August 15, 2012

Unique states and complex systems

I am reposting these two short, recent paper profiles from my microblog, Tumbld Thoughts

The first is an interesting set of papers on transient, totipotent-like states in stem cells. Stem cells are defined by their ability to exhibit stable pluripotency, which is the ability to take on the identity of any somatic cell phenotype. In development, totipotent cells, or cells that can can form a viable organism on their own, tend to give rise to pluripotent cells. However, these descendents of totipotent cells are also able to take on an intermittent (e.g. less stable) totipotent identity from time to time. The figure above is Figure 1 from [1]. Or you can read the full research report [2].

The second is a new paper on a newly-verified quantum state [3]. The authors of this paper call it "our state", a special type of three-body bound state (also known as Efimov three-body states) [4]. The "our state" involves pair interactions that are not only too weak to bind interacting atoms together, but also try to push these atoms apart. See the paper and Machines Like Us story for more information.


[1] Tischler, J. and Surant, A.   A sporadic super state. Nature, 487, 43-45 (2012).

[2] MacFarlan, T.S.   Embryonic stem cell potency fluctuates with endogenous retrovirus activity. Nature, 487, 57-63 (2012).

[3] For more information, please see: Guevara, N.L., Wang, Y., and Esry, B.D.   New Class of Three-Body States. Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 213202 (2012).

[4] the authors in question are from Brett Esry's group at Kansas State University, and their current main area of research is 3-body recombination. Visualization of three-body problem is from

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