Most Scientific DISCOVERIES made while writing research reports

“As a trained scientist, I knew that organizing the material into a logical structure was the only way to write a useful manual (see 3.2). It is well known in science that most discoveries are made while writing the research reports, not when conducting the research. It was as if I had all the parts of a terrific car, but without a mechanic to assemble the car and tune it up, those parts weren’t much good for transportation. Whatever the exact reasons were for the effectiveness of the book, I became convinced of its potential to revolutionize piano teaching” — Chuan C. Chang, Research Scientist (and author of, Fundamentals of Piano Practice)

Why do a lab report?

Why write a paper?

Arsenic-Eating Bacteria-Six Essential Chemicals for Life

Phosphorus is one of six chemical elements that have long been thought to be essential for all Life As We Know It. The others are carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and sulfur.

While nature has been able to engineer substitutes for some of the other elements that exist in trace amounts for specialized purposes — like iron to carry oxygen — until now there has been no substitute for the basic six elements. Now, scientists say, these results will stimulate a lot of work on what other chemical replacements might be possible. The most fabled, much loved by science fiction authors but not ever established, is the substitution of silicon for carbon.

Phosphorus chains form the backbone of DNA and its chemical bonds, particularly in a molecule known as adenosine triphosphate, the principal means by which biological creatures store energy. “It’s like a little battery that carries chemical energy within cells,” said Dr. Scharf. So important are these “batteries,” Dr. Scharf said, that the temperature at which they break down, about 160 Celsius (320 Fahrenheit), is considered the high-temperature limit for life.

Arsenic sits right beneath phosphorus in the periodic table of the elements and shares many of its chemical properties. Indeed, that chemical closeness is what makes it toxic, Dr. Wolfe-Simon said, allowing it to slip easily into a cell’s machinery where it then gums things up, like bad oil in a car engine.

via Arsenic-Eating Bacteria Force New Thinking on What Constitutes Life – NYTimes.com.