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United Kingdom Idle Science Technology

Periodic Table Etched Onto a Single Hair 59

Posted by samzenpus
from the because-they-can dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "The University of Nottingham's Nanotechnology Center decided to help Professor of chemistry, Martyn Poliakoff celebrate his special day by 'etching' a copy of a Periodic Table of Elements onto a single strand of the scientist's hair using a 'very sophisticated' electron ion beam microscope. The microscope creates a very fine etching of the periodic table only a few microns across by shooting a 'focused ion beam' of gallium ions at the hair. The technology here is nothing revolutionary, but it is inspiring to see a grown man get so giddy with the prospect of seeing science in action."

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Periodic Table Etched Onto a Single Hair

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's amazingly useful. Now if only I could carry that book I was meaning to read on a hair in my pocket....

  • by DWMorse (1816016) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @02:55AM (#34708094) Homepage
    Just in time for the Periodic Table to be changed [ottawacitizen.com], making this outdated!
  • by drdoot (1467353) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @03:12AM (#34708150)
    ...inscribe cheat sheets on hair for next uni exam....
    • "What do you mean I can't bring an electron microscope into the exam hall? That guy has a calculator!"

      - RG>

    • Nah, hand in the answers on a pubic hair. A much better way to annoy that lecturer you don't like....
  • I wonder whether scientists and engineers have a use of resources better aimed to mankind benefit.
    But I could be wrong as I'm hairless.
  • The professor in the video sounds a bit like Wallace of "Wallace & Grommit" with the "ooh's" and "aah's".

    • by f5hacka (884374)
      But he looks like Bill Nye and Einstein after an Atomic Headbutt© smashed their faces into ONE
  • His birthday, if you read the article, but the summary refers back to something that's not been stated. Did anyone even read this submission before posting it?
  • His birthday, apparently. Wouldn't know from the summary. Did anyone proof read this submission before posting?
  • so now I just need to burn whatever I want on a hair and carry that across countries, decode it on the other side ...

  • If you notice a student looking very carefully at her hair, she is probably cheating like this. For enhanced exam security, all body hair must be removed before entering the examination room.

  • He's got my vote... wow. Just, wow.
    • by jo_ham (604554)

      He taught me at undergraduate level - Atomic and Molecular Structure, and is very well known around the university. He's the brother of film director Stephen Poliakoff, and is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.

      He's also a huge nerd, and has an enormous collection of dog toys (he has no dog) that he uses in his lectures, and his office is full of plastic water bottles from all over the world that he collects "pretty much by accident" - a white lie about a hobby that turned into a real hobby.

      This vide

  • Future archaeologists will unearth this remarkable strand and wonder "Were they bored? Or just really excited about combining electrons and protons?"
  • With no atomic masses included, this table is useless for cheating on my Chem tests!

  • The next challenge is to use this technique to cheat on exams.
  • The team from the Nanotechnology and Nanoscience Centre also entered the festive spirit and took advantage of the wintry weather by engraving the words 'Merry Christmas' onto a snowflake. Philip Moriarty, professor of physics, said: 'Although writing on a snowflake is on one hand a bit of seasonal fun, it's also a neat demonstration of the powerful capabilities of the tools that scientists use in the lab on a day-to-day basis.'

    What everyone has missed from this particular version of the story is that Nottin

  • The team from the Nanotechnology and Nanoscience Centre also entered the festive spirit and took advantage of the wintry weather by engraving the words 'Merry Christmas' onto a snowflake.

    Philip Moriarty, professor of physics, said: 'Although writing on a snowflake is on one hand a bit of seasonal fun, it's also a neat demonstration of the powerful capabilities of the tools that scientists use in the lab on a day-to-day basis.'

    What has been missed from this article is that Nottingham University has a *Profes

  • they get a complete LOC on a single strand of hair.,,

  • Saw this on Sciam.com probably two weeks ago, and on fark.com a few days after that...

    So, is the approval process just that slow here?

    • shhh don't mention Fark last time I did I got a serious case of bad karma. Funny thing is who would waste mod points on something like that?
  • It's hard to give a thoughtful gift. The guys at the Nanotechnology Center have done a very excellent job at a tough task. While it doesn't necessarily advance mankind, it made one person's day that much better. I applaud this effort.
  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @11:40AM (#34711854)

    A more impressive feat would be rewriting Tom Lehrer's elements song to accomodate all the new elements of which the news has come to Harvard. Ununseptium doesn't have the lyrical qualities of "Indium" and "Gallium".

  • I will just write it on my hand like homer simpson.

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @12:03PM (#34712082) Homepage Journal

    Martyn Poliakoff says:

    I don't think I've ever had any of my hairs put into vacuum before.

    - he must have one hairy apartment!

    --

    On the other hand it would have been even cooler if they stuck a few atoms of each element from the periodic table onto his hair in the right order as well. Bonus points for doing it while the hair is still on his head. More bonus points for doing it to every hair on his head. Extra super bonus points for trying to go through TSA at a local airport with that kind of hair to see what would happen, would they detect things like uranium?

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      A single atom of Uranium, no chance.

      The amount of Polonium 110 used to kill Alexander Litvenenko was about 10 micrograms, which is significantly more than a single atom, and no airport detector is going to pick that up, especially if it's inside a container (it's an alpha emitter only).

      More amusing was the "outrage" on talk radio shows here from members of the public (and the host himself) about why there weren't procedures and detectors in place to pick this sort of thing up at airports to prevent it happe

      • by roman_mir (125474)

        That's why I said put a bunch of atoms for each element on each hair he has. Don't have to stop at only the head either...

        • by jo_ham (604554)

          "A bunch" is still not many.

          In 10 micrograms of uranium (assuming U238 only) there are 1.43x 10^34 atoms, for example. That's a few more than "a bunch", and 10 micrograms is an extremely small amount.

          • by roman_mir (125474)

            so, and with all the hair, put a bunch of atoms on each hair (a bunch, which would be readable with that microscope they used, thus at micron level, with each element being 4 microns across (4/1000000 of a meter across), place a table like that on each hair, you have quite a few. You can go ahead and calculate how many hairs the guy has and how many 4 micron Uraniums and Thoriums and Plutoniums and Americiums he would have.

          • by Khashishi (775369)

            Something is very wrong with your calculation. I got 2.53*10^16 atoms.

            • by jo_ham (604554)

              Did I divide by Na or 1/Na perhaps? - I did it on my phone without writing anything down.

  • Doesn't it amaze you the lengths that students will go to cheat on their tests? They are now engraving the answers in their hair.

  • What's with all the 'quoted phrases' in TFS that imply the reader would have no clue what these highly-scientific terms mean?

    'etching' 'very sophisticated' 'focused ion beam'

    Reminds me of the Harvey Birdman episode Back to the Present where George Jetson is goin on about how "In the 'future' we use 'computers' to ..."

  • I loved the option in the on-screen menu 'Insert Omniprobe'... muahahahaha

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