Researchers at the University of Basel and University College London have created a scale capable of measuring life. The scale, which measures the mass of individual cells, allows them to "monitor the evolution of their weight over time … with a resolution of a few milliseconds and a few billion grams."
This means that they can weigh a cell at the moment it dies, definitely finding the mass of life.
The cells, which usually weigh about two to three nanograms, are weighed under controlled conditions in a cell culture chamber. The weighing arm, a tiny, thin, transparent silicon cantilever covered with collagen or fibronectin, is lowered to the floor of the chamber, where it grows and picks up a cell. "The cell is hanging underneath a tiny cantilever for measurements," says Gotthold Fläschner, a PhD student, who co-invented and conducted most of the experiments using the new scale.
This system allowed researchers Christoph Gerber, Jason Mercer and Sascha Martin to see that the cells exhibit weight fluctuations from one second to the next in life, but these fluctuations cease when they are not in use. they die. In short, they can measure the weight of life pulsing in a cell.
"We have established that living cell weight fluctuates continuously by about one to four percent by regulating their total weight," Martínez-Martín said. "We see things that no one else has seen yet."
To be clear, this can not weigh a human before or after death. To do this, you need Sean Penn and Naomi Watts.