FinalLecture

# One saturday night devoted to a simple estimate beat

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One Saturday night devoted to a simple estimate beat 3 years of school. observatory/eratosthenes/ From Franklin to Rayleigh and the size of a lipid molecule. Rayleigh’s oil estimate results in lipid size of 1.67 nm! Keeling’s first great discovery can be used to estimate how many gigatons of carbon are fixed every year. Estimates as a call to arms, as a producer of conundrums and surprises, as a tool to bring astronomically large numbers down to Earth and as a sanity check on purported mechanisms. Newton worked out the number of “Paris feet” that the moon falls in one minute and also noted that “a body in our regions” (i.e. on the surface of the Earth) will “describe 60 x 60 x 15 ½ Paris feet” thus satisfying himself of the inverse square law.

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Politicians and generals can make some information “classified” and it can be circumvented by cleverness. This is a segue into our main topic: genomes and their use. Estimates on genome management. Same idea could be used to estimate genome length by examining exploding genomes. The concept: figure out the length of the genome using a single picture and pure thought! (G. Stent)
Use the simplest nunchuk physics of random walks to estimate the genome size (i.e. size in terms of number of base pairs). What makes DNA different from some other polymer? The persistence length! The radius of gyration scales as N 1/2 , which allows us to estimate the number of such Kuhn segments and hence back out the genome length. Note: This also tells us that work needs to be done to squish genomes into their hosts. (G. Stent) (R. Kavenoff)

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How Genes Are Controlled: The Journey From DNA to Active Proteins As noted above, Francis Crick referred to nucleic acids and proteins as “the two great polymer languages” . The insight of Jacob and Monod was that there are genes that control other genes, permitting the flow of information from DNA to proteins only when certain conditions are met.
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