Optical trap provides new insights into motor molecules

When it comes to nanotechnology, many researchers turn to nature for inspiration. Of particular interest to nanoengineers is the naturally occurring protein kinesin – one of several ”motor molecules” that facilitate movement in living cells. A mere ten-millionth of an inch long, kinesin is the workhorse of the cell, hauling chromosomes, neurotransmitters and other vital cargo along tiny tracks called ”microtubules.” While one end of a kinesin molecule holds onto its cargo, the other end uses a strange two-headed structure to grab the microtubule and pull the cargo forward.

Evolution of Galaxy-Spanning Magnetic Fields Explained

Researchers have uncovered how giant magnetic fields up to a billion, billion miles across, such as the one that envelopes our galaxy, are able to take shape despite a mystery that suggested they should collapse almost before they?d begun to form. Astrophysicists have long believed that as these large magnetic fields grow, opposing small-scale fields should grow more quickly, thwarting the evolution of any giant magnetic field. The team discovered instead that the simple motion of gas can fight against those small-scale fields long enough for the large fields to form.