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Photography Science

Momentum: Large Format Photos of Chalkboards from Quantum Mechanics Institutions by Alejandro Guijarro

March 17, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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Momentum is a project by artist Alejandro Guijarro who spent three years traveling to the quantum mechanics departments of Cambridge, Stanford, Berkeley, Oxford and elsewhere to shoot large format photographs of blackboards just after lectures. Completely removed from the context of a classroom or laboratory and displayed in a gallery, the cryptic equations from one of the most formidable branches of physics become abstract patterns of line and color. Via the artist’s statement:

Before he walks into a lecture hall Guijarro has no idea what he will find. He begins by recording the blackboard with the minimum of interference. No detail of the lecture hall is included, the blackboard frame is removed and we are left with a surface charged with abstract equations. At this stage they are documents. However, once removed from their institutional beginnings the meaning evolves. The viewer begins to appreciate the equations for their line and form. Colour comes into play and the waves created by the blackboard eraser suggest a vast landscape or galactic setting. The formulas appear to illustrate the worlds of Quantum Mechanics. What began as a precise lecture, a description of the physicist’s thought process, is transformed into a canvas open to any number of possibilities.

Guijarro graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2010 with a MA in fine art and now lives
and works in both London and Madrid. He’ll have work later this year at PhotoEspaña. (via Not Shaking the Grass)

 

 



Science

Water Droplets Flow Uphill through a Superheated Maze Thanks to the Leidenfrost Effect

March 16, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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The folks over at Science Friday made this fascinating video about the Leidenfrost Effect, where water dropped on an extremely hot surface is capable of floating instead of immediately evaporating. While studying the bizarre effect, physicists at the University of Bath realized that not only does the water float, but under the right conditions and temperatures it can actually climb upward. The playful experiments lead to the creation of an incredible superheated maze. (via The Awesomer)

 

 



Science

Beautiful Microscopic Time-lapse Video of Snowflakes Forming

February 23, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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We’ve seen all matter of snow and ice photography here on Colossal, as well as time-lapses of melting snow and snow drawings, but this is the first video individual snowflakes forming I’ve ever come across. Created by filmmaker Vyacheslav Ivanov this microscopic short shows the intimate details of fragile snowflakes as they form in their miraculous hexagonal forms. Robert Gonzalez writing for iO9 gives us an idea of what we’re looking at:

The ice crystal(s) in snowflakes owe their six-fold rotational symmetry to the hydrogen bonds in water molecules. As water freezes, water molecules bound to other water molecules crystallize into a hexagonal structure, where each point on the hexagon is an oxygen atom and each side of the hexagon is a hydrogen bonded to an oxygen. As freezing continues, more water molecules are added to this microscopic six-sided structure, causing it to grow in size into the six-sided macroscopic structure that we recognize as snowflakes.

We have a line into Ivanov to see how he filmed this and will update as soon as we hear something. Music by Aphex Twin.

(via Kuriositas, PetaPixel, i09)

Update: Ivanov confirms from his home in St. Petersburg that the video is indeed genuine (non digital) and was filmed through a microscope with a “lot of effort and patience.”

 

 



Art Photography Science

Artistic Arrangements of Microscopic Algae Viewed Through a Microscope

January 29, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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Photograph of diatoms collected in Russia and arranged on a microscope slide in 1952 by A.L. Brigger.

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Photograph of fossil diatoms collected in Pt. Reyes National Seashore in Marin County, California, and arranged on a microscope slide in 1968 by A.L. Brigger.

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Black and white photograph of fossil radiolaria arranged on a slide by R.F. Behan. The slide label reads “Prize Medal Paris 1867 Polycystina; Springfield, Barbados.” The arrangement is approximately 3 millimeters in diameter.

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Photograph of diatoms arranged on a microscope slide by W.M. Grant.

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Photograph of diatoms arranged on a microscope slide by W.M. Grant.

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Photograph of diatoms arranged in October 1974 on a microscope slide by R.I. Firth. The slide label reads “Selected species from Californian fossil marine localities. To Mrs. G Dallas Hanna with compliments.”

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Photograph of Arachnoidiscus diatoms collected in the Bolinas Lagoon in Marin County, California and arranged on a microscope slide by R.F. Behan.

In a fascinating blend of art and science the California Academy of Sciences possesses a rare collection of microscopic diatom arrangements. Diatoms are a major group of algae that are among the smallest organisms on Earth, of which nearly 100,000 different species are estimated to exist. While there are numerous examples of diatoms that have been photographed for scientific study, these particular scientists hobbyists seem to have gone a different direction, instead turning these tiny unicellular lifeforms into mandala-like artworks. The tiny designs are all the more amazing when you consider most of them would fit on the head of a nail. You can see more examples right here. Photos by Sara Mansfield. (via Synaptic Stimuli)

Update: The California Academy of Sciences clarifies that these arrangements, despite being produced with scientific tools, are purely aesthetic, and were produced by hobbyists, not scientists.

 

 



Design Science

One Step Closer to Hover Boards: Three-Dimensional Mid-Air Acoustic Manipulation

January 1, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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While we’ve seen examples of objects suspended mid-air using quantum levitation and acoustic levitation, a team of three Japanese engineers from The University of Tokyo and the Nagoya Institute of Technology recently unveiled an ambitious device that uses sound waves to move objects through three dimensional space. The machine uses four arrays of speakers to make soundwaves that intersect at a focal point that can be moved up, down, left, and right using external controls. You would think such machine would be extremely loud, but according to one of the engineers the device uses ultrasonic speakers and is almost completely silent. You can read more about it right here. (via Reddit)

 

 



Science

Terrifying 'Orchid Mantis' is Camouflaged to Look Exactly Like a Pink Orchid Flower

December 26, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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In an unparalleled feat of natural selection the Orchid Mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) from Southeast Asia has evolved to look almost exactly like an orchid flower in order to lure unsuspecting prey. If looking like a plant isn’t impressive enough the clever insect also changes color from pink to brown according to its environment. (via Boing Boing)

 

 

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