You don’t need to be a biologist to work at the Crick Institute! I’m not. If you are an undergraduate, here’s a way to sample the life of a biological physicist…
As an undergraduate, I hadn’t considered working in research until I fell into a summer research project with the excellent Mike Evans at Leeds. He actually ended up being my PhD supervisor, but in a broader sense the placement opened my eyes to the process of doing “new stuff”; the feeling that what you’re doing hasn’t been done before is quite a special one.
Anyway, this year I’m part of the Crick’s summer student programme, and have a project open on applying quantitative and physical principles to a biological system. Details can be found here.
A new paper with Peter Olmsted has just appeared in Physical Review E. Like our recent Soft Matter article, it builds on our theoretical study of coupled lipid bilayer leaflets, investigating the underlying model via direct simulation. We also give a broader look at the use of “leaflet-leaflet” phase diagrams, introduced in previous theoretical works, which allow a more natural interpretation of symmetry and asymmetry in bilayers.
I was pleased to receive an email from the Soft Matter journal that our recent article has become eligible for open access. This seems to be due to a new agreement that I guess might be specific to certain universities and/or funding sources. Anyway, we aren’t complaining! Now or in the near future our article on lipid bilayer domains will be open access.
Heads up! The final version of this paper has just been published in the excellent journal Soft Matter. The paper deals with the interesting phase-transition kinetics by which phase-separated regions (“domains”) within lipid bilayer membranes become symmetric between the two leaflets.
Here’s a transcription of a lovely harmonisation of Bouncin’ with Bud, from Chick Corea’s “Remembering Bud Powell”. It’s pretty similar to the original with a few slight substitutions and a nice harmony line in the head on tenor. Mainly the feel and solos on Chick + Friends’ recording are incredible.
It’s played by trumpet and tenor on the original but here I’ve used alto and tenor. Click the link below for a PDF:
Here’s a couple of great tunes I had a hard time finding transcriptions of. The first is “Butch and Butch” from Oliver Nelson’s “Blues and the abstract truth” album. I’ve transcribed it for two altos — melody line plus a simple harmony line — but the original is well worth a listen since it contains stupendously well-arranged horn backings too. The second is Bud Powell’s ballad “I’ll keep loving you”. The form of this tune varies quite a lot because it’s often played as a solo piano piece, so I’ve taken the form as done by Paul Motian and the Electric Bebop Band. Enjoy!
On holiday in France, me and my family were walking along a road through a field of smooth mud/dirt. The sun was coming from the right hand side. Looking to the left hand side, the field looked a sort of clay-y orangey tan. Looking to the right, it looked dark brown. When we came to another road that was parallel to the original one, the field that had been on our right and looked dark brown was now on our left, looking orangey tan instead.
This seemed a bit weird, because the field was very smooth and there weren’t any trees or buildings casting shadows. What (I think) explains it is that the surface of the field, although smooth-looking, was slightly rough, being made of dirt. So, on a scale of a few inches, the field’s surface had little peaks and troughs, as shown in the diagram. When the observer is looking in the direction that the sun comes from, this means that lots of tiny bits of the field are in shadow, caused by raised and depressed bits of dirt, as shown in the inset.
Because it had been made quite smooth, we couldn’t really see the actual texture of the field, but the overall reduction in the amount of sunlight reaching us from it made it look dark when viewed in this way, even though the whole field was ‘really’ the same colour. The field, viewed from the right direction, is ‘in shadow’, but on a very small length scale. The relative difference in perceived colour or brightness when you look in each direction must be related somehow to the density and characteristic size of the peaks and troughs in the field’s surface. Fun bit of maths to do?
Soft matter, biophysics, colloids, membranes and music