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In this issue:
First Image of Protein Residue in 50 Million Year-old Reptile Skin
WIS Seminar Today: Julia Child, An Appetite for Life
Seen Around SLAC: Students

SLAC Today

Wednesday - March 23, 2011

First Image of Protein Residue in 50 Million Year-old Reptile Skin

Synchrotron X-ray map of trace metal distributions in 50 million year-old reptile skin (left) and the moulted skin of a gecko lizard (right). Trace metals in the fossil are high in the central regions of the scales, just as in the modern skin, with amounts roughly similar to those determined in the gecko. This indicates that the trace metal inventory in the fossil is original to the ancient organism and may be compared to modern species.
(Image: University of Manchester.)

The organic compounds surviving in fifty-million year-old fossilized reptile skin can be seen for the first time today, thanks to a stunning infrared image produced by University of Manchester palaeontologists and geochemists. Published in the journal Royal Society Proceedings B: Biology, the brightly-colored image shows the presence of amides—the organic compounds, or building blocks of life—in the ancient skin of a reptile, found in the 50 million year-old rocks of the Green River Formation in Utah.

This image had never been seen by the human eye, until Roy Wogelius and Phil Manning used state-of-the-art infrared technology at The University of Manchester to reveal and map the fossilized soft tissue of a beautifully preserved reptile.

These infrared maps are backed up by the first ever element-specific maps of organic material in fossil skin generated using X-ray methods at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource at SLAC, also by the Manchester researchers.

Read more from the University of Manchester...

See also:
Prehistoric Reptile Skin Secrets Revealed in New Image BBC News
Prehistoric Skin Holds Building Blocks of Life Discovery News

(Image - WIS logo)

WIS Seminar Today:
Julia Child, An Appetite for Life

What is it about Julia Child? She's a cook—not a great scientist or world leader. Yet she graced the cover of Time in 1966, and has been the subject of a musical play and several biographies. How can we understand how "just cooking" made this women not only an American icon, but allowed her to profoundly influence what Americans eat and cook, and think about the purpose of food and of meals?

Today at noon in Panofsky Auditorium, Santa Clara University Associate Professor of History Nancy Unger will present "Julia Child, America's French Chef: An Appetite for Life." Her talk places Child's fascinating life story within the context of American women's history. She was an amazing women in her own time, and left an important legacy by following her passions and being unapologetically herself.

Everyone is welcome. Bring your lunch and a friend.

The students take a break in the sunshine before heading to the Visitor's Alcove at the Klystron Gallery.)

Seen Around SLAC: Students

Five juniors from Lynbrook High School in San Jose gave up a day off from classes due to a teacher training day to tour the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource and learn what happens at a beamline. They chose SLAC over more than 100 businesses that had opened their doors for Lynbrook's Job Shadow Day, said Miko Otoshi, one of the parent coordinators of the event.

The students, accompanied by their SSRL escort Irimpan Matthews of the Structural Molecular Biology Division, saw Beamlines 12-2, 4-2 and 6-2. Or, as the students put it, a crystallography beamline, a materials science beamline "and the Archimedes book beamline." The last carried the most excitement.

When asked what stood out about the tour, Rashmi Raviprasad said she was impressed by all the beamlines and their many purposes.

"I like how there are a lot of applications for X-rays," Rashmi said. "You think they're just about going to the doctor but there are a lot of practical uses for them."

The students finished up their day at SLAC with a trip to the Visitors Alcove in the Klystron Gallery, and then lunch.

"We really appreciate all of our Job Shadow Day hosts," Otoshi said. "It's important for the kids to see what's out there in terms of careers. They may decide they really want to pursue a certain career—they may decide they don't. But they need to start thinking about it."




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