nav search
Data Center Software Security Transformation DevOps Business Personal Tech Science Emergent Tech Bootnotes BOFH

back to article
Biochem boffins win the Nobel Prize for cryo-electron microscopy

Gold badge
Thumb Up

"a specimen of amorphous ice,"

Which sounds pretty astonishing all on its own, as it implies you have less of a signal from the solvent (water) to remove before you get to the unscrambling the data from the proteins .

Impressive stuff.

And £900k buys a fair amount of rollmop Herring as well.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: "a specimen of amorphous ice,"

Yes, the water freezes so fast that it doesn't have time to form crystals. It's a bit like glass, a supercooled liquid.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: "a specimen of amorphous ice,"

"Yes, the water freezes so fast that it doesn't have time to form crystals. It's a bit like glass, a supercooled liquid."

Water around proteins ( or indeed any non-polar/semi-polar material) is in a strange state anyway.

3
0
Silver badge

Look up some of the images they've made, impressive.

Most of the research money is in the US so any Nobel outside the US is special so well done to the Cambridge facility and another Nobel Prize for a Scottish scientist, and to the work in Switzerland too.

4
0
Silver badge

Cool.

2
0
Silver badge
Pint

We DO live in interesting times!

(in a good way, in some sense at least)

Great boffinry, and a well-deserved prize! I'll raise a glass to that!

5
0
Anonymous Coward

Boffin wars

If you want to start a boffin pissing context, ask what the kilovoltage is. 200 kV is ok but the big guns have got 300 kV machines donchaknow. And it needs a fancy vibration proof lab to work in, not to mention liquid ethane freezing systems for the samples, so you're looking at £M to get it going.

There is an IT angle too. The contrast of the protein signal against the water is very low so you need to collect hundreds or thousands of images and then reconstruct your particle structures, so its a HPC job.

1
0
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Boffin wars

Yep, I believe the lab at the LMB has a 2.5k core cluster dedicated to it. (This was a couple of years ago that I heard this, they may have expanded since.

Nvidia have ported some of the key codes to GPU, we stuck a load of GPUs in for our CryoEM scientists and a PB or so of Lustre for scratch.

1
0

really?

"It’s particularly useful for seeing proteins, many of which are less the width of human hair"

Sorry?, what protien molecules are equal or larger than a human hair?

8
0

Re: really?

Beat me to it!

Dimensions of proteins are at the nm level, human hair is about 100 um: a difference in scale about 10^5! C'mon el Reg. we expect better of you!

4
0
Silver badge

Re: really?

"C'mon el Reg. we expect better of you!"

Especially as they have their own set of superior units...

0
0

RE: more effective drugs

Cheech & Chong will be most pleased!

2
0

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing