Neutrons can be used to probe living tissues without damaging them (neutron scattering). Suzan Mazur interviews biophysicist John Katsaras, whose specialty is cell membranes, at Oscillations on their implications for studying the origin and development of life forms. Among the fascinating details,
Suzan Mazur: Your membranes research revealed that lipids gathered with others of their type.
John Katsaras: Right. The cell makes thousands of different types of lipids. In the plasma membrane, which is the outer membrane of the cell, there are hundreds or, maybe thousands of different lipids. The question is, why does the cell expend so much energy to make all of these different lipids.
You could say, well, maybe they have all different physical properties.. As a result, mixtures of lipids may come together to create an environment for a protein enabling the protein to perform its function.
How does this happen? Are these passive processes driven by thermodynamics or are they active processes where the cell makes these things, puts them in place, and then continues to micromanage them? This remains an open question. Suzan Mazur, “Oak Ridge Biophysicist John Katsaras: Neutron Science Transforming Biology” at Oscillations
Mazur is the author of The Altenberg 16: An exposé of the evolution industry (2010) Note: Mazur also details the significant environment concern that North American facilities that use mercury in the process raise. Mercury contamination in water can be deadly because many life forms, including humans, eat the mercury-laden fish and the contaminant builds up over time, causing nerve damage. Mercury is not essential to the process; the Swedish facility does not use it. But the issues are, of course, highly political.
See also: Suzan Mazur on mechanobiology, the next level of understanding of the cell
Neutrons in relation to other particles:
Neutron scattering used for the study of cel membranes: