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Articles » Biochemistry

 

CSAA’s featured speaker for Creation Weekend 2011 was well known creation apologist Dr. Jerry Bergman. Large numbers of people came to hear one or more of his lectures and all declared themselves delighted with his genial, non-confrontational manner and his interesting material. In that Dr. Bergman’s area of expertise is biology, chemistry and medical anatomy, the issues he discussed were quite different from the geological topics which we have considered in recent years. This material demonstrated anew that the issue of creation is broad and encompasses all aspects of nature. Read the rest of this entry »


Beauty in miniature

Beauty in miniature

Intermediate

Anybody studying biology today is aware that proteins form the molecular machines that keep the cells of our bodies healthy. But how many students are told that these proteins are actually beautiful? Read the rest of this entry »


DNA by the Numbers

DNA by the Numbers

Intermediate

An avid fan of spy stories, I have read many which involve an apparently harmless document (like a friendly letter). But the document actually conveys dangerous information if one is provided with the appropriate convention for decoding it. Read the rest of this entry »


NO Tampering with Human Life

NO Tampering with Human Life

Intermediate

The scientist credited with developing a new type of stem cell, says he is very concerned about the process. The ethical problems go far beyond any issues with embryonic stem cells. Read the rest of this entry »


Almost Impossible Challenge

Almost Impossible Challenge

Intermediate

Some people like a good challenge and some don’t. Some people like the challenge of climbing Mount Everest, while others would prefer to stay home. Such people might point out that there are some challenges which are best ignored. There could well be challenges which are just too difficult or time consuming to undertake. For example, in August a team from Cambridge University reported that it took them twenty two years to produce a synthetic version of azadirachtin, a product which India’s neem tree (Azadirachta indica) effortlessly produces in large quantities. Read the rest of this entry »


Proteins Like Origami

Proteins Like Origami

Intermediate

When I was 19, I had a summer job in a hospital laboratory in Sherbrooke, Quebec. The hospital was fairly small, as it served an English community of perhaps 20,000 to 30,000 people in the extended region. Read the rest of this entry »


Water by Design

Water by Design

Children

Did you ever stop to think about water? That most precious of resources, is an amazing compound. Indeed, as we all know, without this commodity, there is no life. Read the rest of this entry »


You be the Industrial Sleuth

You be the Industrial Sleuth

IntermediateIntroductory

Imagine that you had never seen a car or any automobile before. You might well be curious as to how the device is able to move. So you examine some vehicles in motion and you come to the obvious conclusion that the wheels are the agents of motion. This is all very obvious and all very true. However if you build a device with chassis and wheels only, you will not get very far. What a car requires is an engine manufactured in a factory and fuel to run the engine. Of course your car needs mechanics to maintain the engine too. It is immediately evident to you that the whole system is the result of designers who conceived of the whole idea and who specify how your car is to be manufactured and operated. Read the rest of this entry »


Spiders look scary and with good reason. They are all predators, you know. Their eight hairy legs and alarming mouth parts would frighten any potential victim. Although the usual victims are insects, even most people are reluctant to get too close to these creatures. Nevertheless, despite their frightening appearance, spiders are actually wonderfully designed organisms. Many species effortlessly produce an amazing product — spider silk. For forty years, scientists working for the American military, have sought to produce something like spider silk. Apparently this material is, by weight, five times stronger than steel. the military would love to use it for bullet proof vests, for parachutes, tents and surgical dressings. Until very recently however, all that the scientists produced was useless blobs. The spider, on the other hand, turns special proteins into as many as seven kinds of silk. The best plan would have been to let the spider do all that for us as well as for herself. Spider farming would have been fine, except that these fierce predators ate each other up. So it was back to the drawing board. Read the rest of this entry »


Chemical Delights

Chemical Delights

IntermediateIntroductory

As a rule, scientists seek answers. They want to answer the “why” questions. Why, for example, are plants green? Why is blood red? These are very simple queries compared to the biggies like why does quantum physics work. Nevertheless, believe it or not , we are as far from answering why chlorophyll is green, and blood cells are red, as we are from explaining quantum mechanics. Two commentators in fact recently termed the reason blood is red a “visual pun of molecular wit.” (Morrison and Morrison. 1998. Scientific American. March p. 106) The explanation for colour in chlorophyll is similarly obscure. The situation becomes even more interesting when we discover that chlorophyll and the heme component of hemoglobin are chemically extremely similar . Read the rest of this entry »