Arthur Ashkin

October 6th: Drooling


Did you know that you can push stuff with light? More than that, you can use light to trap objects and move them around. Ok, the stuff has to be small, micrometric small. And the light better be a laser. And you need a lens. But this is pretty much all you need to build what is called Optical Tweezers.

It sounds all pretty simple, but it was less than 50 years ago that for the first time someone used light to trap things for the very first time. A few days ago,  that “someone” was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics: Sir Arthur Ashkin.

If you don’t think that moving objects by using light is impressive enough, you will surely be amazed that scientists have used optical tweezers to study almost anything in biology: red blood cells, neurons, DNA strands, bacteria. You could build custom molecules as if they were LEGOs, or study drool and determine how to improve drug delivery by nanoparticles, or just play Tetris

And all of this, thanks to Sir Ashkin, the very first space pirate!

If you are wondering what’s going on here, look at this post: Inking Science


Rock Chicken Rock!

The Last Jedi is on the big screens, Christmas carols are all around the streets, kids have already looked secretly at their presents.. and while the festive atmosphere fills the air, I am writing my PhD thesis.

In the search for the best dissertation title, I have shortlisted:

  1. What Bobafett and a chick have in common?
  2. How to use The Force to study biology?
  3. Pietrisycamollaviadelrechiotemexity

Only number 3 is true and scientifically accurate, but also quite depressing (translated from Sunny Baudelaire’s language to English, it sound something like “I must admit I don’t have the faintest idea of what is going on” – according to Lemony Snicket). Therefore I have to choose between the first two options. Seeking for your help in my difficult task, I better explain a little bit more.

Continue reading “Rock Chicken Rock!”

The Author… unveiled

Who am I? Not the philosophical way… but more, what do I do everyday? You can discover part of my days by following the very unregular update of my LEARN posts.

But I never answered the annoying question, what is my research about? Some hints here and there.. but not a great deal of details

Since younger me was more motivated than the empty shell currently writing this blog, I let her telling you… (there is also a more “mature” version of it.. less swearing, compensated by some sexual innuendo)

Continue reading “The Author… unveiled”