Agriculture
Chicken Eggs as Drug Factories
Microbes at the Gas Pump
Seeds of the Future
Amphibians
Bullfrogs
Newts
Salamanders
Animals
Gliders in the Family
The Littlest Lemurs
Staying Away from Sick Lobsters
Behavior
The case of the headless ant
Nice Chimps
Video Game Violence
Birds
Backyard Birds
Kingfishers
Parrots
Chemistry and Materials
Makeup Science
Diamond Glow
The Taste of Bubbles
Computers
The solar system's biggest junkyard
Fingerprint Evidence
Earth from the inside out
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Dino-Dining Dinosaurs
Digging Dinos
Hunting by Sucking, Long Ago
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
Deep Drilling at Sea
Pollution at the ends of the Earth
Bugs with Gas
Environment
Sounds and Silence
A Change in Leaf Color
Island Extinctions
Finding the Past
Digging Up Stone Age Art
Chicken of the Sea
The Taming of the Cat
Fish
Salmon
Swordfish
Sting Ray
Food and Nutrition
A Pepper Part that Burns Fat
The Color of Health
Packing Fat
GSAT English Rules
Capitalization Rules
Who vs. That vs. Which
Order of Adjectives
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
Ministry of Education Announces 82 GSAT Scholarships for 2010
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Mathematics
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Monkeys Count
Math and our number sense: PassGSAT.com
Human Body
Cell Phones and Possible Health Hazards
Electricity's Spark of Life
What the appendix is good for
Invertebrates
Krill
Scallops
Invertebrates
Mammals
Porcupines
Coyotes
Donkeys
Parents
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Children and Media
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Physics
Spin, Splat, and Scramble
Invisibility Ring
Project Music
Plants
Fungus Hunt
When Fungi and Algae Marry
White fuzzy mold not as friendly as it looks
Reptiles
Alligators
Cobras
Sea Turtles
Space and Astronomy
Sounds of Titan
Planets on the Edge
Pluto's New Moons
Technology and Engineering
Dancing with Robots
A Micro-Dose of Your Own Medicine
Space Umbrellas to Shield Earth
The Parts of Speech
Adjectives and Adverbs
What is a Preposition?
What is a Verb?
Transportation
Robots on the Road, Again
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Middle school science adventures
Weather
Watering the Air
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
Add your Article

Little Bits of Trouble

If you've kicked around a soccer ball, you may have noticed the pattern on the ball's surface. The ball is stitched together from 12 patches with five sides (pentagons) and 20 patches with six sides (hexagons). About 20 years ago, chemists discovered that carbon can form into molecules with the same shape. They nicknamed them buckyballs. These strong, hollow particles may someday be used to carry medicine or even block the action of certain viruses. Scientists have now found that buckyballs can harm living cells. Research by Eva Oberdörster, a biologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and her team shows that these molecules damage brain cells in fish. Buckyballs belong to a group of materials known as nanomaterials. The prefix "nano" means one-billionth. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter—roughly the width of just five carbon atoms lined up in a row. So, a buckyball is an extremely tiny particle—only a few ten-thousandths of the width of a human hair. To make a nanomaterial, scientists manipulate individual atoms to build molecules of different shapes. Groups of these molecules form materials with particular characteristics, making them suitable for different jobs. For example, some nanomaterials are already being used in makeup and sunscreens. Because buckyballs may someday be used in industry, Oberdörster and her team conducted experiments to find out if the molecules are toxic. The researchers added different quantities of buckyballs to water in a fish tank. After 48 hours, they removed the fish from the tank and checked different parts of the fishes' bodies for damage. Although none of them died, the exposed fish showed 17 times as much damage to brain cells as did fish not exposed to buckyballs. In a separate experiment, Vicki Colvin of Rice University in Houston found that buckyballs damage human cells growing in a lab. But she also found a possible solution to the problem. Coating buckyballs with other kinds of simple molecules appears to make buckyballs safer. Nanomaterial particles come in all sorts of sizes and shapes, so it's not yet known whether they all have the same harmful effects that buckyballs do. It's going to take a lot more experiments to sort out all the possible health effects of these amazing, new materials.—S. McDonagh

Little Bits of Trouble
Little Bits of Trouble








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™