PHOTOS: Scientists Picture ‘Olympic Molecule’ To Honour London 2012

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PHOTOS: Scientists Picture ‘Olympic Molecule’ To Honour London 2012

Official Olympic branding is so ubiquitous it seems as if every possible product – from phones to TVs – has a London 2012 counterpart.

Now you can add molecules to that list.

Researchers at IBM and the University of Warwick have created and photographed a new molecule designed to resemble, and celebrate, the London 2012 Olympics.

Named Olympicene, obviously, the molecule features five interconnected rings just like the official Olympic symbol.

Just a billionth of a metre in width – Usain Bolt will have to cover the equivalent of 100bn of them in under 10 seconds to win a gold medal – the molecule was specifically created to celebrate the games.

Professor Sir Graham Richards, a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) council, told the BBC that he sketched out the molecule before realising it would be a way to mark the occasion of the games.

“I was in a committee meeting of the Royal Society of Chemistry where we were trying to think of what we could do to mark the Olympics,” he told BBC News.

“It occurred to me that the molecule that I had drawn looked very much like the Olympic rings.

University of Warwick researchers made the molecule, and used ‘non-contact atomic force microscopy’ – a type of photography which allows imaging of individual molecules – to picture the ringed structure.

Richards admits the molecule has a “commercial” use, but said he hoped the Olympics could be used to harness interest in science as well as sport.

“Molecules of this nature could conceivably have commercial use, but my own feeling is that above all we want to excite an interest in chemistry provoked by the link with the Olympics,” he told the BBC.

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