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Moment of truth
The word 'nanotechnology' is first coined by University of Tokyo researcher Norio Taniguchi back in 1974.


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BST Food Sci.
Abbreviation for bovine somatotropin. Commonly referred to as growth hormone. It is produced in the pituitary glands of cattle. Used by farmers to stimulate metabolic functions related to growth and milk production in cattle.

bubble chamber Phys.
A device that is used for the detection of charged particles or radiations. It mainly consists of a sealed chamber that contains a superheated or liquified gas such as hydrogen. When ions pass through the superheated liquid they act as nuclei on which bubbles form and rapidly grow in size. The tracks of ions can then be traced and photographed. The device was invented by Donald Glaser in 1951.

bubonic plague Med.
A disease caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. It was the most common form of black death. Characteristics symptoms are enlarged and inflamed lymph nodes (buboes) and hence the term bubonic. Other symptoms include headaches, nausea, high fever and vomiting. Symptoms take 1-7 days to appear. The disease may advance and infect lung and give the pneumonic form.

buffer solution Chem.
A solution that does not significantly change the pH when a small amount of acid or alkali is added. For instance, a mixture of ethanoic acid and sodium ethanoate solution is a buffer solution with constant pH value between 4 and 7, depends on the proportion mixture. The presence of the ethanoic acid and the ethanoate ions act as a reservoir to remove any acid or alkali added. Such buffer solution is called a weak acid buffer because ethanoic acid (a weak acid) is only partially ionized:

For example, adding an acid will move the reaction to the left in order to remove the excess acids added, thus the pH remains constant. Large excess of the ethanoate ions ensures the buffer solution can cope with the addition of the acid.

bufotoxin Biol., Tox.
The poisonous compound produced by cane toads (Bufo marinus) which the toads secrete or 'shoot' in the form of white viscous venom when attacked. The toxin can cause skin irritation in humans and temperory paralysis or even death in some small mammals and predators.

bulimia Med.
An eating disorder condition develops from an obsessive desire to be thin. However, the condition can also develop from psychological disorder due to abuse or traumatic and painful relationship and depression. The patient usually alternates between large amount of food consumption (bingeing) and destructive purging (self-induced vomiting or abuse use of laxatives and diuretics), or periods of excessive fasting and compulsive exercising. In long term, the condition can lead to rupture of stamach and esophagus, damaged kidneys, irregular heart beat, and eroding teeth, due to repeated exposure to acidic gastric content when vomit.

buoyant force Phys.
A force that directs in opposite direction to Earth's gravity and acting on all bodies submerge in a liquid or gas. The force is due to the pressure difference on the upper and lower face of the body. For example, since fluid pressure increases with depth, the pressure acting on a lower part of the body under a liquid is greater than that acting on the upper part of the body. The net effect is an uplifting force exerts on the body. See also Archimedes' principle.

butter of zinc Chem.
A common name for zinc chloride in olden days due to its white waxy, or oily appearance.

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