Word Archaeology: electrophoresis

This word, first used circa 1911, refers to moving suspended particles through a medium (such as a liquid) by touching the medium with electrodes. Derived from the Greek word for “to bear electrons”, it is called cataphoresis when it moves positively charged particles and anaphoresis when it moves negatively charged particles. The electrokinetic phenomenon was reportedly observed first in 1807 by professors at Moscow University who saw clay particles migrating in water when an electric field was applied. The technique is now often used for analysis of DNA, RNA, and protein analysis.

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Wes Platt

Lead storyteller. Game designer and journalist. Recovering Floridian.

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