« February 7, 2019 | Main | February 9, 2019 »

February 8, 2019

Eight crossings and 192 atoms long: the tightest knot ever tied*

Screen Shot 2019-01-31 at 7.16.40 AM

From the New York Times:


British scientists have tied the tightest knot ever tied and, as unlikely as it may seem, this is important.

Knots are useful in everyday life and specific kinds of knots are suitable for specific tasks — bowlines, cleats, hitches, and nooses all hold things together in different ways.

The same is true on the molecular level, where braided or knotted strings of atoms and molecules can be put together in different patterns with varying characteristics.

Until now, scientists have been able to create only simple molecular knots with three or five crossings of strands.

Now researchers, in a study published in Science, have described a way to tie a much more complicated, and therefore much stronger, knot.

Everyone knows, for example, that Kevlar is very strong — impenetrable even to a bullet. But why?

Its molecules connect to form long chains that run parallel to each other. Together these molecules form an extremely strong yet flexible material.

But the structure of Kevlar is relatively simple: identical molecules packed tightly next to each other like pencils in a pencil box.

Knotted or woven strands of molecules, on the other hand, can potentially create an even more flexible, lighter and stronger material — a tightly knit sweater on the molecular level.

To create their stronger knot, a team of researchers mixed oxygen, nitrogen and carbon in a solution with metal ions.

The organic molecules wrap themselves around sticky iron ions and chloride ions, crossing in just the right ways and at just the right points.

The loose ends were then sealed together chemically, forming a completely tied knot with eight crossings.

The number of crossings made the knot much tighter than anything that had ever been achieved before at the molecular level.

The entire loop is tiny, the length of 192 atoms.

David A. Leigh, a chemistry professor at the University of Manchester and a co-author of the study, said that while the technique was still some time away from any practical application, the potential is clear.

"Knotting and weaving have led to breakthrough technologies since prehistoric times, when men first learned to make fishing nets or weave fabrics to keep warm," he said. "Knots are just as important at the molecular level, but we can't exploit them until we learn how to make them."


*As of January 16, 2017

February 8, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Yale School of Art's throwback homepage

Screen Shot 2019-01-31 at 1.23.18 PM

"This website is a wiki. All School of Art grad students, faculty, staff, and alums have the ability to change most of this site's content (with some exceptions); and to add new content and pages."

February 8, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


Screen Shot 2019-02-07 at 12.30.49 PM


McDonald's created the Frylus — a french fry-shaped stylus — and offered it last year as a solution for greasy fingerprints on your phone screen.

From the Guardian: "Your hands might be covered in grease, but the tool allowed you to use your phone without touching it."

Yo Samsung: call McDonald's immediately.

February 8, 2019 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Moral Machine

Fair warning: there goes the day.

February 8, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Best T-shirt of the year


It's not even close.


February 8, 2019 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

« February 7, 2019 | Main | February 9, 2019 »