Thursday, May 17, 2007

Birth of the albino tarantula

The other day, the boys in the lab (literally) cooked up a beauty. It looks like an albino tarantula, or maybe one that fell in a bottle of bleach.

So I thought, what would happen if I inverted the image? Well, the result is a radioactive looking beast that belongs in a science fiction movie.

What should we name the movie? It looks like the beast is crawling out the chimney of a ship. Maybe it was a normal spider that fell in the nuclear reactor of a ship? Spiderman 4? I just tested my idea on Tala, and she said, "It looks like an onion." Go figure!


  1. Hello, Aisha, nice to see you. The simple answer to your question is "It" is zinc oxide. It started as a melt in a crucible with a lid. As the zinc vapor leaked out it hit air and got oxidized, forming a bubble of zinc oxide that lifted up the lid. Later on, the pressure inside the bubble punched holes in the bubble, and the zinc vapor grew tubes (hollow spider legs) out of those holes, similar to the vent pipes that grow out of some underwater volcanoes. Interestingly, the inside of those tubes is kind of yellow in color, and in the larger tubes, the inside looks more like snake or alligator skin. Here are a couple of in-out images of a larger tube that looks like snake skin on the inside.

  2. super cool....did Moody say "When I grow up daddy, I wanna make spiders just like you!" I LOVE science!

  3. I think both kids are interested in science. Moody always says he wants to be an astronaut because he knows that makes me happy and makes Mom uneasy. lol lol

    Here is a couple of closeups of the spider leg in the scanning electron microscope. It looks pretty thorny, you know... "shouk shouk" like a 3ousiz bush. Check out the needles that look like sharpened pencils.
    Closeup 1

    Closeup 2

    Have fun!