Reth compares an antibody on the surface of a lymphocyte to a walk in the park. If an antibody were the size of a human, the surface of a lymphocyte would be three times larger than Central Park (or the same size as the Otter Creek Park in Louisville, KY). A textbook shows the antibody to be the equivalent of the size of the Empire State building on an Upper Manhattan-sized lymphocyte, writes Reth. His walk-in-the-park metaphor for proteins is a lovely way to imagine tiny proteins on the vast cell surface, searching for receptors, or forming micro-clusters.
What do elephants have to do with cell biologists? Old grandmother elephants "maintain the cultural knowledge of their tribes," writes Eva Marder, professor at Brandeis University, in eLife. Marder takes note the vital roles that grandmother elephants play and reminds young scientists to think about "how we came to know what we know." She reminds readers that early scientists used simple experiments to answer tough questions, and emerging complex technologies might lead to "fuzzy thinking" and science that will fade from cultural consciousness. Like elephants, scientists should never forget that great science can be done with limited technology and clear thinking.