While there are lots of emotions that can be expressed through music in lots of different ways, we are going to talk about the most basic and general two… Happy and sad. One of music’s most powerful tools is heightening or even changing people emotions. A great example of this is in film. Imagine watching a movie without music. It would suck right? When the main character dies at the end of the movie, the music is ‘sad’ which makes us feel that emotion.
On the other hand, when the good guy wins, the music is happy which makes us feel more happy. So the question is, how and why does music sound like an emotion? The first question to ask is, what characteristics make music sound happy or sad? From research, and to be honest, just general knowledge, the main element that makes music happy or sad is it’s mode (key). There are many different modes, but the most common in western music are the ionian (major) and aeolian (minor) scales. The major key is known as the happy scale, and the minor scale is known as the sad scale. But why is this?
Music isn’t a universal language. What I mean by this is that it isn’t fact or a certain thing such as math. This suggests that there is no real scientific reason to why music can sound happy or sad and although people have theories involving the things like the harmonic series and soundwaves. The real reason behind music’s emotion is perception. This perception has been ingrained into our brains over centuries of music making and listening.
So far we have only been talking about harmony in western music, whereas there is music from all around the world. Some music from around the world use completely different harmonic systems and play very different music in general. For example there are Hungarian scales that we might call minor scales, but they are not perceived as sad in their culture, rather they are heard as happy. There are other examples of this in other parts of the world too, including Asia and Africa. This is evidence that the emotion of music is in it’s perception rather than science and fact.
When someone calls your name from across a room, you can instantly tell where the person calling you is, right? It is pretty important to know where a car is coming from before you cross the road! Some owls has ear that are located on the head asymmetrically. This makes it easier from them to detect from where a small animal is located. So this brings about the question: How do we know where things are, by hearing them? There are three main factors that help us determine where sound is coming from: Timing, volume and tone.
This is the very small difference in time from when the sound hits the left ear and the right ear. This is due to the space/time difference between the two ears. Our brain can use this information to work out where the sound is coming from. An example: When someone is standing to the right of you and calls you, your right ear will hear it slightly before the left. Although this time difference is so small that we don’t notice it, our brain does, and tells us that the person is to our right.
The volume of the sound helps us determine how far away a something is, and it can also help determine the direction of the sound too. This is because the sound is very slightly quieter in one ear than the other due to the distance between them and because of object between the ears… Your head. Your head absorbs some sound making it slightly quieter when it hits the the other ear. An example: When our friend speaks to us from the right, our right ear hears the sound slightly louder than the left. Again, we don’t really notice this difference, but our brain does.
The tone of a sound also helps the brain figure out where it’s coming from. Generally, the further away a sound is, the less high frequencies there are. This is because the bass energy travels further than high frequencies and the objects around absorb more high frequencies than low frequencies. An example: When you’re standing far away from a concert or music festival, all you really hear is the bass. This is an extreme example because we’re standing very far away, but it’s the same concept.
Amazing news from NASA’s Marsis radar instrument on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter. A huge lake has been discovered underneath the south polar ice cap. This gives even more credence to life on Mars, not just millions of years ago, but now!
For more information see: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44952710
Glowworms are amazing. They are bioluminescent beetles. The female glows during June and July, and sometimes August, to attract a mate. Once it has mated it stops glowing, and lays its eggs a few days later, and then dies. The larvae hatch in about 3 weeks time. These flash when disturbed as a warning – do not eat me I taste horrible. The UK glowworms are closely related to fireflies. There are two species in Britain – Lampyrus noctiluca and Phosphaenus hemiptera (very rare, mate be extinct here). However the famous New Zealand glowworm is actually the larva of a fly, several similar species being found in Australia.
The light is produced by a chemical reaction – burning without fire, all the energy going into making cold light and no heat. The energy for All bioluminescence comes from oxidation. A small organic molecule, called a luciferin, is oxidised by oxygen the reaction being catalysed by a protein called a luciferase. Each animal group uses a completely different luciferase. The luciferin used by glowworms and fireflies is only used by them. Luminous jelly fish, shrimp, and copepods use a completely different luciferin called coelenterazine. Darwin had major problems with bioluminescence. He could not see how small change by small change could lead to a new phenomenon. In fact the first entry in his Beagle notebook was bioluminescence off the coast of Tenerife, caused by microscopic dinoflagellates. But we have solved this. Bioluminescence turns out to be a model for one of the greatest puzzles in evolution – the origin of a new enzyme (see Campbell, A. K. 2012. Darwin shines light on the evolution of bioluminescence. Luminescence, 27, 447-449 – pdf available on request).
Amazingly bioluminescence has revolutionised biomedical research, clinical diagnosis, drug discovery and created three individual billion dollar markets.
email us any you have seen to email@example.com
See the Uk’s glowworm site set up by Robin Scagell http://glowworms.org.uk for sites near you. You must wait till it is very dark, for example after 10.30 at night.
Campbell AK (2003). Rainbow Makers. Chemistry in Britain June 2003:30-33
Campbell AK (2017). Fundamentals of intracellular calcium, Wiley, Chichester.
Campbell, A. K. 2003a. Save those molecules! Molecular biodiversity and life. Journal of Applied Ecology, 40, 193-203.
Campbell, A. K. 2003b. What Darwin missed. Astrophysics and Space Science, 285, 571-585.
Campbell, A. K. 2012. Darwin shines light on the evolution of bioluminescence. Luminescence, 27, 447-449.
Campbell, A. K. 2015. Intracellular Calcium, Vols 1 and 2. Intracellular Calcium.
Campbell, A. K. 2018. Fundamentals of intracellular calcium, Chichester, Wiley.
Campbell, AK (2015). Intracellular calcium. ISBN 978-0470-695-111. Wiley, Chichester.
Campbell,AK. (1988). Chemiluminescence: principles and applications in biology and medicine, pp608. Horwood/VCH, Chichester and Weinheim. ISBN 3-527-26342-X. 0 7156 2499 7.
Campbell,AK. (1994). Rubicon: the fifth dimension of biology. pp 304. Duckworth, London, 0 7156 2499 7.
Herring,PJ, Campbell,AK, Whitfield, M and Maddock, L (eds) (1990). Light and Life in the Sea. pp 357. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Sala-Newby, GB, Thomson, CM and Campbell, AK (1996). Biochem. J. 313: 761-767. Sequence and biochemical similarities between luciferases of the glow-worm Lampyris noctiluca and the firefly Photinus pyralis.
Tyler, J (2002). Glowworms. ISBN: 9780952352617
Vassel, N, Cox, CD, Morse, V, Powell, R, Evans, R, Brancale, A, Wann, KT and Campbell, AK (2012). Enzymatic activity of albumin shown by coelenterazine chemiluminescence. Luminescence 27, 234-241.
The story of the Pryce family in the beautiful village of Llanfairynghornwy, Anglesey at the end of the nineteenth century
The Pryce story was written by Gwynedd Daloni Cooper, née Seth Hughes, and compiled by Anthony Campbell. Both were born in Bangor, North Wales. This book also contains biographies of her two sisters, Penelope and Jennet, as well as family trees going back to the 17th century, and a host of photographs of Anglesey, including St Mary’s church, Llanfairynghornwy. Anglesey and the mountains of Snowdonia are an inspiration to all who visit there. The natural history and geology inspired Darwin. This book follows is catalysed by this inspiration.
It is available from firstname.lastname@example.org at a price of £30 plus postage.
Genetic engineering of firefly gene enables single cancer cells to be seen in a live animal.
Bioluminescence is the emission of light from living organisms1,2. The genes that code from their light emitting proteins have revolutionised clinical diagnosis and biomedical research, and amazingly have created several billion dollar markets. The firefly luciferase gene can be used to light up cancer cells in live animals. A drug that kills the cancer cells then causes the light to go out. A famous Japanese group have used genetic engineering to markedly improve the use of cancer cells expressing firefly luciferase in whole animals for drug discovery. They used an ingenious combination of a chemically modified luciferin and a genetically selected luciferase, which clearly results in a large increase in light emission, when used in live animals. They claim they can now detect single cells in a live mouse. The apparent higher expression of genetically engineered bioluminescent proteins may be caused by an increase in half life of the protein, rather than higher synthesis3-5. This half-life can be as short as 20 minutes in cells. Luciferases and jellyfish photoproteins, such as those from the marine species Gaussia, Aequorea and Obelia, use coelenterazine as the luciferin1,2,6. This produces blue light, and is more sensitively detected by an intensified CCD camera, than the yellow or red emission from firefly luciferase1,2. The EM- CCD camera used by these authors is likely to be red sensitive. This is an important point. A further issue is the quantum yield, the fraction of luciferin molecules producing a photon. Natural firefly luciferase has a very high quantum yield, typically 80-100%1. The combination of a genetically engineered luciferase and modified luciferin may have reduced this. In coelenterazine systems this is typically <20%. The high quality work reported here will lead to further application of bioluminescence in whole animals, where it is superior to fluorescence.
Campbell,AK. (1988). Chemiluminescence: principles and applications in biology and medicine, pp608. Horwood/VCH, Chichester and Weinheim.
Campbell AK (2017). Fundamentals of intracellular calcium, pp 428, Wiley, Chichester.
Badminton, M, Kendall, JM, Sala-Newby, G and Campbell AK (1995). Differences in stability of recombinant apoaequorin within subcellular compartments. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 217:950-957.
Jeffery, J. Kendall, J.M. and Campbell, A.K. (2000). Apoaequorin monitors degradation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) proteins initiated by loss of ER Ca2+. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 268,711-715.
Baubet,V, Le Mouellic, H, Campbell, AK, Lucas-Meunier, E, Fossier, P and Brulet, P (2000). Chimeric GFP-aequorin as bioluminescent Ca2+ reporters at the single cell level. Proc.Natl.Acad.Sci.97:7260-7265.
Campbell,AK and Herring,PJ. (1990) Marine Biology 104:219-225. Imidazolopyrazine bioluminescence in copepods and other marine animals.
Read more at:
Iwano et al, Science 359, 935-939 (2018). Single –cell bioluminescence imaging of deep tissue in freely moving animals.
Space Travel – time to dream again
A cherry red Tesla Roadster with a dummy at the wheel, and the sound system playing Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’, went into space this month. It was launched by the Falcon Heavy rocket, the brainchild of Elon Musk, a visionary genius. Musk set up SpaceX a private company, in 2002 to open up space travel. He had many doubters. But it’s not just the technical wizardry that is so important here. He has given a new generation inspiration, excitement and a chance to dream again about Space travel. Pity about the car though. The dummy hopefully enjoyed the ride.
Stop press: Monkeys cloned
Two baby macaque monkeys, Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua, have been born in Shanghai, China. The crazy thing is that they are truly identical, made from cloning using SCNT, Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer. Dolly the sheep was the first mammal cloned and this has now been achieved in 23 mammalian species. But this is the first time in a primate. The researchers argue that monkeys are needed to study human disease mechanisms, genetic defects and potential therapeutic treatments. The technology used to achieve these live births is very clever but the regulation of use of the technology and the ethics will no doubt be debated long and hard.
Clever Clostridium, naïve nutritionists: Another sorry sugar tale
In 2000/2001 a sugar, trehalose was granted safe status in the USA and Europe, and because technological advances made it cheap to make, was added to many foods. Shortly after this, epidemics of serious severe diarrhoea started, caused by the pathogen, Clostridium difficile. Trehalose is a disaccharide that is made of two sugar units, in this case, two glucoses. Surely this cannot cause problems?
Take a clue from nature. The human body evolved coping well with mainly sucrose (glucose and fructose) maltose (glucose and glucose) and babies are very good at metabolising lactose (galactose and glucose). The way the two sugar units link together and the sterioisomerism of the molecules is vital. In the right place, trehalose is an amazing disaccharide that is used by bees for rapid energy and by plants to withstand dehydration, but the human gut has not been exposed to much of it. Two strains of Clostridium difficle have evolved to flourish in very low levels of trehalose. The arguments made by the researchers from the USA, Netherlands and UK are compelling. The moral? Why change the sugars we eat. They are not benign molecules to be messed with.
Read more at:
Dietary trehalose enhances virulence of epidemic Clostridium difficile CollinsC. Robinson et al Nature volume 553, pages 291–294
Reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field
Is this a doomsday scenario?
Everyone who uses a compass knows that the Earth has a magnetic field around it produced by the molten metal at the core of our planet. The compact needle points towards magnetic North, which is different from geographic North. Scientists have discovered that, every hundred thousand years or so, the filed turns upside down. In other words, it reverses. Recent data from satellites obtained by the European Space Agency (ESA) has shown that the next reversal has already started. Some have argued that a complete reversal could be catastrophic, and allow a lethal stream of particles from the sun, and cosmic rays. But NASA says we do not need to worry as the fossil record from times when this occurred before shows that life carried on as normal.
Tony’s lactose free cookbook The science of lactose intolerance and how to live without lactose
This book could revolutionise your life. Lactose is the sugar in milk. Yet all mammals, except white northern Europeans and some other people, lose the ability to digest lactose properly. As a result they can suffer from a range of gut and systemic symptoms, including diarrhoea or constipation, gut distention and pain, headaches, chronic fatigue, heart palpitations, and skin problems. This book explains what causes these, with a revolutionary hypothesis based on the production of metabolic toxins by bacteria that live in all our guts. The book tells the about Tony’s family, has over 100 mouth-watering recipes, with Tony’s tips and wine recommendations, exposes the scandal of hidden lactose in many foods, and reveals why Charles Darwin suffered from the symptoms of lactose and food intolerance for over 50 years, yet was never diagnosed, until now!
The authors, Professor Anthony Campbell and his wife and long time collaborator Dr Stephanie Matthews, have researched into lactose and food intolerance for over 20 years, and have published their findings in international peer reviewed journals.
Tell us your story and how this book has affected you. email us at email@example.com