For nine months before birth, infants soak in a watery, urine-filled environment. Just hours after birth, however, they have near-perfect skin. How is it that nature enables infants to develop ideal skin in such seemingly unsuitable surroundings? A new study by researchers at the Skin Sciences Institute of Cincinnati Children?s Hospital Medical Center shows that the answer may be vernix — the white, cheesy substance that coats infants for weeks before they are born, then is wiped off and discarded immediately after birth. If they?re right, the healthcare implications for newborns and adults could be remarkable.
In a discovery that is likely to impact fields as diverse as atomic physics, chemistry and nanotechnology, researchers have identified a new physical phenomenon, electrostatic rotation, that, in the absence of friction, leads to spin. Because the electric force is one of the fundamental forces of nature, this leap forward in understanding may help reveal how the smallest building blocks in nature react to form solids, liquids and gases that constitute the material world around us.