Saturday, November 6, 2010
This is a still image from a video showing how mitochondria work at the molecular scale, part of a series produced by a Harvard entity called BioVisions. I find these fascinating. They show the level at which life has the look of mechanical machines that spin and thump. I know they are not quite "right", but they do convey a lot of information about molecular processes, in the same way that ball-and-stick models can convey much about how atoms fit together. If we could see at this scale -- which we can't, because protein molecules are too small to reflect enough photons to be continuously visible -- everything would look fuzzier than this. But so far as we understand it, this is how our cells really work.