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Ayoub Qanir (M, 37)
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    Life at Low Reynolds Number

    Harvard ENSC E-155
    Professor Fawwaz Habbal & professor Anas Chalah
    Student: Ayoub Qanir

    Feb. 8th, 2012 | Life at Low Reynolds number (E.M. Purcell)

    (1) Main goal of the paper
    How do microorganisms swim at low Reynolds number?
    Purcell describes the instinctive abilities and motor techniques microorganisms utilize to swim at typical speeds of 30 um/sec, at low Reynolds number such as 10-4 or 10-5.

    (2) The application
    Purcell specifically identifies the motion behavior of microorganisms such as E. Coli. By doing so, along with separating their propulsion techniques, we could fabricate a (lab-on-a-chip) device able to detect a specific malignant mutated microorganism through its unique swim, then potentially treating the infection by sabotaging the microorganism’s motion mechanics—slowing down its swim and propagation.

    (3) Strong and weak points
    Weak points
    .Purcell wanders around his topic for most of his introduction and within a few others parts.
    Strong points : Overall great delivery and gradual breakdown
    .Purcell discusses three real microorganisms; E. Coli, Chromatium Okenii and Spirllum Volutans and their successful swimming methods.
    . Purcell gives a great human-size reference of the same dynamics and physical conditions which helps explain the micro environment.
    . Purcell describes the true definition of swimming—the ability to deform your body in a cyclical motion inside a liquid.
    . Great description of oar torque and the difference between the flexible oar and the corkscrew and how they impact swimming.
    . Purcell describes how some microorganisms move strategically to amass a maximum amount of compressed energy with the least amount of swimming while still outrunning diffusion.

    (4) My suggestion
    I would strongly avoid bringing up any irrelevant elements such as Viki or what school Norman Ramsey attended, as Purcell did throughout his presentation. I felt it only weakened the delivery of his message and did not allow for the reader to focus on the scientific deductions and hypothesis.

    (5) Possible future applications
    Having defined how certain organisms swim—propagate, it is only natural to think about ways to minimize their movement or diminish their possibilities for growth by eliminating their acquisition of energy molecules.
    And by honing in on the microorganism's source of propulsion and specific positioning of the flagellum and the rotary joint on certain bugs we are able to have laser aim at their Achilles’ heal.

    Novel future application
    Subsequently, we could potentially fabricate a nano lab-on-a-chip device able to easily penetrate blood stream, test DNA, identify the specific malignant organism and potentially release materials (medicine) with the power to attack the motor and propulsion mechanisms of said organism, obstructing them from swimming and therefore from collecting energy—leaving the bug(s) no choice but to stay still.

    (6) My final decision
    The study and observations were certainly worth publishing but a better editing and polishing of the findings and scientific deductions is essential for the reader to better absorb and digest the material.


    Fri, Apr 27, 2012  Permanent link

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