Cell Biology by the Numbers

by Ron Milo and Rob Phillips

- it’s already available online as a web book—though there’s no license specified. The
`robots.txt`

is permissive.- Unfortunately, the typography on the web book is… not great. I suppose I could improve that, too!

- I’m feeling somewhat uncomfortable about this text because it really is just so
*numerical*. I’m confident that a memory system would really deepen one’s engagement with this text, but I worry that it’s not the best way to demonstrate what I’m trying to do. - The numbers are just overwhelming. There are so many. It’s an interesting problem to attack, but I think I’d need to do something special to handle all the numbers:
- Extremely data-dense texts need a different mnemonic medium design
- sequence them over time rather than throwing them all at once
- possibly adding mnemonics
- creating question groups to ensure that related questions aren’t presented back-to-back

- I worry also that my own interest in this material may not be quite strong enough.

From » Order-of-Magnitude Biology Toolkit

2^{10} $\approx$ {1000}

2^{20} $\approx$ {10^6}

e^{7} $\approx$ {10^3}

10^{0.1} $\approx$ {1.3}

sqrt(0.5) $\approx$ {0.7}

ln({10}) $\approx$ $2.3$

ln({2}) $\approx$ $0.7$

log_10({2}) $\approx$ {0.3}

log_10({3}) $\approx$ {0.5}

{seconds in a year} (time frequency mnemonic) $\approx$ {$pi \times$ 10^7}

{seconds in a day} (time frequency mnemonic) $\approx$ 10^{5}

{hours in a year} (time frequency mnemonic) $\approx$ 10^{4}

{Avogadro’s constant} $\approx$ {$6 \times$ 10^23}

{cells in the human body} $\approx$ {$4 \times$ 10^13}

{1 Dalton} = 1 {g/mol} $\approx$ {$1.7 \times$ 10^-24} g

Density of {air} $\approx$ {1} kg/m^3

Density of {water} $\approx$ {1000}x density of air = {1000} kg/m^3

Base pair volume $\approx$ {1 nm^3}