The Scout Report for Science & Engineering - January 20, 1999

The Scout Report for Science & Engineering

January 20, 1999

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The target audience of the new Scout Report for Science & Engineering is faculty, students, staff, and librarians in the life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering. Each biweekly issue offers a selective collection of Internet resources covering topics in the sciences, and related fields such as math and engineering, that have been chosen by librarians and content specialists in the given field of study.

The Scout Report for Science & Engineering is also provided via email once every two weeks. Subscription information is included at the bottom of each issue.

In This Issue


Learning Resources

General Interest

Current Awareness

New Data

In The News


ZERI: Zero Emissions Research Initiative
Sponsored by the Zero Emissions Research Foundation based in Geneva, Switzerland, ZERI seeks to support industry's transformation to zero emission operations. ZERI advocates either full use of inputs in an industry's own final product or conversion of the inputs for use by other industries or processes. At the site, the user can get information about the fourth Annual World ZERI Congress, read research articles and reports, or learn about ZERI's Worldwide Projects. The site also provides access to other ZERI sites in Brazil, Mexico, Namibia, Japan, and Germany. [SN]
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Conservation Ecology: Volume 2, Issue 2
Volume 2, Issue 2 of the peer-reviewed, scientific journal Conservation Ecology (discussed in the February 4, 1998 Scout Report for Science & Engineering) is now available online. Eleven articles form the core of this issue, featuring "Sustainability and Resilience in Boreal Regions." Seven other research articles and editorials complete the publication. [LXP]
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Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite (SWAS)
The Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite (SWAS) is a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Small Explorer Project (SMEX). The SWAS instrument's primary objective is to gather data on features of star formation. These data may enable a greater understanding of the formation of future stellar systems and the processes that led to the formation of the Sun, the Earth, and the other planets and moons in our own solar system. Sections that are included at the Website are Detailed Discussion of SWAS science, SWAS Scientists and Institutions, SWAS Instrument, Current Status of SWAS, Track SWAS in Orbit, and Related Links. [SN]
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The Effects of Temperature on Invertebrates and Fish: A Selected Bibliography
Drs. Victor Kennedy and Joseph Mihursky of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science compiled this select bibliography on the effects of temperature on invertebrates and fish. Complete to 1993, the searchable (by keyword or subject) bibliography contains nearly 3,500 references on aquatic invertebrates and fish, in cold as well as warm temperatures. Although most references concern whole organisms, some molecular, cellular, or tissue studies are included. Two helpful features of the online bibliography include 1) a brief historical background of the importance of temperature effects and 2) the inclusion of a table (list) of journals that were examined by the authors. [LXP]
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Two New Journals: Computing and Pharmaceutical Science
International Journal of Design Computing
Two new journals are now accessible online. The University of Sydney has made available volume one of the first journal, the International Journal of Design Computing (IJDC). This refereed journal's objective is to "promote research and technology transfer in design computing through the publication of interactive, multimedia journal articles within the general topic of design computing." While IJDC claims the articles are open to discussion for a period of six months, the online forum does not seem to be available yet. In addition, the site provides presentations and archived discussions from the annual online conference conducted from November 30, 1998 to December 3, 1998. Users may search the journal database by keyword. The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) launches its new online journal, PharmSci. This journal, which requires free registration, covers "all areas of the pharmaceutical sciences on scientific advances in drug discovery, development and therapy." Examples of topics to be included in the journal are Analytical Chemistry, Bioengineering, Biotechnology, and Combinatorial Chemistry, among a plethora of others. Papers for the first issue will be accepted until March 31, 1999. [SN]
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Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHGE)
Harvard Medical School's Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHGE) is one of the first research centers in the US "to educate students and faculty ... about the potential human health consequences of global environmental change, and to promote a wider understanding of these consequences." CHGE's homepage offers links to its programs, courses, collaborating institutions and contacts, background documents, annotated bibliography, newsletter, upcoming events, and new publications. Users will appreciate the straightforward organization and substantial content at this site. [LXP]
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Learning Resources

The Remote Sensing Tutorial
The Applied Information Sciences Branch at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sponsors The Remote Sensing Tutorial Website. This Website teaches visitors how remote sensing is "applied to studying the land, sea, and air making up the environments of our planet and helps to develop skills in interpreting aerial photography and space imagery by direct inspection and by computer processing." The tutorial is organized into an overview, introduction, glossary and twenty different sections, each focused on one or more relevant topics. Examples of topics discussed are Radar and Microwave Remote Sensing, Urban and Land Use Applications, and Mineral and Oil Resource Exploration, among others. Each section presents space images, classifications, maps, and plots along with descriptions and discussions to help in interpreting the concepts that the graphics represent. [SN]
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Fun with Lichens
Oregon State University, in association with the Northwest Alliance for Computational Science and Engineering, produced this site on Lichens. The site provides two levels of detail: "LichenLand" (for the general audience), or "The professional edition," for botanists, ecologists, foresters, and other scientists. Regardless of the viewer's level of expertise, the LichenLand section is a worthy educational tool, as it describes and illustrates identification characteristics in a detailed, user-friendly manner. The professional section consists of a searchable Lichen Synoptic Key, in which the user selects morphology and coloration characteristics (and/or chemical reactions) to retrieve information on lichen taxa. Returns include descriptive information on the taxonomic and ecological characteristics of a species, as well as photographs and citations for literature relevant to the genus. [LXP]
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Ned Wright's Cosmology Tutorial [Java]
Ned Wright, at the University of California-Los Angeles, has made available the Cosmology Website. Geared towards college students, the goal of the site is to summarize the discoveries made regarding the origin, current state, and future of our Universe. The tutorial uses animations, Java applets, and illustrations to further facilitate an understanding of these topics. The tutorial covers topics such as Observations of Global Properties, Age, Distances, Spatial Curvature, and Flatness-Oldness, among others. In addition, the site includes other helpful sections: Frequently Asked Questions, Cosmological Fads and Fallacies, Old News of the Universe, and Other links. [SN]
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The Biology Project: Chemicals & Human Health
The Biology Project from University of Arizona (discussed in the July 25, 1997 Scout Report) has added this online resource to its already excellent educational page. Here, visitors may learn how chemicals interact with human health using tutorials, problem sets, activities (data analysis), and Internet resources. Students are introduced to toxicology, lung anatomy and function, and how toxicology interacts with the lungs; then, they have the opportunity to analyze and interpret data from the Southwest Environmental Health Science Center. Links to a glossary (Vocabulary) and to other WWW learning sites enhance the value of this site. [LXP]
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Organic Chemistry Tutorial Webs [.pdf]
Karl Miller, at George Washington University, has made available the Organic Chemistry Tutorials Website. These tutorials (.pdf format) can be helpful for college students studying Organic Chemistry. The tutorials provide excellent diagrams of organic reactions, showing how to convert one functional group into another. [SN]
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General Interest

The Soundry [Java]
The winner of the ThinkQuest 1998 award for the best educational Website (described in the November 27, 1998 Scout Report),the Soundry is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning more about the basics or the specifics of how humans use sound. Sections included at the Website are How We Perceive Sound: The Ear, The Physics of Sound, Applications of Sound, The Timeline, and The Interactive Sound Lab. A highlight of the site is the Interactive Sound Lab. In this section, the user has the opportunity to experiment with and further explore the topics of sound through interactive applications (Java Applets). For example, in the Doppler Effect Applet interactive application, the user can listen to changes in the pitch of a plane flying at different speeds. Each section provides diagrams along with brief descriptions to better understand the concepts. [SN]
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North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) -- USGS
The US Geological Survey's Patuxent Wildlife Research Center hosts this nice page on the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program. At the site, users will find an overview and history of the program, as well as regional program updates, educational information, and links to related sites. The heart of the site is the Monitoring Programs section, however, as it provides in-depth content on the surveys, including Calling Surveys, Terrestrial Salamander Monitoring, Aquatic Surveys, Atlassing, and Western Surveys. This easy-to-navigate site has much to offer, whether for volunteers interested in participating in surveys, researchers searching for in-depth sampling methodology, or anyone interested in learning more about the distribution and abundance of amphibians in North America. [LXP]
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Association for Women in Science
Established 27 years ago, the Association for Women in Science is focused on ensuring the achievement of equity for and full participation of women in all areas of science and technology. At the Website, the user can browse through the Activities & Programs, Leadership & Career Development, Magazine and Publications, and Links to Related Sites sections. A highlight of the site is the job announcements from industries, government agencies, and academia. Membership upon registration is open to everyone (students, professionals, men, women, and teachers) who supports women in science. [SN]
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Pew Center on Global Climate Change
Established in 1998 by the Pew Charitable Trusts, The Pew Center on Global Climate Change is a new initiative through which major companies and other organizations collaborate "to educate the public on the risks, challenges and solutions to climate change." The homepage describes the Center's mission and actions, as well some of the important issues surrounding global climate change: the risk of inaction, global equity (which countries are expected to make which compromises), industry equity, and market mechanisms (green incentives). The reports and policy analysis section contains two recently released reports, "Equity and Global Climate Change: The Complex Elements of Global Fairness" by Eileen Claussen and Lisa McNeilly, and "Early Action and Global Climate Change: An Analysis of Early Action Crediting Proposals" by Robert Nordhaus and Stephen Fotis. [LXP]
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Space Weather: A Research Perspective-NRC
The National Research Council (NRC) sponsors the Space Weather: A Research Perspective Website. Space weather occurs due to the behavior of the sun, the "nature of Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere, and our location in the solar system." Space weather research will be useful for space weather forecasting, satellite troubleshooting, and gaining a greater understanding of Earth's place in space. To further understand space weather, the user can browse through sections such as What is Space Weather, The Elements of Near-Earth Space, Practical Consequences of Space Weather, and Earth-Space Meteorology, among others. Each section provides images, diagrams, and descriptions. Weather links and resources, as well as a glossary, round out the site. [SN]
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Current Awareness
(For links to additional current awareness on tables of contents, abstracts, preprints, new books, data, conferences, etc., visit the Science & Engineering Current Awareness Metapage:

Plasma scientists Plan Polar CAPER To Study Auroral Ion Fountain
Andoya Rocket Range
The National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) has sponsored the Cleft Accelerated Plasma Experimental Rocket, CAPER, campaign. The objective of this mission is to "probe a fountain of ions that is always blowing into space." Scientists have launched this project just after a solar storm tore apart a part of the Earth's upper atmosphere. The first resource, a news brief entitled "Plasma scientists plan polar CAPER to study auroral ion fountain," provides images, drawings, and detailed descriptions of the rocket and the mission. The CAPER Rocket launch will take place at the Andoya Rocket Range in January, 1999. This Website offers more information about the CAPER project as well as the launch site. [SN]
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New Publications and Conference Proceedings

Symposium Paper Abstracts for the First Regional Symposium of the Systems Engineering Society of Australia
Paper abstracts are now online for the November 4-6, 1998, First Regional Symposium of the Systems Engineering Society of Australia, held in Canberra, Australia. [SN]

Rising Seas, Coastal Erosion, and the Takings Clause: How to Save Wetlands and Beaches without hurting Property Owners [.pdf]
This recent report, originally published in Maryland Law Review (Vol 57: 1279-1399, 1998), is a "detailed economic, legal, and policy analysis of what people must do to adapt to global warming, as well as existing problems associated with coastal erosion and rising water levels." Among other highlights, the article considers the importance of bay coasts that could experience "the greatest deleterious changes" as sea level rises. Curious readers may download the entire document (.pdf format), which is available on-site. [LXP]

Seven Statistical Reports from NSF
Total Science and Engineering Graduate Enrollment Falls for Fourth Consecutive Year [.pdf]
Science and Engineering Degrees: 1966-96, Early Release Tables [Excel]
Doctoral Scientists and Engineers in the United States: 1995 Profile
Federal R&D Funding by Budget Function: Fiscal Years 1997-99 [.pdf]
Federal Funding Supports Moderate Growth for Basic Research in the 1990's [.pdf]
Degrees and Occupations in Engineering: How Much Do They Diverge? [.pdf]
Summary of Workshop on Graduate Student Attrition [.pdf]
The National Science Foundation (NSF) periodically releases statistical reports on the status and trends of US Science. All reports are available in HTML and/or .pdf formats, and may be downloaded at the URLs provided. [SN]

Birds as Indicators of Riparian Vegetation Condition in the Western US
This Bureau of Land Management document has been posted at the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) site as a biological resource. The document briefly evaluates (with tables, graphs, maps, and text) the use of bird populations as indicators of the health of riparian ecosystems. [LXP]

Two Papers From the Carbon Modeling Consortium
Inverse Modeling of Atmospheric CO2
Response of the Ocean Carbon Cycle to Anthropogenic Climate Warming
Two reports from the Carbon Modeling Consortium are now available online. The abstract of the first article, "Inverse Modeling of Atmospheric CO2," is online while a link is provided to the journal, Science (requires subscription), containing the full text. The abstract indicates that atmospheric CO2 has increased during 1988-1992. The second report, Response of the Ocean Carbon Cycle to Anthropogenic Climate Warming, states that the Southern Ocean experiences the largest impact of global warming on the ocean's carbon cycle. The full-text article along with figures of the second paper is provided at the site. [SN]

Causes and Rates of Mortality of Swift Foxes in Western Kansas -- NPWRC [.zip]
The Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) has placed online this document on the mortality of swift foxes in western Kansas. Formerly published in the Journal of Wildlife Management (Vol 62 No 4:1300-1306, 1998), the paper covers swift foxes, which are being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The report, which may be downloaded as a .zip file, follows a standard scientific paper format, from Introduction and Methods to Results, Discussion, Management Implications, and Literature Cited. [LXP]

The Secret Nature of Hydrogen Bonds
The American Institute of Physics publishes scientific information pertaining to the Secret Nature of Hydrogen Bonds. The article examines how scientists have gained new insight on the hydrogen bond, bonds that exist between H2O molecules. Scientists have "confirmed the controversial idea first proposed by Linus Pauling, that the rules of quantum mechanics cause the weak hydrogen bonds between H2O molecules in ice to get part of their identity from stronger covalent bonds within the H2O molecule." Diagrams and figures accompany this summary article. The full-text article will appear in the January 18, 1999 issue of Physical Review Letters.[SN]

Papers: Sixth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology
The Foresight Institute has made available links to full papers submitted to the Sixth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology. This conference was held November 12-15, 1998, in Santa Clara, California. [SN]
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Job Openings in Science and Technology from the Chronicle of Higher Education
Formerly an entirely free service, the Chronicle of Higher Education now charges a fee to access the current week's job listings. Extensive postings for the previous week are freely available, however. [LXP]

Career Choices for Chemical Engineers
The American Institute of Chemical Engineers has recently added a new feature, Career Choices for Chemical Engineers, to their Website. The AIChE Career Services sections provide a listing of job openings in academia and industry under the Employers section. In addition, this page includes sections that publish information on job searches, salary surveys, and career fairs. [SN]

RF and Microwave Engineering Job-Site
The RF and Microwave Engineering Job-Site homepage provides job listings for people with RF and/or Microwave Engineering skills. In the Job Seekers sections, the user can browse through job openings according to geographic region. [SN]
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Helen T. Carr Fellowship Program
The Helen T. Carr Fellowship program is making available fellowships to African-American faculty members or students in pursuit of the doctoral degree. The candidate must be sponsored by the Dean of Engineering from one of the Historically Black Engineering Colleges. A list of these colleges is presented at the Website. The fellowship application deadline is May 1, 1999. [SN]

Three from NSF
Biocomplexity: Phase 1. Research on the Functional Interrelationships between Microorganisms and Biological, Chemical, Geological, Physical and Social Systems
Arabidaposis thaliama Information Resource Project (AtIR)
Life in Extreme Environments (LExEn)
The National Science Foundation has announced funding for three research programs. The first, Biocomplexity: Phase 1, supports integrated "research on the functional interrelationships between microorganisms, defined here as prokaryotes (archaea and eubacteria) and unicellular eukaryotes (algae, protozoa, fungi) and the biological, chemical, geological, physical, and/or social systems that jointly comprise complex environmental systems. Projects that explicitly focus on the role that microorganisms play in structuring or controlling complex systems are particularly encouraged." Preproposals are due March 15, 1999; full proposals are due June 15, 1999. The second opportunity NSF has announced is a "special competition for an on-line resource to extend, maintain and distribute a user focused, on-line resource for biological information on Arabidopsis thaliana." Those interested in acquiring funding for the Arabidopsis thaliana genome project should postmark proposals no later than March 22, 1999. Finally, Life in Extreme Environments (LExEn) funds research on life in "extreme" environments. Extreme environments include "those associated with hydrothermal systems, high radiation fields, sea ice and ice sheets, anoxic habitats, hypersaline lakes, high altitude or polar deserts, or man-made environments such as those created for industrial processes." Proposals are due March 5, 1999. [LXP]

Urban System Program in Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education (K-12)
The National Science Foundation has announced a new funding opportunity, the Urban Systemic Program in Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education. An objective of this K-12 based program is to "offer urban school districts the opportunity to partner with local two-year and four-year institutions to produce an educational system for the production and maintenance of a high quality science and mathematics instructional and technological workforce." The proposal deadline is March 31, 1999. [SN]
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The Fifth Conference on Mars
The Fifth Conference on Mars will be held July 18-23, 1999 in Pasadena, California. Sponsors of this conference are California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lunar and Planetary Institute, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Information about the content or format of the conference can be accessed via email; the address is provided at the site. Deadline for abstracts is May 17, 1999. [SN]

1999 American Control Conference
The American Automatic Control Council is holding the 1999 American Control Conference (ACC) June 2-4, 1999, in San Diego, California. Highlights of the conference include the ACC Technical Program of contributed papers, plenary lectures, and tutorial sessions. Topics covered at the conference include industrial applications, robotics, manufacturing, power systems, neural nets, and computer aided design, among a plethora of others. The deadline for abstracts is March 1, 1999. Abstracts must be submitted via the Internet. [SN]
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New Data

Climate of 1998 Annual Review -- NCDC
While reliable instrument records only go back 119 years, some argue that 1998 witnessed the warmest temperatures in 1,200 years. What is certain is that for the 20th consecutive year, the annual global mean surface temperature exceeded the long-term average, this time by 1.2 degrees fahrenheit. The source and long-term implications of this steady rise in temperature are of course hotly debated. The facts are allowed to speak for themselves at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center, which has recently released its Climate of 1998 Annual Review. At the site users will find an overview and detailed reports and images on topics such as Global Temperatures, Global Precipitation, Annual US National Perspective, Annual US Regional Perspective, and Extreme Events. Additional resources include archived 1998 Monthly and Special Reports from the NCDC. [MD]
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Data for Leg 176 -- Ocean Drilling Program
Data from Leg 176 (Hole 735B) of the Ocean Drilling Program (ODB) is now available online. The Ocean Drilling Program (described in the August 5, 1998 Scout Report for Science & Engineering) conducts basic research into the "history of the ocean basins and the nature of the crust beneath the floor." ODP is funded principally by the National Science Foundation (NSF), along with large contributions from ODP's international partners. For scientific reports and proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, see the Publications page; initial reports for legs 174A, 174AX, and 174B and scientific results for legs 159, 159T, and 160 are also available online. [SN]
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The Mendel Database
The Mendel Database, part of the Mendel Plant Gene Nomenclature Database project by the Mendel Bioinformatics Group (UK), "aims to develop a common nomenclature for sequenced genes, based on gene families, for all photosynthetic organisms, the organelle genomes of both photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic organisms (fungi, algae, and protozoa) and plant viruses." At present, the searchable database contains "more than 20,000 genes, which can be translated into proteins, organized into about 2,000 gene families based on their sequence homology." Typical entries include gene family number and gene family name, "Gene & Gene Product descriptions & synonyms, and Accession numbers with links to SWISS-PROT & EMBL." [LXP]
[Note: Resource(s)/URL(s) mentioned above is no longer available.]
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Two Images from Space Telescope Science Institute
The Space Telescope Science Institute makes available two new images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. The first image, Gap in Stellar Dust Disk May Be Swept Out By Planet, is an infrared picture of a disk around a star located about 320 light-years away in the constellation Libra. The second image, Dust Ring Around Star Offers New Clues Into Planet Formation, is also an infrared image, which may provide clues into the possible presence of young planets. Brief descriptions accompany the images at the Website. [SN]
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In The News

A Nano-Robotic "Arm" Prototype Is Built From Synthetic DNA
1. NYU Scientists Build Nano-Robotic "Arm" Prototype From Synthetic DNA
2. BBC News: New Twist for Nanotechnology
3. Researchers make a "machine" out of DNA
4. Welcome to Ned Seeman's Laboratory Home Page
5. Nanotechnology at NYU: Using DNA to Form Microscopic "Bricks"
6. Recent Progress: Steps Toward Nanotechnology
7. Building Molecular Machine Systems
The week's In The News addresses a recent advancement in the scientific field of molecular nanotechnology. The scientists, Nadrian Seeman and colleagues, at New York University (NYU), have built a nano-robotic prototype from synthetic DNA. This recent major accomplishment was also reported in Nature,(Nature 397: 144-146, Jan. 14, 1999). This controllable molecular mechanical device has "two rigid DNA 'double-crossover' molecules connected by a long DNA helix of 4.5 double-helical turns that can be rotated from the normal B-form of (right-handed) DNA to Z-form of (left-handed) DNA when the solution is changed by increasing the salt concentration or adding certain small effector molecules such as cobalt hexamine." A flip of six nanometers between the two arms ("double-crossover" molecules) is observed when cobalt hexamine is added. Nadrian Seeman and colleagues conclude that it is possible to "incorporate this mechanical control in any figure or array produced by DNA nanotechnology, so long as free swivel containing proto-Z DNA can be included in the design." This development could lead to the construction of nano-robots that may manufacture or repair molecules possibly within the human body. The seven resources listed above provide US and international news resources as well as background information and recent advancements made in molecular nanotechnology.

The first resource, a press release from New York University, includes information about the nano-robotic arm prototype built from synthetic DNA, as well as a diagram of the DNA nanomanipulator (1). The second resource, from the BBC News Online Network, includes two audio files of Nadrian Seeman explaining his work and commenting on the significance of the molecular mechanical system (2). Even though this is a major advancement for molecular nanotechnology, the third resource cites scientists Eric Drexler of the Institute of Molecular Manufacturing and Daniel Colbert of Rice University who both agree that Seeman's device is too unmanageable to be useful, although further development may lead to a practical device (3). The fourth (4) and fifth resources (5), from NYU, provide information on Nadrian Seeman's research goals in DNA nanotechnology along with other research efforts and explain how the group designs and creates synthetic DNA, respectively. The sixth resource, a report from the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, provides a brief synopsis of an article that appeared in Nature(Nature 34: 539-533, Aug. 6, 1998), that describes how DNA junctions could be made more firm by incorporating double crossover molecules of DNA (6). The seventh resource, also a report from the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, discusses how micro or nanoscale systems can be useful in building molecular machine systems (7). [SN]
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