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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

 

 



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.

 

 



Art Design Science

Artist Philip Beesley Merges Chemistry, Artificial Intelligence, and Interactivity to Create “Living” Architecture

December 8, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Astrocyte, 2017. All images by Philip Beesley and Alex Willms / PBAI.

Multidisciplinary artist and architect Philip Beesley weaves together such a broad array of technologies and systems in his artworks that they legitimately defy description, but the immediate impact of encountering these sprawling interactive installations is visceral and awe-inspiring. His latest work, Astrocyte, connects chemistry, artificial intelligence, and an immersive soundscape to create a living piece of architecture that responds to the presence of viewers. Comprised of 300,000 individual components, the piece was on view against the industrial backdrop at Toronto’s port lands for EDIT: Expo for Design, Innovation & Technology last October. From a statement about the project:

The structure is made up of resilient, lightweight meshworks of thermally formed acrylic, laser-cut into geometrical patterns optimized for production with minimal waste. This unique space truss system is part of the Living Architecture Systems’ pioneering research into resilient and adaptable structures. Astrocyte’s structural mesh components use overlapping strands of material in doubly-curved conical forms that achieve extraordinary strength from minimal material. These innovative forms are clustered together in bundles that are similar to the multiple filaments spanning between outer and inner shells of natural bone structures.

The piece further incorporates 3D-printed lighting components and masses of custom glasswork that contain a combination of oil, inorganic chemicals, and other solutions to form a sort of chemical skin. At the core of Beesley research is the question of whether architecture can truly be “alive,” opening the possibility for self-repairing structures or deeply responsive organic environments, where artificial intelligence exists at almost every level of design. Regardless of the complexity and heady ideas, the works are deeply aesthetically intriguing, something directly out of science fiction.

Beesley is the director of the Living Architecture Systems Group and a professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo. You can explore much more of his work on his website and along with several videos and interviews on Vimeo. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 



Art

Segmented Glass Sculptures Inspired by Cell Division by Jiyong Lee

July 28, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Cell-Building block, 14 x 14 x 14 inch, 2016

Driven by an interest in the biological process of cell division, artist Jiyong Lee (previously) fabricates translucent sculptural works of segmented glass components fused through coldworking techniques. Some pieces purposefully take the form of organic life with titles such as “White-orange Chromosome Segmentation” or “Geometric cell membrane segmentation” while others are decidedly more geometric in nature. Born and raised in South Korea, Lee has helmed the glass program at Southern Illinois University since 2005. He most recently had a solo exhibition with Clara Scremini Gallery in Paris, and you can see many more of his pieces on Artsy.


White-orange Chromosome Segmentation, 7 x 12 x 16 inch, 2017

Orange Cylinder Segmentation, 5.7 x 11.5 inch, 2017

Geometric cell membrane segmentation, 17 x 14 x 14 inch, 2016

Black & White segmented Cylinder, 5.5 x 13.75 inch, 2015

Gold-Ruby Trapezohedron, 9.25 x 15 x 10.5 inch, 2015

Blue-Yellow cuboid segmentation, 10.5 x 9 x 5 inch, 2015

white Drosophila embryo segmentation, 6.5h x 14.5w x 5.75d (inch), 2014

 

 



Amazing Science

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

March 21, 2017

Christopher Jobson

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)

 

 



Animation Music Science

A Mesmerizing Sequence of Biological Simulations by Maxime Causeret for Max Cooper’s ‘Order from Chaos’

December 20, 2016

Christopher Jobson

Starting with a recording of raindrops hitting the skylight in his old apartment, this track titled Order from Chaos from London-based artist Max Cooper‘s newest album Emergence is the culmination of three years work merging his interests in science, music and visual arts. French visual effects artist Maxime Causeret was asked to provide the visuals and the result is a mesmerizing blend of biological simulations and music video. Cellular forms appear to collide, merge, and even compete for resources while brain-like structures explode and crash across the screen. Cooper explains a bit of the science behind the art:

Maxime Causeret selected this track to work with, under the brief to map the emergent rhythm to an exploration of emergence in living form. His video shows the raindrops initially, then going into simple cellular forms and then showing the important idea of cooperation between simple cells to form more robust colonies of life. This develops into a visualisation of the idea of endosymbiosis, where simpler smaller organisms can live inside larger cells, each providing a benefit to the other, and eventually forming parts of the same organism as they evolve to be entirely dependent on each other.

Fullscreen, headphones, you know the drill. This is definitely worth getting lost in for a moment. You can listen to Cooper’s full album here.

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Photography Science

Alexander Semenov Continues to Photograph the Earth’s Most Fragile Marine Wildlife Near the Arctic Circle

November 2, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Eutonina indicans / © Alexander Semenov

For the last several years, marine photographer Alexander Semenov (previously) has lead the divers team at Moscow State University’s White Sea Biological Station located just south of the Arctic Circle. Semenov directs scientific dives in extremely cold and harsh conditions to document sea creatures seldom seen anywhere else on Earth. From giant jellyfish to the tiniest of unknown sea worms, the photographer captures almost all of the creatures you see here out in the wild, without the convenience of a laboratory or studio.

It’s estimated that nearly 80% of all aquatic life in the world’s oceans has yet to be studied or even discovered. In response to this potentially vast world of unknown lifeforms, coupled with Semenov’s unceasing interest in marine biology, an ambitious trek across the world’s oceans has been planned for 2016. The Aquatilis Expedition is a proposed journey that will take a team of divers, scientists, and videographers to locations around the globe for the purposes of identifying new species, an odyssey on par with the advertures of Jacques Cousteau.

Many of Semenov’s best photos are available as prints, and he shares regular updates on both Facebook and Flickr.

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Cyanea rainbow / © Alexander Semenov

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Syllidae from the Sea of Okhotsk / © Alexander Semenov

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Cestum veneris, Italy / © Alexander Semenov

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Beroe cucumis / © Alexander Semenov

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Cyanea nude / © Alexander Semenov

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Clione limacina / © Alexander Semenov

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Sarsia tubulosa attacked by Cyanea capillata / © Alexander Semenov

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Swimming file clam, Australia / © Alexander Semenov

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Aglantha digitale / © Alexander Semenov

 

 

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