3.6.1 Radioactivity and bugs!

Many natural processes involve repeated doublings or halving at regular intervals. You may have come across this already in your work, in the context of bacterial growth or radioactivity. In this section, we are going to look in more detail at bacterial growth and radioactivity and we will be using graphs to examine how the numbers of bacteria or numbers of radioactive atoms change over time.


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Questions relating to Figure 11

The following OD450 values were measured from serum samples taken from three babies: 0.12, 0.40, and 1.74.

Self-assessment Question 3

3.9 Moon41: Apollo 15 station 2

The panorama was collected by James B. Irwin at Station 2. David Scott is to the left of the rover. He is examining a boulder. The large hill to the left of the rover is the summit of Mt. Hadley Delta. (QuickTime, 400KB, note: this may take some time to download depending on your connection speed)

8 Multiple plate collisions and the end of the Iapetus Ocean

The document attached below includes the eighth section of Mountain building in Scotland. In this section, you will find the following subsections:

  • 8.1 Introduction

  • 8.2 Palaeocontinental reconstructions

    • 8.2.1 The global view

    • 8.2.2 A model for the closure of the Iapetus Ocean

    • 8.2.3 Summary of Section 8.2

  • 8.3 Tectonics of the Northe
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12.6 Distance cues

There are two main cues available that allow us to judge the distance to a sound source. The first of these is the sound pressure level. Sound pressure level drops by 6 dB each time the distance that a sound travels doubles. In other words, if the sound pressure level of a sound is 60 dB SPL when its source is 1 m from you, then it will be 54 dB SPL if you move back another metre so that you are now 2 m away from its source. Therefore lower sound pressure levels indicate a greater distance. A
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11.5 Summary of sections 8 to 11

In these sections we have described some of the quantitative relationships between the physical dimensions of simple sounds and their subjective psychological dimensions. The physical dimension of intensity, or pressure amplitude, given in decibels (dB), directly affects loudness. Frequency of pressure changes, in hertz (Hz), mainly determines pitch.

The lowest threshold value and hence the maximal sensitivity for humans is in the region of 3000 Hz.

The quantitative relationship b
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7.1 The ascending auditory pathway

Up till now we have dealt with the anatomy of the auditory periphery and how the basic attributes of sound are coded within the auditory periphery. A great deal of additional processing takes place in the neural centres that lie in the auditory brainstem and cerebral cortex. Because localisation and other binaural perceptions depend on the interaction of information arriving at the two ears, we need to study the central auditory centres, since auditory nerves from the two cochleae interact on
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6.3 Summary of Sections 4 to 6

Hair cells do not have axons and therefore do not generate action potentials.

The nerve that communicates with or innervates the hair cells along the basilar membrane is known as the vestibulocochlear nerve or VIIIth cranial nerve. The cochlear portion of the nerve contains afferent fibres that carry information in the form of action potentials from the organ of Corti to the brain, and efferent fibres that bring information from the cerebral cortex to the periphery.

Most of the af
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6.2 Number of neurons hypothesis

In addition to an increase in firing rate of neurons with differing dynamic ranges, the inclusion of discharges from many fibres whose CFs are different from those of the stimulus may also help to account for the wide dynamic range of the ear. You know from Section 3.3 that in response to a pure tone stimulus the basilar membrane vibrates maximally at a g
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5.1 Place code

We know that each hair cell occurs in a localised region of the cochlea, and that auditory nerve fibres contacting each hair cell fire action potentials in response to movement of the basilar membrane at that location. This means that the response of any given fibre should reflect the frequency selectivity of that location on the basilar membrane from which it comes. In other words, cochlear nerve fibres preserve the frequency selectivity found along the basilar membrane. Fibres on the outsid
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4 Neural processing of auditory information

In this section we will look at how the frequency selectivity found along the basilar membrane is preserved or modified by the auditory nerve and how information about the intensity of the signal is encoded in the response of the auditory nerve fibres.

The nerve that communicates with or innervates the hair cells along the basilar membrane is called the vestibulocochlear nerve or VIIIth cranial nerve. It enters the brainstem just under the cerebellum and conveys information from
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3.6 Synaptic transmission from hair cells

In addition to being sensory receptors, hair cells are also presynaptic terminals. The membrane at the base of each hair cell contains several presynaptic active zones, where chemical neurotransmitter is released. When the hair cells are depolarised, chemical transmitter is released from the hair cells to the cells of the auditory nerve fibres. Excited by this chemical transmitter, the afferent nerve fibres contacting the hair cells fire a pattern of action potentials that encode features of
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3.5.2 Mechanical force directly opens and closes transduction channels

It is believed that tip links aid in causing ‘channels’ to open and close near the top of the hair cell (Figure 16). Tip links are filamentous connections between two stereocilia. Each tip link is a fine fibre obliquely joining the distal end of one stereocilium to the side of the longest adjacent process. It is thought that each l
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3.3 The role of the basilar membrane in sound reception

So far we know that sound-induced increases and decreases in air pressure move the tympanum inwards and outwards. The movement of the tympanum displaces the malleus which is fixed to its inner surface. The motion of the malleus and hence the incus results in the stapes functioning like a piston – alternately pushing into the oval window and then retracting from it. Since the oval window communicates with the scala vestibuli, the action of the stapes pushes and pulls cyclically on the fluid
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3.2 The anatomy of the cochlea

The cochlea has a spiral shape resembling the shell of a snail (Figure 4a). You can approximate the structure of the cochlea by wrapping a drinking straw 2.5 times around the tip of a sharpened pencil. The hollow tube, represented by the straw, has walls made of bone and the central pillar of the cochlea, represented by the pencil, is a conical
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1 Sound reception: the ear

In order to hear a sound, the auditory system must accomplish three basic tasks. First it must deliver the acoustic stimulus to the receptors; second, it must transduce the stimulus from pressure changes into electrical signals; and third, it must process these electrical signals so that they can efficiently indicate the qualities of the sound source such as pitch, loudness and location. How the auditory system accomplishes these tasks is the subject of much of the rest of this block. We will
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2.5.2 Quantum fields and unification

From its inception, quantum physics was concerned not just with particles such as electrons, but also with light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation. In 1900 Planck discovered the quantum in the transfer of energy from matter to radiation, and in 1905, Einstein's explanation of the photoelectric effect assumed that the transfer of energy from radiation to matter occurred in a similarly quantised fashion. It is therefore hardly surprising that the development of quantum mechanics was
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6 Summary

There are two areas of general concern regarding the introduction of GM crops and food: the possible impacts on human health and on the environment. For some critics of GM technology, this reflects a feeling that GM technology is unnatural, as compared to conventional crop breeding. However, many techniques used in conventional crop development, for example, intergeneric and interspecific crossing, haploid breeding and mutation breeding, are highly technological and seem very far from being n
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5.2.2 The GM Economics Review

Scientists, as might be expected, played a limited role in this review, which was produced by a team dominated by economists. The review sought to evaluate the costs and benefits of commercial development of the GM crops available at that time in the UK. They also looked at possible developments over a 10–15-year period. The members of the team were obliged to recognise the limited ‘evidence-base’ available on the costs and benefits of GM crops, covering only a short period oftime.

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5.2.1 The GM Science Review

The review was undertaken by the GM Science Review Panel, chaired by the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir David King. Its role was to assess the evidence available in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. The panel produced two reports, the first in July 2003 and the second in January 2004. The main conclusions of these reports are listed below.

  • The risk to human health is very low.

  • There is little likelihood of such plan
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