as tensegrity.
Tensegrity and Complex Systems Biology
Our approach to understanding cellular hardware is based on cellular tensegrity theory. Tensegrity is a building principle that was first described by the architect R. Buckminster Fuller and first visualized by the sculptor Kenneth Snelson. Fuller defines tensegrity systems as structures that stabilize their shape by continuous tension or "tensional integrity" rather than by continuous compression (e.g., as used in a stone arch).
The cellular tensegrity model proposes that the whole cell is a prestressed tensegrity structure, although geodesic structures are also found in the cell at smaller size scales (e.g. clathrin-coated vesicles, viral capsids).
Cellular Tensegrity Theory: Cells and tissues are organized as discrete network structures, and they use tensegrity architecture to mechanically stabilize themselves. In the cellular tensegrity theory, complex mechanical behaviors in cells and tissues emerge through establishment of a mechanical force balance between different molecular elements in the cytoskeleton and ECM that maintains the cell in a state of isometric tension.
Scientific American wbesite, download the article: The Architecture of Life
Buckypaper stronger than Steel' by Barry Ray
by Barry Ray of Florida State University
Working with a material 10 times lighter than steel—but 250 times stronger—would be a dream come true for any engineer. If this material also had amazing properties that made it highly conductive of heat and electricity, it would start to sound like something out of a science fiction novel. Yet one Florida State University research group, the Florida Advanced Center for Composite Technologies (FAC2T), is working to develop real-world applications for just such a material.
Dr. Ben Wang
Ben Wang, a professor of industrial engineering at the Florida A&M University-FSU College of Engineering, serves as director of FAC2T, which works to develop new, high-performance composite materials, as well as technologies for producing them.
Wang is widely acknowledged as a pioneer in the growing field of nano-materials science. His main area of research, involving an extraordinary material known as "buckypaper," has shown promise in a variety of applications, including the development of aerospace structures, the production of more-effective body armor and armored vehicles, and the construction of next-generation computer displays. The U.S. military has shown a keen interest in the military applications of Wang's research; in fact, the Army Research Lab recently awarded FAC2T a $2.5-million grant, while the Air Force Office of Scientific Research awarded $1.2 million.
At FAC2T, our objective is to push the envelope to find out just how strong a composite material we can make using buckypaper," Wang said. "In addition, we're focused on developing processes that will allow it to be mass-produced cheaply."
Buckypaper is made from carbon nanotubes—amazingly strong fibers about 1/50,000th the diameter of a human hair that were first developed in the early 1990s. Buckypaper owes its name to Buckminsterfullerene, or Carbon 60—a type of carbon molecule whose powerful atomic bonds make it twice as hard as a diamond. Sir Harold Kroto, now a professor and scientist with FSU's department of chemistry and biochemistry, and two other scientists shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery of Buckminsterfullerene, nicknamed "buckyballs" for the molecules' spherical shape. Their discovery has led to a revolution in the fields of chemistry and materials science—and directly contributed to the development of buckypaper.
Among the possible uses for buckypaper that are being researched at FAC2T:
* If exposed to an electric charge, buckypaper could be used to illuminate computer and television screens. It would be more energy-efficient, lighter, and would allow for a more uniform level of brightness than current cathode ray tube (CRT) and liquid crystal display (LCD) technology.
* As one of the most thermally conductive materials known, buckypaper lends itself to the development of heat sinks that would allow computers and other electronic equipment to disperse heat more efficiently than is currently possible. This, in turn, could lead to even greater advances in electronic miniaturization.
* Because it has an unusually high current-carrying capacity, a film made from buckypaper could be applied to the exteriors of airplanes. Lightning strikes then would flow around the plane and dissipate without causing damage.
* Films also could protect electronic circuits and devices within airplanes from electromagnetic interference, which can damage equipment and alter settings. Similarly, such films could allow military aircraft to shield their electromagnetic "signatures," which can be detected via radar.
FAC2T "is at the very forefront of a technological revolution that will dramatically change the way items all around us are produced," said Kirby Kemper, FSU's vice president for Research. "The group of faculty, staff, students and post-docs in this center have been visionary in their ability to recognize the tremendous potential of nanotechnology. The potential applications are mind-boggling."
FSU has four U.S. patents pending that are related to its buckypaper research.
In addition to his academic and scientific responsibilities, Wang recently was named FSU's assistant vice president for Research. In this role, he will help to advance research activities at the College of Engineering and throughout the university.
"I look forward to bringing researchers together to pursue rewarding research opportunities," Wang said. "We have very knowledgeable and talented faculty and students, and I will be working with them to help meet their full potential for advancement in their fields."
Source © Florida State University,
The Architecture of Life
from Scientific American, January 1998 | by Donald E. Ingber
Life is the ultimate example of complexity at work. An organism, whether it is a bacterium or a baboon, develops through an incredibly complex series of interactions involving a vast number of different components. These components, or subsystems, are themselves made up of smaller molecular components, which independently exhibit their own dynamic behavior, such as the ability to catalyze chemical reactions. Yet when they are combined into some larger functioning unit--such as a cell or tissue--utterly new and unpredictable properties emerge, including the ability to move, to change shape and to grow.
Although researchers have recognized this intriguing fact for some time, most discount it in their quest to explain life's fundamentals. For the past several decades, biologists have attempted to advance our understanding of how the human body works by defining the properties of life's critical materials and molecules, such as DNA, the stuff of genes. Indeed, biologists are now striving to identify every gene in the complete set, known as the genome that every human being carries. Because genes are the "blueprints" for the key molecules of life, such as proteins, this Holy Grail of molecular biology will lead in the near future to a catalogue of essentially all the molecules from which a human is created. Understanding what the parts of a complex machine are made of, however, does little to explain how the whole system works, regardless of whether the complex system is a combustion engine or a cell. In other words, identifying and describing the molecular puzzle pieces will do little if we do not understand the rules for their assembly.
* architecture of life
View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons.
Molecularium™ is an award-winning, groundbreaking Digital-Dome animation that takes audiences on an unforgettable adventure into the nanoscale universe of molecules with an ensemble cast of animated atoms. This National Science Foundation funded project was co-written and produced by Kurt Przybilla, long time BFI member, student of Synergetics and inventor of Tetra Tops™.
The Molecularium™ Project's premiere attraction, Riding Snowflakes, is a science lesson, a thrilling ride, a musical cartoon and a magical journey into the world of atoms and molecules. Aboard the Molecularium™, audiences join an ensemble cast of atomic characters on an immersive and unforgettable adventure into the nanoscale universe. Explore billions and trillions of molecules with Oxy, a precocious young oxygen atom, and Hydro and Hydra, her hydrogen sidekicks. Fly through the structure of a snowflake in the most fantastic ship in the Universe at a digital planetarium dome near you soon.
The Molecularium™ Project is an entirely new way to learn. It is committed to promoting science literacy and awareness for children of all ages. Our goal is to create a series of unique vehicles using engaging atomic characters to fulfill this commitment.
Molecularium™ is the result of an unprecedented collaboration between scientists and artists, educators and entertainers. The first show of its kind, Molecularium™ presents accurate molecular simulations within a musical cartoon adventure. The crew of Molecularium™ draws from the talents of over 100 people from a wide range of disciplines: scientists, molecular simulators, computer animators, story and song writers, character creators, singers, actors, musicians, teachers, students, software developers, audio and video engineers, and many more.
Molecularium™ is the flagship outreach and informal education effort of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's National Science Foundation funded Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for Directed Assembly of Nanostructures.
TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION OF THE MOLECULARIUM™
Omnidirectional Projection Systems: The development of digital dome projection systems for planetaria is a recent one. Digital dome is an emerging medium that allows us to use the dome to visualize much more than space and stars. Most well known large planetaria have already installed multiple projector digital systems, but the development of single projector systems with an omnifocus lens has radically reduced cost and complexity, and created a rapidly growing number of small digital dome systems worldwide.
Omnidirectional Fisheye Lens: Molecularium™ was developed in a digital dome with a single lens projection system. Inspired by this innovation, the Molecularium™ team developed its counterpart: an omnidirectional fisheye lens for a virtual camera. The omnidirectional camera captures an entire immersive world in a single frame, instead of using multiple shots from different camera angles that are later stitched together, as is commonly done. This is a radical innovation, as it allows for the streamlining, ease of use, and democratization of the digital dome medium.
Molecular Simulation: The many molecular environments in "Riding Snowflakes" are derived from accurate theoretical simulations (circa 2005). Generating the molecular worlds described in the screenplay entailed a wide range of challenges in statistical mechanics, molecular modeling, and simulation. To create a truly immersive portal into the nanoscale universe, required simulations of a massive scale and complexity, an entirely unusual request for the chemical and biological engineers and scientists involved in the project. Additionally, the creation of a believable, dynamic, and cinematic molecular landscape that visualizes the plot twists and dramatic tension of the story, posed a host of new creative challenges for the collaborating scientists. Their involvement in this work has brought about insights that will hopefully spark a breakthrough in the very real worlds of energy, environment, and health.
Data Driven Animation: Translating the vast amount scientific simulation data posed unique challenges for Molecularium's™ CG animation team. The gigantic data sets generated by the incredible numbers of atoms in most scenes required innovative procedural animation techniques to enable the computers to process and render through an omnidirectional fisheye world-view. As a result of this new hybrid of simulation and animation, we see the atomic structures of the universe as never before. Atoms and molecules are rendered with reflections, refractions, texture, color, lighting, motion blur, and atmospheric volume. They are rendered to be as believable and real as the objects that they constitute.
Be sure to check out the trailer and have fun building molecules in the Molecularium™ Project's interactive kid's website.
» Click here to visit molecularium.com
[TetraTops starter set - $8.95] [TetraTops deluxe set - $9.95] [TetraTops executive set - $16.95]
Click on the images above to check out the TetraTops™ kits in our on-line store.
Пространственные и сетчатые конструкции, Вернадский, Шухов, Ладовский, Крутиков, Мельников, Савельев, Мухин, Шевнин, Shevnin, геномная архитектура
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