Friday, 17 January 2014

Beam team member down......

This beam run is missing one of our splendid colleagues....Pete Larson. He is a casualty of the cruel cold snap that chilled the whole of North America to the bone with a blast from the Arctic. He was simply walking outside his humble abode when he slipped on a patch of ice...and Sir Isaac Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation was painfully put to the test. The distal end of Pete's right leg went one way and his body mass the other....the torsion in the lower limb was too much for his fibula to bear. Thankfully, Pete's bone did not emulate the injury that is beautifully fossilised in gruesome detail from a rather poor Gorgosaurus that had a vile compound fracture in its right fibula...with the distal end of the bone so snapped it would have clearly poked through the poor dinosaurs skin (I am talking about the Gorgosaur here and not Pete!). Pete has required steel pins to hold his distal fibula and ankle together (see image below)....the Gorgosaurus had to bear its weight upon the cruel trauma until it healed (in this case...quite badly). It seems that both Gorgosaurus and Pete had/have what it takes to survive and limp to see another day....we look forward to seeing Pete back at the Synchrotron soon! It is worth saying that both the bones of Pete and those of the hapless Gogosaurus can be imaged in all their splendid glory via medical or high-powered x-ray microtomography. If a fracture is 10 minutes or 10's of millions of years old, x-rays can shed light on the original trauma and then bones response to healing...a rather painful experiment for Pete to use for a comparative example!


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