Speaker: Pupa Gilbert (UW, Madison) Radcliffe Fellow, Harvard University
Abstract: Organisms harness mineral chemistry and physics to form biominerals for their evolutionary advantage. How they do it is the question here. 20-nm resolution data reveal 3 distinct mineral phases in forming sea urchin spicules. We observe the same sequence of phases and phase transitions in space, in time, in energy. This sequence may explain how crystalline skeletal elements manage to grow faster and larger than geologic or synthetic crystals.