Computer Sciences

Synapses as a model: Solid-state memory in neuromorphic circuits

Certain tasks—such as recognizing patterns and language—are performed highly efficiently by a human brain, requiring only about one ten-thousandth of the energy of a conventional, so-called "von Neumann" computer. One ...

Electronics & Semiconductors

Marrying models with experiments to build more efficient solar cells

In a single day, enough sunlight strikes Earth to power the world for an entire year—that is, if we can find a way to capture that energy cheaply and efficiently. While the cost of solar energy has decreased dramatically, ...

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Cell (biology)

The cell is the structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of an organism that is classified as living, and is often called the building block of life. Some organisms, such as most bacteria, are unicellular (consist of a single cell). Other organisms, such as humans, are multicellular. (Humans have an estimated 100 trillion or 1014 cells; a typical cell size is 10 µm; a typical cell mass is 1 nanogram.) The largest known cell is an unfertilized ostrich egg cell.

In 1835 before the final cell theory was developed, a Czech Jan Evangelista Purkyně observed small "granules" while looking at the plant tissue through a microscope. The cell theory, first developed in 1839 by Matthias Jakob Schleiden and Theodor Schwann, states that all organisms are composed of one or more cells. All cells come from preexisting cells. Vital functions of an organism occur within cells, and all cells contain the hereditary information necessary for regulating cell functions and for transmitting information to the next generation of cells.

The word cell comes from the Latin cellula, meaning, a small room. The descriptive name for the smallest living biological structure was chosen by Robert Hooke in a book he published in 1665 when he compared the cork cells he saw through his microscope to the small rooms monks lived in.

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