Science

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Science

Underwater Footage Captures a Graceful Whale Shark Swimming Through the Gulf of Thailand

March 25, 2022

Grace Ebert

Underwater footage from a dive off the coast of KoTao opens on the spotted body of a whale shark. Documented by a small team from Aquatic Images on two excursions, the giant, slow-moving creature is shown gliding gracefully through the Gulf of Thailand with what appears to be dozens of remora, or suckerfish, tagging along for the ride—these smaller swimmers tend to clean bacteria and parasites from their host in exchange for food and easy travel.

Whale sharks are currently the largest living fish species, and similar to flamingos, they’re filter-feeders, although they utilize a cross-flow method that involves water passing by the filter toward the back of the throat rather than through it. Their distinctive spots are also unique to each specimen, meaning that like human fingerprints, no two patterns are the same.

This is the second time in recent years that Aquatic Images has encountered the “gentle giant,” and you can find more of its undersea footage on YouTube. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 

 



Science

Scientists Discover a New Psychedelic Fish Species with Brilliant Rainbow Scales

March 16, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Yi-Kai Tea, courtesy of California Academy of Sciences, shared with permission

Scientists off the coast of the Maldives uncovered a new fish species that’s a bold pop of color in comparison to its shadowy twilight zone habitat. The aptly named rose-veiled fairy wrasse, or Cirrhilabrus finifenmaa, is a small creature with a bright pink head and bodily scales in shades of yellow and blue. Generally found between 131 and 229 feet below sea level, the rainbow-hued specimen is a striking discovery and the first to be formally classified by a Maldivian researcher.

First encountered in 1990, the species was originally categorized as the adult version of the similar Cirrhilabrus rubrisquamis. It wasn’t until scientists from the California Academy of Science’s Hope for Reefs project studied the height of the spines in each fin and the number of scales that they realized that the “multicolor marvel” deserved its own taxonomy. (via Moss & Fog)

 

 

 



Music Science

Ice Crystallizes Into Radial Stars in a Hypnotic Short Film Directed by Thomas Blanchard

March 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

Peering through a macro lens, French video artist Thomas Blanchard has cultivated the ability to transform common scientific occurances into mesmerizing, and often otherworldly, tableaus. His recent project is a collaboration with musician Sébastien Guérive, whose quiet, beat-heavy track “Bellatrix” overlays Blanchard’s experimental film.

Shot in 8K against a black backdrop, the video documents a chemical dropped into hot water and then subsequently cooled. The plunge in temperature causes the substance to become unstable, activating crystallization and sending fringed spikes of ice splaying outward from a central point. Similar to his previous projects—watch more of Blanchard’s works on Vimeo and Instagram— “Bellatrix” is an abstract and illuminating consideration of nature’s unruly and incredibly meticulous processes.

 

 

 



Illustration Science

Precise Lines and Stipples Detail Tattoos of Exquisite Scientific Studies by Michele Volpi

March 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Michele Volpi, shared with permission

Bologna-based artist Michele Volpi (previously) inoculates his monochromatic tattoos of anatomical figures and biological diagrams with a dose of the surreal. Working in black ink, Volpi renders exquisite scientific illustrations across botany, astronomy, physiology, and chemistry with precise detail. He uses intricate linework and stippled shading to create realistic renderings of human skeletal systems and weather cycles, while skewing the scale or pairing seemingly disparate subject matters to achieve the more unusual qualities.

Although Volpi’s books are closed at the moment, he plans to announce new slots this spring—keep an eye on his Instagram for specifics—and he also has prints and shirts available in his shop.

 

 

 



Craft Science

Hand-Blown Glass Vessels by Kiva Ford Are Exacting Miniatures of Scientific and Household Goods

March 3, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Kiva Ford, shared with permission

Artist Kiva Ford (previously) spends his days shaping minuscule vessels for chemists, engineers, and physicists. He manages the custom scientific glass shop at the University of Notre Dame, where he’s tasked with creating unique instruments designed for specific research projects. The exacting quality of these pieces is reflected in all of his hand-blown works, which range from Klein bottles and flasks to vases, pitchers, and jars holding anatomical sculptures in miniature.

COVID-19 increased the demand for his wares, Ford tells Colossal, and he currently has a number of colorful pieces available on Etsy. On March 19, he’ll be hosting a demonstration of nesting a small vessel inside a larger, identical work at the International Flameworking Conference in New Jersey. You can also find videos and images documenting his process on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Science

In ‘Glass Microbiology,’ Sculptures Explore the Science Behind Modeling Viruses and Bacteria

February 25, 2022

Grace Ebert

T4 Bacteriophage 2011. All photographs © Luke Jerram, shared with permission

Digital models of bacteria and viruses are essential for scientists communicating vital health information to the broader public. Paired with news articles and government guidelines, the depictions offer powerful visuals for otherwise invisible harms, and although accurate in shape and structure, many renderings often feature colors chosen at the artist’s discretion—this includes the now-infamous depiction of the red, spiked SARS-CoV-2, which was named a Beazley Design of the Year.

Back in 2004, artist Luke Jerram began questioning the impact of this creative license, asking whether people believed that microbes are inherently vibrant and how exactly viewers are supposed to tell which renderings feature accurate colors and which are alterations. This interest sparked his ongoing Glass Microbiology project, which creates models of viruses like Zika, smallpox, and HIV as clear sculptures.

 

E.coli

Created approximately 1 million times larger than the actual cells, Jerram’s works highlight the intricate and unique structures without obscuring a viewer’s impression based on color. He collaborates with virologists from the University of Bristol to ensure the form’s accuracy before being glassblowers Kim George, Brian Jones, and Norman Veitch help mold the delicate shapes, starting with the coiled nucleic acid at the center and later the outer proteins. Together, they’ve created dozens of models so far, including the long, worm-like ebola and a T4 bacteriophage with a rectangular head and multiple legs.

“Of course, by making it in glass, you create something that’s incredibly beautiful. There’s a tension there, between the beauty of the object and what it represents,” the U.K.-based artist said in an interview. “By making the invisible visible, we’re able to feel like we have a better sense of control over it.”

Jerram’s microbes are on view in two exhibitions this month: as part of Hope from Chaos: Pandemic Reflections at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore and at Henry Moore Institute’s A State of Matter. Explore the vast collection and dive into the science behind the works on the Glass Microbiology site.

 

Ebola

Zika Virus

Malaria 2015

SARS Corona

Smallpox, Untitled Future Mutation, HIV