Andy Walsh: Methods Maketh Metaphors

Excellent article by our own @AndyWalsh.


Thanks. I was going to share associated paper here this evening. It’s lengthy, but I would strongly recommend working through it as it is very relevant to a number of conversations here, including whether a flagellum is a motor, whether proteins need to be stable to function, transcriptional “noise”, the role of metaphors in science & science communication, and of course the main question of the paper: Is the cell really a machine?

The paper is paywalled, but the author kindly shared an author-unlocked link on Twitter, so anyone should have access to it. This is the URL from Twitter:

And if that gives you trouble, here is the source Tweet:

My latest paper is out in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, and it’s a big one! An ambitious, 20,000-word examination of the nature of the living cell in light of recent research (spoiler alert: the answer to the title is 'No'!):

— Daniel J. Nicholson (@NicholsonHPBio) June 27, 2019

I found the link to be a little fussy, so it may take some patience. And it seemed to work better for me in Chrome. But it should get you to the full paper, and the paper is definitely worth the effort.


@AndyWalsh, do you see cryo-EM as a technique that will possibly open up investigation to the dynamic nature of individual proteins?

1 Like

It does not seem that way to me, because as I understand it one is still dealing with solid phase samples. But I’ve never done protein structure work, so that should be taken as the assessment of a modestly informed outsider.