Sharing scientific articles and supplementary videos on the web


I have two questions/cribs.

  1.  I had an idea. My idea was that I come across beautiful scientific experimental videos while reading papers (in their supplementary materials) and I thought that it’d be cool to collect them on my blog. So I created a page here.But after I uploaded a couple of videos today to YouTube, it dawned on me that I could get access to these because of Stanford’s subscriptions to these journals. And if I downloaded and re-uploaded them on YouTube, I could get into trouble. So, I deleted them.

    Here’s what I think – authors should upload their supplementary videos to YouTube, so everyone can enjoy them. I don’t see any reason not to. So, for now, I’m going to stick to videos I find on Arxiv.

  2. I was writing briefly about one of the papers I read, and I though I did a good job coming up with an analogy.

    A reversibly switching surface.
    J Lahann, S Mitragotri, T N Tran, H Kaido, J Sundaram, I S Choi, S Hoffer, G A Somorjai, and R Langer.
    Science, 2003 vol. 299 (5605) pp. 371-374.

    I think this paper is pretty cool because I have been thinking about this problem after today’s class. And this papers sheds some interesting ideas on that. I had underestimated the complexity in choosing the right molecule which could be reversibly switched back and forth. The authors use these a long chain acid molecule on a gold surface. Upon applying an electrical potential, the end groups are attracted to the surface and thus you can modify the wettabilty using an electric potential.

    It’s like adding metallic balls to the end of a flexible pole and switching on a magnet on the base – the poles bend as the metals balls are attracted to the surface.

    Of course then the problem with this idea is that you’d have a gazillion poles with huge balls at the end, and once you switched on the field, they would bump into each other and sterically hinder each other. So, testing this out, they design the metal ball – a spatially less hindered end group. They also tested the orientation of these poles using IR and other spectroscopic techniques.

    They cite some interesting applications. One thing that comes to my mind is switchable windshields. I guess the chemistry that they describe is too sensitive and expensive for a mundane application like a switchable windshield. I’m curious if one could come up with a cheap way of controlling the surface wettability of a surface to a certain degree using simple molecules.

    So, I’m thinking to myself, maybe I could occasionally do a paper review once in a while. This is of course a very bad attempt – I didn’t go into the physics or chemistry. But coming up with an analogy in my mind and trying to go through the paper with that in mind was pretty cool.

Did I tell you I’m excited about this course. Well, at least so far. I’m always excited initially. And then the interest dies down.

We’ll see how this goes.. 

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