Science

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Amazing Photography Science

Photo of a Single Atom Wins Top Prize in Science Photography Contest

February 13, 2018

Christopher Jobson

Image © David Nadlinger / Oxford University

You might need your glasses for this one. Quantum physicist David Nadlinger from the University of Oxford managed to capture an image that would have been impossible only a few years ago: a single atom suspended in an electric field viewable by the naked eye. The amazing shot titled “Single Atom in an Ion Trap” recently won the overall prize in the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) science photo and imaging contest. You can see the atom in the shot above, the tiny speck at the very center.

To be clear, the photo doesn’t capture just the atom, but rather light emitted from it while in an excited state. From the EPSRC:

‘Single Atom in an Ion Trap’, by David Nadlinger, from the University of Oxford, shows the atom held by the fields emanating from the metal electrodes surrounding it. The distance between the small needle tips is about two millimetres.

When illuminated by a laser of the right blue-violet colour the atom absorbs and re-emits light particles sufficiently quickly for an ordinary camera to capture it in a long exposure photograph. The winning picture was taken through a window of the ultra-high vacuum chamber that houses the ion trap.

Laser-cooled atomic ions provide a pristine platform for exploring and harnessing the unique properties of quantum physics. They can serve as extremely accurate clocks and sensors or, as explored by the UK Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub, as building blocks for future quantum computers, which could tackle problems that stymie even today’s largest supercomputers.

“The idea of being able to see a single atom with the naked eye had struck me as a wonderfully direct and visceral bridge between the minuscule quantum world and our macroscopic reality,” shared Nadlinger. “A back-of-the-envelope calculation showed the numbers to be on my side, and when I set off to the lab with camera and tripods one quiet Sunday afternoon, I was rewarded with this particular picture of a small, pale blue dot.”

You can follow more of his discoveries—large and small—on Twitter. (via PetaPixel)

 

 



Design History Science

Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours: a Pre-Photographic Guide for Artists and Naturalists

January 31, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

First published in the pre-photographic age, Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours was the preeminent guide to color and its classification for artists, scientists, naturalists, and anthropologists in the 19th-century. Without an image for reference, the book provided immense handwritten detail describing where each specific shade could be found on an animal, plant, or mineral. Prussian Blue for instance could be located in the beauty spot of a mallard’s wing, on the stamina of a bluish-purple anemone, or in a piece of blue copper ore.

The system of classification was first devised by German mineralogist Abraham Gottlob Werner in the late 18th-century. Shortly after Scottish painter Patrick Syme updated Werner’s guide, matching color swatches and his own list of examples to the provided nomenclature.

The book’s poetic names, such as Arterial Blood Red, Berlin Blue, and Verdigris Green, added flourish to the writings of many researchers, allowing vivid descriptions for prose which had previously been limited to a more elementary color palette. Charles Darwin even used the guide during his voyage to the Madeira, Canary, and Cape Verde islands on the H.M.S. Beagle.

The 1814 book has now been republished by Smithsonian Books as a pocket-sized guide, providing a historic connection to vivid colors found in the field for a future generation of artists, scientists, and curious naturalists. You can preorder the 2018 hardcover for its release date on February 6, 2018.  (via Co.Design)

 

 



Photography Science

Radically Unusual Caterpillars Captured by Photographer Igor Siwanowicz

January 30, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Scientist and photographer Igor Siwanowicz (previously) has made a name for himself documenting the phenomenal range of shapes, colors, and structures of creatures in the natural world. His many images of unique caterpillars include wild variations like feathery blue spikes, curling burnt-orange horns, and long black whiskers. Siwanowicz also works as a neurobiologist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus in Virginia. He shares more than ten years of his photography on photo.net.

 

 



Art Design Science

Precise Metallic Replicas of Ancient Fossils and Cells by Allan Drummond

January 25, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Cell Division

By day, D. Allan Drummond is Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at The University of Chicago, where he runs the Drummond Lab. After hours, his interest in evolution and cellular structure takes a different, tangible form. Drummond constructs exacting replicas of creatures from the deep fossil record, paying specific attention to the detail of their underbellies, which are often obliterated by the passage of time. Drummond shares with Colossal:

So far, as a scientist, I’ve been on a slow journey to the bottom, to the deepest level of detail, from seeking to explain patterns of evolution spanning the tree of life, to probing how cells react to their environment, to tinkering with the pieces and parts of molecules swarming inside those cells. The details go all the way down, remaining absorbing and also consequential, worth knowing about and studying. That sensation of unexpectedly interesting detail is what I try to capture in my sculpture.

Each creature is sculpted digitally by Drummond using scientific references, including specimens from private collections. Next, they are 3D printed in wax, and finally lost-wax cast in bronze and finished by hand. The sculptures are rendered down to the smallest detail, including gills, antennae, legs, and even mitochondria in cell division. Drummond shares his in-progress and completed pieces on Instagram and several works are available for sale on his website as jewelry or decorative artifacts.

Trilobite, Ceraurus Species

Trilobite, Ceraurus Species

Trilobite, Ceraurus Species

Trilobite, Ceraurus Species

Trilobite, Ceraurus Species

Sphinx Moth, Hyles Lineata

Sphinx Moth, Hyles Lineata

Sphinx Moth, Hyles Lineata

Trilobite, Hoplolichas Furcifer, in process

Trilobite, Hoplolichas Furcifer

 

 



Design Science

Papier Machine: A Book of Six Interactive Electronic Paper Toys

January 16, 2018

Christopher Jobson

We’ve seen a wide gamut of paper project books lately, from shadows and cameras to planetariums and architectural models. Joining the DIY library today is Papier Machine, a collection of six interactive electronic paper toys all gathered together within the pages of a book developed by a trio of French designers. The various experiments are silkscreen printed on perforated paper and activated by button cell batteries, conductive silver ink, metal marbles, and other electronic components.

The six included gadgets include a piano “tuned” by hand-drawn graphite zones, a gyroscope, a marble track that plays sounds, a wind sensor, a centrifugal force track, and a tilt switch. Earlier versions of Papier Machine won Audi Talent and Red Dot Design awards, leading way to extra research and development in this final book which just launched on Kickstarter. (via It’s Nice That)

 

 



Photography Science

Breathe: A Stunning Black & White Timelapse of Thunderstorms Across the Central Plains

January 11, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Phoenix-based filmmaker, photographer, and storm chaser Mike Olbinski captures approaching storms around his desert home using high definition video, often posting his works to his Vimeo in 4K. Breathe, one of his latest short films, is the first ever work posted in 8K and features a selection of storms shot in 2017 in either the American central plains or southwest. Watch the video above in high resolution to witness the magnificence of each rolling stormcell gather and disperse throughout a variety of open landscapes.

You can follow along with Olbinski’s storm chasing adventures on his blog, and see more of his timelapse videos and photography on his website.

 

 



Photography Science

Two Biologists Explore the Remote Rainforests of the Ecuadorian Andes to Document Fungi

January 8, 2018

Christopher Jobson

All photos © Danny Newman

Biologists estimate that 3.2 million species of fungi may exist on Earth, and of that only around 120,000 are known to science which leaves potentially millions organisms of left to discover, photograph, and document before it’s too late. The majority of undescribed species live in the tropics where mycologists Danny Newman and Roo Vandegrift have traveled extensively to document fungi in regions threatened by climate change and development.

In 2014, the pair traveled to Reserva Los Cedros, one of the last unlogged watersheds on the western slope of the Andes, where they took all of the photos seen here. The reserve has since been declared open for mining by the Ecuadorian government and the habitat that spawned these unusual mushrooms is slated for destruction. “The identification and description of rare or endemic species from the reserve will help demonstrate the value of these habitats and the importance of their conservation,” shares Newman about the project.

As part of a January residency at the University of Oregon, Newman is now working to sequence the DNA of 350 fungi samples found at Reserva Los Cedros and is seeking support from the public to help fund the project at cost. You can see more photos from their discoveries in Ecuador on Mushroom Observer. Also, do yourself a favor and check out the caterpillar at 0:50 in the video below.