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A Buckyegg Breaks Pentagon Rules 137

Roland Piquepaille writes "Chemists from Virginia and California have cooked a soup of fullerenes which produced an improbable buckyegg. The egg-shaped structure of their 'buckyballs' was a complete surprise for the researchers. In fact, they wanted to trap some atoms of terbium in a buckyball "to make compounds that could be both medically useful and well-tolerated in the body." And they obtained a buckyegg which both violates some chemistry laws and the FIFA soccer laws which were used until the last World Cup. Read more for additional references and a picture of this buckyegg carrying metal molecules."
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A Buckyegg Breaks Pentagon Rules

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  • Wha? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @01:37AM (#16256041) Homepage
    Most confusing /. story blurb evar.

    • Most confusing /. story blurb evar.

      I'm sure that's not an easy thing to do given Slashdot's high standards. Usually, the confusion is often just bafflement over why it was posted in the first place.

      Also, I've ignored Roland so long that I didn't realize he's posting for ZDNet now. I lost hope for Slashdot's editorial staff, I guess I really can't count on ZD to keep the riffraff editors away from them either.
    • Re:Wha? (Score:5, Informative)

      by b0r1s ( 170449 ) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @02:26AM (#16256223) Homepage
      Definitely above the average story, but should be within the grasp of many.

      I was only confused until I realized that the Pentagon in the heading was the shape, not the structure/organization. Then it all made much, much more sense.
      • Re:Wha? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @02:50AM (#16256319) Homepage Journal

        Indeed, neat story, terrible Slashdot writeup. If they had said: A Buckyegg Breaks the "Adjacent Pentagon Rule", it would have been much less confusing.

        And I couldn't figure out what the heck world cup soccer had to do with buckyballs until I read the fine article, either.

        Sometimes, I think the editors post these things just to make people so thoroughly confused that they'll click the article. Makes me wonder if they get a kickback from ads on the article page or something. :-D

        • by b0r1s ( 170449 )
          No, it seems much more likely that the editor didn't fully understand it, so they didn't try to edit the incredibly confusing intro text.
        • Re:Wha? (Score:4, Funny)

          by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Saturday September 30, 2006 @07:15AM (#16257147) Homepage Journal
          OMG, what a nightmarish thought! A second Potomac Puzzle Palace, adjacent the first?
          That much bureaucratic inertia could slow Earth's rotation and really tear up the weather.
        • Indeed, neat story, terrible Slashdot writeup. If they had said: A Buckyegg Breaks the "Adjacent Pentagon Rule", it would have been much less confusing.
          Yes. As is, I saw the headline and thought "Pentagon" meant the Dept of Defense. Nothing in the summary suggested otherwise.
      • I was only confused until I realized that the Pentagon in the heading was the shape, not the structure/organization. Then it all made much, much more sense.
        Me too. Isn't It Great How Headings Are Capitalized in the English Language?-)
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Thank God I'm not the only one... I thought it was that pot...
    • No, it's about on par for pisspaille.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30, 2006 @01:37AM (#16256043)
    Leads to Rolands blog. He's whoring it again. Don't give him your clickthroughs.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Weird, timothy didn't post the story for him this time.
    • Not to mention the fact that there is a photo in the first link...identical to the one that Roland advertises in the second link.

      - RG>
    • by Duncan3 ( 10537 )
      To be fair, all /. links require bouncing through the sponsor's blog posting first.

      Sometimes two or even three of them.

      The days of linking directly to the actual source article are gone.

  • by thisnow1 ( 882441 ) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @01:41AM (#16256065)
    I've been replaying SimCity 2000 lately and that reads like one of the crazy ad-libbed thrown together random newspaper articles, but not quite as coherent.
  • I feel so dump (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pembo13 ( 770295 ) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @01:41AM (#16256067) Homepage
    What field of science do I have study for how long to understand that summary?
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by pembo13 ( 770295 )
      To dumb to spell properly too it seems.
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      Chemistry, and high school is more than enough. We studied fullerenes in the first year of senior high school.Its not that hard.
      I thought hackers and nerds were reknowned for their thirst for knowledge; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fullerenes [wikipedia.org]
      C'mon; you couldn't even be bothered to look it up in wikipedia?
    • by ABoerma ( 941672 )
      You might have started by paying attention in your chemistry classes at secondary school. Really, it's not that hard.
      • by Nutria ( 679911 )
        You might have started by paying attention in your chemistry classes at secondary school.

        Unless you graduated University before Fullerenes were discovered.


    • by maxume ( 22995 )
    • No, no, no - you're going at it all wrong.

      All you have to do is balance the positive and negative energies in yourself so that you stop felling the need to understand the summary.
    • Well, where I currently go to school, you just need a decent memory and high school chem. Buckyballs were mentioned in my chem class last year...though very briefly.
  • Nice... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MustardMan ( 52102 ) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @01:42AM (#16256071)
    Way to throw out a completely misleading headline there, Roland. "Pentagon Rules" makes it sound like some sort of government security issue. Add that to the barely intelligible article summary and we've got another bang-up article by the Pipsqueak blogger. At least he's back to linking his own shitty blog articles again, so we're further justified calling him out for his blatant slashvertisments. Zonk, either stop approving this shit, or give us a separate category for articles from Roland so we can remove them from our fucking front pages. Forget the stupid ajaxified comment system, I want to be able to filter articles based on submittor.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by fozzy1015 ( 264592 )
      Fullerenes, sometimes called "buckyballs," are usually spherical molecules of carbon, named after the futurist R. Buckminster Fuller, inventor of the geodesic dome. The carbon atoms are arranged in pentagons and hexagons, so their structures can resemble a soccer ball. An important rule -- until now -- is that no two pentagons can touch, but are always surrounded by hexagons.

      More interested about their experiements to put certain metals in buckyeyes for medical scanning. So is the idea of putting radioacti
      • Something like that it seems, but I understood that fullerenes are not too healthy for you either, although nothing is mentioned about that here. Still, my guess is that an egg-shaped buckyball would be less stable than a sphere-shaped one and thus more easily react with other compounds.
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by headkase ( 533448 )
      You know, I read the article without noticing that it was yet another Roland article. At least I didn't go to his 'blog. And now after reading your comment I don't even feel like talking about the article anymore. Yay, fun times on /. . Your +5 Insightful is a community arrived at fsck you to Zonk despite his apparent lack of caring. Oh well I'm going to go browse somewhere else for a while.
    • Even for Roland the Plogger, this is lame. Does he pay Slashdot to let him through, or what?

    • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
      And? Had you read the summary it'd be clear to you we're talking about chemistry and that the pentagon rule obviously refers to the pentagons that appear in fullerenes. Even if you've never seen a fullerene there's the reference to the old football layout.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I have a present for you, I've written a greasemonkey [mozdev.org] script that removes Roland Piquepaille articles from Slashdot. It could probably be used as an Opera userscript, as well, if you don't use Firefox. The first block of code removes section styles, so you don't have to deal with those awful color schemes. But you can just clip that part out if it's not your style.

      // ==UserScript==
      // @name Slashdot Script
      // @namespace None
      // @description None
      // @include http://.slashdot.org/*
      // @include http:/

  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @01:43AM (#16256079)
    .... when coming across the name of the scientist - Mrs Beavers? The jokes are endless. :)
    • .... when coming across the name of the scientist - Mrs Beavers? The jokes are endless. :)

      Hey, leave Beavers alone, they are Canada's national animal. Though not sure what that means now? :)
  • Don't tell the Pentagon, or those science guys will be in Guantanamo!
  • My understanding... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Toba82 ( 871257 ) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @01:45AM (#16256093) Homepage
    IANAOC (I am not an organic chemist), but the way I see it, previous buckyball compounds needed to have the soccer ball shape because of the number of free electrons in the molecular bond didn't allow the adjacent pentagon structure to exist. Is it possible that the shell may not have a neutral charge? The molecule within could compensate and that might allow this 'impossible' set of bonds to work.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      using acronyms doesn't help if you have to explain what it means
    • by itwerx ( 165526 )
      Is it possible that the shell may not have a neutral charge?

      Certainly possible (IANAOC either) but I'm actually thinking this could also have implications for string theory (a horrible misnomer IMNSHO) if there is no charge as the deformation could then only be explained by the chemically uninvolved contents of the Bucky-egg.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by zrobotics ( 760688 )
      I recently took college chem, and if I recall correctly, 'Buckyballs' can actually be made into tubes, which have been used in some nanotech applications. Geometrically, if you were to take a soccer ball/buckyball, cut it in half along the seams, and then add in alternating rows of hexagons and pentagons, it forms a tube with hemispherical ends. It's hard to explain, but here's a link: http://www.azom.com/details.asp?ArticleID=1295 (sorry, no html).

      Considering the shape of these tubes, I wonder why an egg-s
      • by BKX ( 5066 )
        For future reference, HTML links are easy as balls to write and remember. You just toss in an anchor tag which looks like this (write this down):

        Shit that isn't a link. <a href="http://www.whateverthefuck.com/buttfuck/your ass.html">Link Text Goes Here.</a> More shit that isn't a link.

        Which will look like this on the page (but in the normal font):

        Shit that isn't a link. Link Text Goes Here. [whateverthefuck.com] More shit that isn't a link.

        See? Now wasn't that easy? In fact, wasn't that less extra typing than your la
    • by Anonymous Coward
      i refuse to give roland any clickthroughs and thus didn't read the story but i do large molecule chemical research for a living so i have an idea what's going on here. you are on-target, any disparity in symmetry of a buckyball will cause odd strains to occur in the lattice which will surely cause a correspondingly non-symmetrical charge distribution on the molecule surface. the resulting charge separation may not qualify according to the classical definition of a 'polar molecule' but a dipole would be ob
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by IainMH ( 176964 )
      I don't think it's anything to do with charge. Each intersection of the picture of the molecule represents a carbon atom. Even when you break the isolated pentagon rule, each carbon atom is still only connected to 3 other carbon atoms - just like in graphite.

      It's more to do with the angles those bonds are forced to take on by the structure. Having the other elements within the cage will allow different angles to occur.

      Also, I think it's more likely that the chemists involved are inorganic. :-) Fullerene
      • "Also, I think it's more likely that the chemists involved are inorganic."

        Non carbon based-chemists? linky plz!
      • Yes, IAAOC (I am an organic chemist - or at least a graduate student in organic chemistry at a major research university).

        Charge is not determined merely by the number of bonds/bonded atoms but by the number of lone electrons.

        Sure, carbon typically makes four bonds (e.g. methane [CH4] and carbon dioxide [O=C=O]), but uncharged carbon species exist with fewer bonds. For example, carbon radicals, such as the STABLE triphenylmethyl radical (see, e.g., http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/295/556 1/1846 [sciencemag.org]
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by ChemGrrl ( 1007879 )
          Hi All, This is Christine Beavers... ya know the Mrs. Beavers. The molecule is overall uncharged. The terbuim atoms each carry a 3+, the nitride is a -3, and the fullerene cage itself carries a 6-. I don't endorse the blog, because it does misstate some things, and it is an opinion at the end. Not to mention the copyright infringement of stealing the JACS image, not the one I gave to UCD news.... hmmm I feel compromised... well I sure didn't ask him to write about my paper.
          • by jfengel ( 409917 )
            It's not often we get the actual author here on Slashdot to explain the paper. We usually don't get it until it's been from the scientist to the press-release-writer to the newspaper writer/blogger to the Slashdot summary writer. The actual significance of the paper is often lost along the way (usually as some minor aspect is exaggerated so that the thing seems more earth-shaking).

            So any clarifications straight from the horse's mouth would be greatly appreciated.
            • Its really interesting to see that my little JACS communication has grown up. It is not the first example of the Isolated Pentagon rule(IPR) being broken. It isn't even the first crystal structure of a NonIPR fullerene- the first was done by my boss, Marilyn Olmstead, in 2003. The significance was that C84 has been studied, and characterized many times by x-ray crystallography. That a NonIPR cage structure emerged when an IPR cage was predicted was the suprise. That this isomer was made in larger quantitie
              • by jfengel ( 409917 )
                So do these interactions drive the formation of the fullerene or are they just an interesting outcome?

                How will you go about finding out?
                • hehehe, thats one thing we haven't decided on yet. We would have to watch the reaction- and that is something that may be very tricky. I also shouldn't say much, lest we get scooped. But it would involve peeking into the plasma, and seeing what is there with the metals, and what is otherwise.

                  Time will tell. But thanks for the question!
  • Bob Woodward is coming out with a new book about the Bush Administration, so the Pentagon is laying rotten eggs for everyone to see? No wonder there's so much swamp gas in Washington.
  • by thewils ( 463314 ) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @01:45AM (#16256099) Journal
    You could give it to the Kiwis to play with ;)
  • Munchies (Score:3, Funny)

    by yellekc ( 819322 ) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @01:49AM (#16256109)
    Anyone one else hungry for the worlds smallest omelet?
  • Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by ZSpade ( 812879 ) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @01:58AM (#16256141) Homepage
    Now that the drive is well underway, how long till they finish the Heart of Gold?
  • nano tubes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Blighten ( 992637 ) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @02:12AM (#16256191) Homepage
    This is actually a pretty interesting break-through, given that carbon nano-tubes (the discovery of bucky balls lead to the formations of them) are somewhat limited in their capabilities to form certain angles. I'm wondering how stable these 'deformations' are in accord to the whole system... as bucky balls are very stable.
  • by Deflatamouse! ( 132424 ) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @02:27AM (#16256225) Homepage Journal
    But this time we know the egg definitely came first!
  • Direct link to story (Score:5, Informative)

    by Yetihehe ( 971185 ) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @02:34AM (#16256249)
  • Just so you know, no I didn't RTFA. Oh ya, and I can't guarantee anybody will understand this (even the people that know what buckyballs are) since I'm by no means a chemist, physicist, etc, and therefore there is a good chance I haven't got a clue what I'm talking about... you have been warned...

    Am I one of the few that at least sorta understood?

    Just myself being a nerd and having one day randomly stumbled upon "Buckyballs" (Buckminsterfullerene [wikipedia.org] - and this was actually before Wikipedia). If I remember

  • If they were such great "laws" then I guess they aren't really laws if they were broken and thus been proven wrong eh? ;)
    I think they'd be better off calling them "hypothesis" or "theories" then since they obviously aren't "laws"... :P
    • by Aussie ( 10167 )
      Maybe they are more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.
    • by tenco ( 773732 )
      Hey, it's chemistry! What do you expect?
    • There are lots of definitions of the word "law", such as #12 here [bartleby.com]:
      a. A statement describing a relationship observed to be invariable between or among phenomena for all cases in which the specified conditions are met: the law of gravity.
      b. A generalization based on consistent experience or results: the law of supply and demand.
  • ...Basically, the unholy trifecta which sucked the soul out of the original discovery made here. Bravo Slashdot, bravo.
  • I find it funny that this unexpected and unpredicted result came from experiments attempting to find more predictable ways of making fullerenes.
  • article link & text (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.las so?id=7891 [ucdavis.edu]

    E-mail this story
    Printable version
    Improbable "Buckyegg" Hatched

    September 28, 2006
    graphic: purple and blue balls inside an egg-shaped structure
    Buckyegg (Christine Beavers/graphic)

    An egg-shaped fullerene, or "buckyball egg" has been made and characterized by chemists at UC Davis, Virginia Tech and Emory and Henry College, Va. The unexpected discovery opens new possibilities for structures for
  • How stable is this? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pimpimpim ( 811140 ) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @06:33AM (#16257029)
    It looks like there's a lot of internal energy in such a system, especially when there is something inside. Couldn't you do some neat energy tricks with this?
    • If you trap a metallic molecule inside, maybe it'll bounce around inside the cage and generate a miniscule magnetic field?

      Aside from that, well, the point of carbon bonds is that they're stable, yeah? So it's like asking if you can do a lot of tricks with a rock laying on the ground. The answer is, "not so many."

      Unless it's a pet rock, in which case it can "stay!" pretty good.
  • http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?t=48 [sciforums.com] dated 11-22-00, 10:15 PM. Just Google for 'buckyballs Breaks Pentagon Rules' ... ;-]

    Funny thing is that searching Google News for 'buckyballs Breaks Pentagon Rules' has the link http://blogs.zdnet.com/emergingtech/?p=368 [zdnet.com] (Slashdotted?) mentioned in the article as its one and only result.

  • TFA: The experiment was actually part of a project to find new, more predictable ways to make fullerenes

    ...and then this happens. Back to the drawing-board, guys!

    I guess that's the nature of science, though - it's the surprises that are most interesting.
  • > west
    You have entered the laboratory.
    > look
    There is an image of the buckyegg here.
    There is a door to the east.
    > _
  • ..is hard to put in words.

    First you have a very informative title, which got me wondering what kind of assasin/agent/geek would call himself buckyballs and annoy the Pentagon.
    Then I got hit by this Jewel:

    Chemists from Virginia and California have cooked a soup of fullerenes which produced an improbable buckyegg.
    and I felt like a new man. There's a name for this kind of catch-phrase whoring, I just can't remember it right now.

    Then I realised it wasn't over yet. submitter was just getting warmed up. Fifa, eg
  • I don't want any nano molecule cages floating around in my blood stream. Cancer could only get worse with wierd stuff like this in medical use, right?
    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )
      You're right. In fact, you should cleanse yourself of all the weird nano-cages floating around in your blood stream. Like hemoglobin, for instance.
  • No offense to PHDs involved, but wouldn't the eggs be very useful because of their inherent lack of symmetry, similarly to how water is useful because one side is very electro-negative? Depending on the properties of the contained metal, I imagine the eggs would produce very similar effects.
  • by boyfaceddog ( 788041 ) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @02:55PM (#16259861) Journal
    "pentagon rules" are rules made by the Pentagon and miscapitalized.
    "pentagon rule" is a rule about pentagon shapes.

    "Editor" is a person who knows the difference.
  • by dthree ( 458263 )
    What does this have to do with FIFA?
    • by Acer500 ( 846698 )
      The buckyballs look very much like an official soccer ball, hence the reference to FIFA (the official body regulating soccer).
  • Scientists should have to read the Necronomicon before they start tampering with this kind of stuff.
  • So the question I would pose is: Is this just a scientific interest, or is a buckyball/buckyegg that doesn't following the pentagonal rules more useful (easier to produce, different/useful properties, etc) in some way than the regular variety of buckyball?

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