Scientist awarded for unboiling an egg
It's that time of year again -- and no, we're not talking about Emmys. We're talking about the Ig awards.
Improbably Research, a comical science mag, awards the Ig Nobel Prize to honor "achievements that make people laugh, then make them think" -- sort of like a quirky Nobel Prize.
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Among the winners this year is Professor Colin Raston -- who figured out how to unboil an egg.
Boiling or cooking an egg is normally considered a chemical change, which is any change that results in the formation of new chemical substances -- and it's usually pretty irreversible.
Professor Raston pretty much just blew our minds on that one -- but how did he do it?
He used something called the vortex fluidic device (which he also invented, by the way). He and his team first used it on a hen egg to pull apart proteins to return the egg white to an earlier state.
He explained, "When you boil an egg, the egg white goes white because there's a protein in there. It's like a bit of spaghetti coiled up, but if it's not coiled up properly, it'll start to stick to all these other ... proteins, so it forms a gel."
Basically -- eggs are mostly made up of water and protein.
When things heat up, the proteins start moving around and form bonds with other proteins until they get so tangled up that they form a solid.
Professor Raston's machine essentially untangled the proteins, but here's the best part:
The vortex liquidator isn't just good for playing with food. Raston says it's already demonstrated promising applications for cancer treatments and allowed drug potency to be boosted as much as four-and-a-half times.
It sounds like he's on his way to a real Nobel Prize.
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