Category: Science

A Remarkable Time Lapse Video of Cell Division in a Frog Egg 

No, this isn’t digital. Filmed by documentary filmmaker Francis Chee, this amazing video captures the microscopic view of a frog egg as it begins to divide from two cells into millions over a period of about 33 hours. It’s astounding to think that each and every one of us started off just like this. (via Sploid)

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A Fold Apart: A NASA Physicist Turned Origami Artist 

In 2001 NASA physicist Robert Lang quit his job to focus on his one true passion: creating original origami designs. With a deep understanding of mathematics and materials, Lang’s folding designs have been incorporated into everything from spacecraft to airbags. His works aren’t limited to functional objects, he’s also produced a wide range of original artworks that have been exhibited around the world. The Great Big Story recently sat down with Lang for this brief interview. (via Uncrate)

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3D-Printed Solar Systems, Moons and Planets for Your Desktop 

The folks over at London-based Little Planet Factory make tiny 3d-printed planets and moons you can sit on your desktop or hold in your hands. Designs include everything from entire solar systems to collections of moons, individual planets, and even science fiction creations like a theoretical terraformed Mars globe. See more in their shop! (via So Super Awesome)

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A Giant Naturally Occurring Ice Circle Appears Briefly in a Washington River 

All photographs © Kaylyn Messer.

This weekend, word spread via Facebook that a large circle of ice was spinning in small river just outside of Seattle. After seeing a quick video of it in her feed, photographer Kaylyn Messer jumped in her car and was fortunate to witness the incredible sight of this gargantuan ice disc as it spun in the current of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River.

“The ice circle was pretty captivating,” Messer shared with Colossal. “You can hear the sound of the river flowing continuously. Sounds from the ice periodically interjected with very small sharp cracks and groans. Overall, it was a quiet experience to stand along the river watching the ice circle rotate.”

Ice circles are a fairly rare phenomenon that occur mostly in North America and Scandinavia in slow moving rivers during the winter. The discs are formed when a large piece of ice breaks off in the river creating an effect called ‘rotational shear’ where the current slowly grinds away at the free-floating chunk until its smoothed into a perfect circle.

Messer shares more photos and videos of the ice disc on her blog.

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Blooms 2: Extraordinary New Strobe-Animated Sculptures by John Edmark 

As artist John Edmark's sculptures wiggle, wobble, and twist before your eyes like some alien creature, it’s hard to believe that what you’re seeing is a real physical object—but we assure you it is, with a bit of trick photography and some heady mathematics thrown in for good measure. Blooms 2 (a year in the making) is the latest collection of wild strobe-animated sculptures that begin life as computer programs written in Python before being 3D printed and set in motion on a table, but the patterns you see are created, in a sense, by nature itself.

“Blooms are based on the same geometry nature uses in many plant forms, including artichokes, sunflowers, and pinecones, all of which share the same underlying mathematical pattern,” Edmark shares with Colossal. He explains in more detail how each sculpture is designed:

Blooms are 3-D printed sculptures designed to animate when spun under a strobe light. Unlike a 3D zoetrope, which animates a sequence of small changes to objects, a bloom animates as a single self-contained sculpture. The bloom’s animation effect is achieved by progressive rotations of the golden ratio, phi (ϕ), the same ratio that nature employs to generate the spiral patterns we see in pinecones and sunflowers. The rotational speed and strobe rate of the bloom are synchronized so that one flash occurs every time the bloom turns 137.5º (the angular version of phi).

While the strobe is necessary to witness the animation when viewing these pieces in person, for the sake of creating this video filmmaker Charlie Nordstrom set the camera to a short shutter speed that freezes individual “frames” of the spinning sculpture.

Many of Edmark’s pieces are now in galleries and permanent museum collections around the world. You can see several of his sculptures right now at the Exploratorium in San Francisco and the Technorama in Winterthur, Switzerland. You can also see some of his first designs in his original Blooms video, and for what it’s worth, we also carry his amazing Helicone sculpture in the Colossal Shop.

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