Tyler Simko

Tyler Simko Twitter
Follow Tyler Simko on Twitter

Tyler Simko

Quantumaniac is where it’s at - and by ‘it’ I mean awesome.

Hi! My name is Tyler Simko. Over here, I post a ton of astronomy / math / general science in an attempt to make your brain feel good. My aim is to be as informative as possible while posting fascinating things that hopefully enlighten us both to the mysteries of our truly wondrous universe(s?). Plus, how would you know if the blog exists or not unless you observe it?

Boom, just pulled the Schrödinger’s cat card. Now you have to check it out - trust me, it said so in an equation somewhere.

Please check out my web design company, O8 Labs, we build websites and mobile apps - let us build yours!

Follow Tyler Simko on Quora


How Pearls Get Their Round Shape

Not all pearls are round, but many are, and these are the most prized. But given that the creation of a pearl happens within the locked-tight shell of a living creature, we don’t really know exactly how they’re made. Why are some pearls round and others ovoid or teardrop-shaped? A new study claims it has an answer.

The central mystery is that many, even most, pearls have rotational symmetry, meaning it looks the same if you rotate it along a certain axis. Items with rotational symmetry are typically made by rotation themselves—imagine taking a block of wood and rotating it quickly against a sharp lathe, carving it down into a round object with perfect rotational symmetry. But an oyster doesn’t have the muscle control to rotate a developing pearl. So how is it possible that pearls are so round? Researchers in Spain just published a paper suggesting a possible solution to the problem.

Pearls are formed when a small irritant, like a grain of sand, somehow makes its way into the interior of an oyster shell. Annoyed by this foreign object, the oyster begins coating it in a material it produces called nacre (pronounced NAY-ker). Nacre is mostly aragonite, a carbonate crystal, bonded with weaker materials like proteins and chitin. The oyster slowly coats the foreign irritant in layers upon layers of nacre, eventually forming a pearl.

The researchers’ solution is a complex series of tiny movements. First of all, when you look at a pearl way up close under a microscope, you find that it’s not smooth at all; it’s covered in tiny sawtooth-like steppes or terraces. The act of sticking the protein or chitin to the layers of aragonite, creating these terraces, imparts a tiny amount of energy. Water molecules around the pearl are warmed up, pushing off the little terraces and causing a tiny little bit of rotation in one direction. If the oyster was simply laying down entire coatings of nacre at once, this would have no effect, but the oyster instead does it in parallel lines, all in one direction, so the oyster very slowly and naturally turns, like a ratchet.

Source: BBC, PopSci

Follow Us On Twitter

  1. asides-and-analecta reblogged this from thescienceofreality
  2. rithmatist reblogged this from quantumaniac
  3. callstheadventurescience reblogged this from hal-ya
  4. mlbowers97 reblogged this from neverwasastoryofmorewhoa
  5. tahtichan reblogged this from quantumaniac
  6. jabubs reblogged this from science-in-a-jar
  7. lawandorderfan reblogged this from we-are-star-stuff
  8. ossacordis reblogged this from thescienceofreality
  9. welcometotheglowcloud reblogged this from thescienceofreality
  10. vinegardoppio reblogged this from we-are-star-stuff
  11. officialcharlemagne reblogged this from thescienceofreality
  12. coldsmog reblogged this from thescienceofreality
  13. mistressnightingale1956 reblogged this from we-are-star-stuff
  14. mercuryandglass reblogged this from we-are-star-stuff
  15. supreme-shieldmaiden reblogged this from we-are-star-stuff
  16. rumblingredsky reblogged this from we-are-star-stuff
  17. kimssecretdiary reblogged this from hal-ya
  18. junisbuggis reblogged this from thescienceofreality
  19. jetpackninjadinosaursfromspace reblogged this from we-are-star-stuff
  20. basslover91 reblogged this from we-are-star-stuff
  21. mireya-in-pink reblogged this from vanessas18
  22. christastevenson reblogged this from we-are-star-stuff
  23. ninjadentist reblogged this from we-are-star-stuff
  24. sculleys reblogged this from science-in-a-jar