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Papers on photosynthesis 

"Photonic multilayer structure of Begonia chloroplasts enhances photosynthetic efficiency"
Jacobs et al (2016), Nature Plants

:OpenAccess: available via unpaywall

(With thanks to @daylight for the article link!)

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Visible light photocatalysis review articles 

I'm going to keep a thread of these here, in case I need them later. It's helpful for me, but others may find them interesting! Open access versions wherever possible.

"Solar Synthesis: Prospects in Visible Light Photocatalysis"
Schultz & Yoon (2014)

Up Goer Five your abstract! (2/2) 

We look at our lines which are not straight and someone else's lines which are not straight and find out that ours are better because we use more of them. We try to guess what the small shaking things in space are and where the even smaller things inside them are. We talk about what we find out and what that means for how very small space things are made and what happens to them in space.

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Up Goer Five your abstract! (1/2) 

A lot of pictures of coloured light from space that you can't see were taken with a very big space camera while it was still working, for a large number of big bright space things. This paper uses lines which are not straight to do the same thing as the bright light from very small shaking things in space which are made from even smaller things in different places.

Wait, there's an entire journal called pteridines? Official Journal of the International Society of Pteridinology?

I feel like maybe I've underestimated this one weird type of molecule...

A minor gripe about publication fragmentation 

Some journal papers are a bit like Ikea furniture. If you just pick one thing off the shelf, you don't quite get everything you need.

Especially with letters and other short, rapid publications, you'll find separate supplementary information documents. And I just wish they'd let people put all the necessary information into a single document, as appendices if need be, instead of imposing arbitrary page or word limits.

It just bugs me TBH.

Doing quantum chemistry calculations on any metal heavier than Xenon is such a headache. Why are all of these basis sets so rubbish?

Incidentally, for anyone who isn't a physicist, rest masses have units of MeV/c² because, as Einstein showed us all, E = mc².

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Quiz Answers ⚛️ 

The correct answer, surprisingly, is the Top Quark!

Here are the rest masses of these particles, from highest to lowest, in MeV/c².

Top Quark 173210 MeV/c²

Higgs Boson 125180 MeV/c²

Xenon atom 122299 MeV/c²

Omega Meson 782 MeV/c²

Honestly, the fact that there are subatomic particles which are heavier than some large atoms still surprises me too.

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Particle physics pop quiz! ⚛️ Which of these particles has the most mass?

I'll post the answer after the poll closes. Please don't cheat and look up numbers!

Note to self:
ラマン分光法 not ラーメン分光法 🍜

Update on the tactile black hole image:

I have now made available the printable files for prototype number 2:
This will also be the location for future updates.

Details are there, but it should be possible to print the object on most plastic-extrusion 3D printers.

There are a number of other 3D-printable scientific visualizations (and other things) available from that same location.

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A different view of the M87 black hole image.

I know posting a picture of the tactile black hole doesn't help its intended audience, but if you're interested in one please get in touch. Print-it-yourself files will come when the design is more final.


Photocatalysts and electron relays 

So there's this weird little contradiction in my work and it bugs me.

The things I work on aim to mimic the kind of photosynthesis which plants use. A molecule commonly used as an electron relay in molecular photocatalyst systems is methyl viologen. Methyl viologen is also known as paraquat, which is an industrial herbicide.

Copying plants by using a contact plant poison feels... not good. I'm hoping I can find something better to use.


Sorry, this is a total tangent, but a friend did some cool work with atomic force microscopy - molecules that looked just like DFT predicted - so I printed him up some of his data. It's fun visualizing actual data!

This will be the sixth time we have reanalysed the data, and we have become exceedingly efficient at it.

funding is the mindkiller 💸 

So my office on campus currently has 4 people.

I was supposed to have 2 years of postdoc funding, but after a grant proposal got rejected I only have 1, and most of it is already gone.

The other postdoc got her second year of funding rejected for bullshit reasons.

The Masters student got her PhD application rejected because of bureaucracy and probably some amount of internal politics.

Needless to say, none of us are really in the mood for research right now.

Anyway, I’ve joined the Massive Science Consortium to work on improving my science communication and maybe even get paid to do so!

If you are also interested in working on sci comm, or maybe just interested in reading some science stories, here’s a link to learn about Massive Science:

(Not an ad, I’m not getting paid yet but this is definitely something I believe in)

"It was a game. A very interesting game one could play. Whenever one solved one of the little problems, one could write a paper about it. It was very easy in those days for any second rate physicist to do first-rate work. There has not been such a glorious time since. It is very difficult now for a first-rate physicist to do second-rate work."

– Paul Dirac, on the early days of quantum mechanics

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Scholar Social is a microblogging platform for researchers, grad students, librarians, archivists, undergrads, academically inclined high schoolers, educators of all levels, journal editors, research assistants, professors, administrators—anyone involved in academia who is willing to engage with others respectfully.