Science

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Photography Science

A Minimal Photographic Series Visualizes the Seven Base Quantities of Physics

July 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

Mass. All images © Greg White, shared with permission

In his series Base Quantities, London-based photographer Greg White elucidates the abstract and fundamental concepts of physics. His minimal, graphic images document all seven components (i.e. mass, electric current, temperature, length, luminous intensity, amount of substance, and time) of the arbitrarily defined system used in measuring physical properties. Vividly composed, the visuals include a radiant electric current flowing in a coil, the tonal spectrum of thermodynamic temperature, and a trio of illuminated beams conveying length.

White tells Colossal that the series was born out of a desire to experiment with photographic techniques in a playful, accurate way and is inspired by Berenice Abbot, who dedicated much of her practice to presenting complex scientific principles to the public in a simple and accessible manner.  “Researching within the realms of science it quickly became apparent that everything has rules and quantities and so I chose to visualize the quantities. Rules might be next,” he shares. Each representation is derived entirely in-camera, a process he describes:

I wanted the images to only show something through a technique, so for instance without the motion of an object it would appear completely different or without the strobe again it would be different and not be representational of the concept.  A lot of the techniques involved (the) motion of an object captured over a long exposure. Some additionally have a strobe effect during the long exposure, others use multiple exposures while shifting the lens for instance, or simply incorporating simple props/fx to distort or reveal a notion.

Alongside experimental projects like Base Quantities, White works on a variety of commissions and commercial projects, which you can explore on his site and Instagram. (via Iain Claridge)

 

Electric current

Temperature

Length

Luminous intensity

Amount of substance

Time

 

 



Photography Science

A Scrupulous Blue Tit Perfects Her Nest and Lays Her First Egg in a 46-Day Timelapse Recorded Inside the Roost

July 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

It turns out that blue tits are just like us: finicky about their living quarters. Captured with a camera mounted in a box near the town of Loughborough in the U.K., a highlight reel follows one of the birds as she establishes her roost with extreme care. Although female blue tits tend to build their nests alone during the course of a week or two, this particular creature spends nearly seven weeks perfecting hers. We see her initially peck the prospective home’s walls, remove her first bit of grass in favor of new material, and constantly adjust her growing roost. Soon after she finishes construction, she lays her first egg in the upper left corner.

There’s an entire YouTube channel devoted to the new family, and you can watch the chicks hatching and leaving the nest. (via PetaPixel)

 

 

 



Design Science

A Gleaming Series of USPS Stamps Features a Decade of the Sun's Phenomena

June 25, 2021

Grace Ebert

NASA and the USPS have teamed up to release a glimmering series of stamps that celebrates some of the sun’s most alluring phenomena. Printed with a foil treatment, the ten designs are derived from a decade’s worth of images captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, which launched in February of 2010 as a way to monitor the star’s activity in a geosynchronous orbit above Earth. NASA colorized the phenomena, which are otherwise imperceptible to the human eye, for the collection to create saturated, colorful renditions that accentuate the unique qualities of coronal holes, solar flares, and plasma blasts.

Watch the video below to dive into the colorizing process and read more about the science behind each stamp on NASA’s site. Sheets of 20 are available from USPS.

 

 

 



Art Design Science

Metallic Specimens by Dr. Allan Drummond Perfectly Replicate Prehistoric and Modern Insects in Bronze and Silver

June 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Thorn,” bronze and sterling silver, approximately 4 x 2 x 3 inches. All images © Allan Drummond, shared with permission

Dr. Allan Drummond works at the intersection of art, design, and science with his metallic replicas of wide-eyed spiders, ants, and other winged insects. He buoys his research in the departments of Medicine and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago into a creative practice that casts biologically realistic specimens with a focus on anatomical elements of prehistoric organisms most likely to be lost in the fossil record, including underbellies.

Each creature starts with a digital rendering created in Blender that’s 3D-printed in individual pieces—you can see examples of these initial models on Instagram. Drummond then casts the replica in bronze or silver with the help of jewelry designers in his current city of Chicago and later assembles and finishes the metallic components, which results in a meticulous copy of the actual insect whether life-sized or enlarged to magnify its features.

In a note to Colossal, he writes that the body of work shown here utilizes more advanced techniques than his previous models and came together with the help of two mentors, sculptor Jessica Joslin and the jewelry designer Heather Oleari. “Feeling the pieces for the thorn bug snap together in my hands—a total rush—was less a relief from stress and more a confirmation that, at least when it comes to building giant metal arthropods, I know what I’m doing,” he says.

If you’re in Seattle, head to Roq La Rue Gallery before July 3 to see Drummond’s exacting metal insects in person, and dive deeper into his process on Instagram.

 

“Proudhopper (Dictyopharidae),” bronze and sterling silver, approximately 5 x 3 x 3.5 inches

“Naphrys,” bronze and black glass, approximately 10 x 14 x 2 inches

“Naphrys,” bronze and black glass, approximately 10 x 14 x 2 inches

“Semibalanus,” bronze, steel, and silver, approximately 4.5 x 4 x 3.5 inches

Detail of “Semibalanus,” bronze, steel, and silver, approximately 4.5 x 4 x 3.5 inches

“Thorn,” bronze and sterling silver, approximately 4 x 2 x 3 inches

“Proudhopper (Dictyopharidae),” bronze and sterling silver, approximately 5 x 3 x 3.5 inches

“Bellacartwrightia,” sterling silver and patina, 5.5 x 4 inches

“Farm To Table,” bronze ant, sterling silver aphid with black glass, two-carat cubic zirconia, approximately 9 x 5 x 2.5 inches

 

 



Photography Science

Fantastic Macro Photos Reveal the Microscopic World of Mushrooms and Slime Molds

May 10, 2021

Grace Ebert

Lachnum virgineum. All images © Alison Pollack, shared with permission

Alison Pollack’s preferred subjects are the tiny, inconspicuous organisms that are difficult to spot without a trained eye and microscope. The California-based photographer documents the minuscule fungi that spring from leaves and bits of bark with an extreme macro lens, exposing the rarely visible iridescent speckles, pockmarks, and feathered tissues that cover their fruiting bodies. “My goal is to reveal to people tiny mushrooms and slime molds that they might otherwise never see, or may never even have heard of,” she tells Colossal. “And also to reveal the beautiful intricate detail in these organisms.”

Although her earlier images captured the fleshy fungi in spectacular detail, Pollack has spent the last two years getting even closer to her subjects—which are often less than a millimeter tall—by using a microscope lens that magnifies her findings up to 20 times their actual size. The resulting images document even the smallest features, like individual spores, the veiny web structure encasing them, and the distinct texture and color of each organism.

Find Pollack on Instagram and Facebook to see what she spots next and to order prints of her photos. You also might enjoy this documentary about the vast underground network of mycelium that’s tied to all life on Earth.

 

Physarum album

Didymium. All images © Alison Pollack, shared with permission

Top left: Badhamia utricularis. Top right: Typhula on a decomposing leaf. Bottom left: Polycephalomyces tomentosus on Trichia botrytis. Bottom right: Candlesnuff fungus (Xylaria hypoxylon)

Eyelash Cup Fungus (Scutellinia)

Top: Pilobolus. Bottom left: Comatricha. Bottom right: Badhamia utricularis on Stereum

Arcyria pomiformis

Left: Mycena acicula. Right: Lamproderma

Cribraria cancellata

 

 



Photography Science

A New Timelapse Tool Reveals How Much Humans Have Altered Earth's Landscape Since 1984

April 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

Venture back to the sights of 1984 with Google Earth’s new timelapse tool. Released just in time for Earth Day, the addition reveals our collective mark on the planet during the last three decades and provides visual evidence of urban sprawl and the devastating effects of deforestation, mining, and agricultural growth in both 2- and 3-D. For those interested in checking out some of the most profoundly impacted areas, Google released a curated selection of videos that are categorized by theme and location, from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Jirau Dam, Brazil to the Tucker And Whitehall Glaciers in Antarctica. (via Uncrate)