A JAPANESE researcher has used thousands of strands of spider silk to spin a set of violin strings. The strings are said to have a “soft and profound timbre” relative to traditional gut or steel strings. That may arise from the way the strings are twisted, resulting in a “packing structure” that leaves practically no space between any of the strands. The strings will be described in a forthcoming edition of the journal Physical Review Letters. Shigeyoshi Osaki of Japan’s Nara Medical University has been interested in the mechanical properties of spider silk for a number of years.        –BBC