August 16, 2007 Issue

Physics To Go 31 - Oil tanker/cell

« Previous issue         Issue Archive         Next issue »

Physics in Your World

Oil Tanker Size image
photo credit: Auke Visser's International Super Tankers

Oil Tanker Size

This image (hi-res version) shows what was formally the world's largest supertanker. Tankers are built so large mostly because as they get bigger, their volume increases faster than their surface area. To learn more, visit Oil tankers.

Interestingly, the same geometry limits the maximum size of cells--for more, see Cells: Surface-Volume.

Login to Comment on this Item

Physics at Home

Distorted Room

Check out the Exploratorium's Distorted Room. You can build a model of this room with this Exploratorium activity.


From Physics Research

Precious Bodily Fluids image
image credit: Emad Tajkhorshid and Klaus Schulten, Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group, Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; image source

Precious Bodily Fluids

This computer-generated image (hi-res version) shows a cross-section of a cell wall, with the inside of the cell below and the aqueous environment above. Theoretical biophysicists used a supercomputer to show how the aquaporin protein molecule forms channels that pass water molecules--the small blue "V"s--into the cell, but block protons (not shown). To find out more, see Precious Bodily Fluids.

Worth a Look

Careers Using Physics

What can you do with a bachelor's degree in physics? To find out, visit these sites:

This feature was updated on July 6, 2009.

Recent Submissions