Comment »Posted on Sunday 17 August 2008 at 4:52 pm by Jacob Aron
In Biology, Physics, Weekly Roundup

Nanoscientist Chad A. Mirkin use a new technique called Polymer Pen Lithography to create the microscopic Olympic logos, shown below. The technology allows a single device to print at three different sizes and could be used in a range of industries, from computing to medicine. The Olympic logo perfectly demonstrates the use of these differing scales. The text is made up of around 20,000 dots that are 90 nanometres in diameter, whilst the Olympic rings and stylised athlete are made from approximately 4,000 dots that are 600 nanometres in diameter. The switch in scale is made possible by applying increasing pressure to the nano-pen, which causes the tip to deform and become wider. For finer work, it snaps back into place when the pressure is released.

Tiny Olympic logos, 70 micrometers long and 60 micrometers wide.

If you have a terrible singing voice, it might not be because you’re tone deaf – you could just be a bad singer! Neuroscientists at the State University of New York at Buffalo and at Simon Fraser University have suggested that poor perception of tone is just one possible explanation for awful singing. You could also have poor control of your vocal chords, the inability to imitate what it is you hear, or simply a bad memory. The research has shown that being unable to reproduce a note that you have heard is the most likely explanation – your ears, brain and vocal chords just can’t get coordinated. Something to bear in mind for your next solo in the shower!

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