Tag Archives: Photography

Scientific Images from Northwestern Photo Contest

August 19th, 2014 | Brain, Robot
Nanoscale Lego Puzzle - Radha Boya

“Nanoscale Lego Puzzle” – Radha Boya

The hidden beauty of the natural world is brought forth in laboratories around the country on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the general public usually doesn’t get the chance to see these incredible scientific images. However, Northwestern University has recently been holding a photo competition to share images “across a wide range of disciplines, including medicine, chemistry, engineering and nanotechnology.” They are truly a sight to behold.

Seen above is an image called “Nanoscale Lego Puzzle” by Radha Boya. Here’s a description of the piece:

“A thin film of gold has been deposited on a silicon mold. Each evenly spaced black dot is a groove in the silicon that has been filled by the gold. The puzzle-like shapes are made when the gold cracks and curls up. The darker shading indicates where the gold has curled in on itself. The metal tips fabricated by this method can be used in many applications, such as printing DNA chips.”

Meltdown - Keith Brown - Scientific Images

“Meltdown” – Keith Brown

“This image shows the aftermath of a case when a large voltage was applied between a thin film of gold (light blue) and silicon (dark blue), and electrons found a way through the thin insulating layer that separated them. As the current increased, the material was heated resulting in a catastrophic thermal expansion that resulted in a crater of solidified material (red).”

Graphene Oxide - Andrew Koltonow

“Graphene Oxide” – Andrew Koltonow

“Koltonow and his colleagues study a material called graphene oxide (GO), which is only a couple of atoms thick. They can assemble thin sheets of GO into a foam that conducts electricity. The foam can be used to create electrodes for batteries, making such energy storage devices smaller and lighter.

In this image, graphene oxide sheets (purple-orange) cast shadows from light that is scattered off of GO foam (green-yellow), creating an eerie effect.”

Colorful Directions - Mark McClendon - Scientific Images

“Colorful Directions” – Mark McClendon

“Imagine simply injecting healthy human cells into the body to repair damaged muscle tissue. This might one day be possible if scientists, like McClendon, can find a way to keep these cells organized at the point of injury until healing is complete. One solution might be placing the cells in a nanofiber gel, which can then be injected directly into the human body. The cells growing in the gel will eventually respond to their surroundings by stretching and migrating in the same direction as the nanofibers.

Shown in this image is a blob of nanofiber gel with encapsulated cells from a human heart. The color is a result of the alignment of nanofibers making up the gel, with each color corresponding to a cluster of nanofibers aligned one direction.”

black ghost knifefish - Oscar Curet - Scientific Images

“Black Ghost Knifefish” – Oscar Curet

“The black ghost knifefish, found in the Amazon Basin, can move rapidly and in many directions due to an elongated fin on its belly that runs nearly the entire length of the fish. Curet and his colleagues used a robotic replica of the knifefish to study this motion, which could prove useful when applied to the design of underwater vehicles like submarines.

This image maps the motion of the robotic fish as it moves in a vertical direction. The lines represent the path of the fluid motion and the color represents the velocity, where blue is slow and yellow is fast.”


The mysteries of science can be illuminated with a well-captured photo or illustration. I’m glad Northwestern is sharing some of this wonder with the general public.

You can check out the full list of winning scientific images at the Northwestern website.

-RSB

Orion Tide by Kelly Richardson

August 5th, 2014 | Space

Kelly Richardson Orion Tide

Kelly Richardson Orion Tide 2

Check out this beautiful panoramic photograph by Kelly Richardson, which features fiery missiles or vessels leaving planet Earth. The landscape for the piece was shot in West Texas during Kelly’s artist residency at Artpace in San Antonio. From the artist’s site:

“Drawing from the aesthetics of sci-fi films and dystopian stories, Orion Tide presents a Roswell-esque desert with spurts of light and smoke repeatedly taking off into the dark night sky. As a part of CONTACT festival 2013, Orion Tide rests somewhere in the territory between science fiction and biblical wraths. By uniting the cataclysmic commonalities that both worlds share, Richardson created an apocalyptically sublime space in which all ideals dissolve and a universal transition is made for whatever may come next.”

I think the only thing I that could improve the work would be to animate the rockets into an endless loop. It’s an intriguing piece nonetheless.

Edit (8/10/2014): The artist informed me that the the videos are animated as seamless loops. Very cool!

Here’s a video of Kelly describing her work, if you’d like to learn more.

-RSB

Kilauea Volcano Selfie

July 23rd, 2014 | Space

Kilauea Volcano Selfie

Photographer and explorer, Andrew Hara, may have taken the coolest “selfie” I’ve ever seen. He was able to gain access to the edge of the Helemaumau crater while volunteering for the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. From Andrew:

“I cautiously hiked through a restricted area of the park with a fellow United States Geological Survey geologist with a camera, tripod, and respirator to filter hazardous gasses.”

The rest is history. By adding himself to the landscape, Andrew gave the volcano a truly awe-inspiring perspective.

Do not try to attempt this at home. In fact, the Crater Rim Drive from Jaggar Museum to the Chain of Craters Road junction is currently closed due to elevated levels of sulfur dioxide gas and the subsequent eruption from a new vent in Halema‘uma‘u Crater.

-RSB

The Legendary Photos of Irving Penn

June 16th, 2014 | Brain

Irving Penn - Gorilla Skull

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Irving Penn - Tribes

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Irving Penn - Hand

Irving Penn - Small Trades

Today is the birthday of the American portrait photographer, Irving Penn. He would have been 97 years old, but unfortunately, the legend passed away back in 2009. Penn photographed a range of topics, but was mostly known for his still life and portrait work. When discussing his predilection for animal skulls, he described them as “an exquisite edifice of living machine. Hard chambers of bone to guard soft organs, protected conduits and channels.”

Penn mainly used minimalist backdrops, preferring the focus to lie on his subjects. In one series titled, “Small Trades,” he featured workers in uniform with their tools of the trade (seen above). The photo style was achieved by using high speed roll film, to get a particularly grainy effect.

Irving Penn was surely a master at his craft. Take some time to visit some more of his work at The Getty Museum.

-RSB

A Day in the Life of an Earthbound Astronaut

May 30th, 2014 | Space

Everyday-Astronaut-header

Check out this awesome series of astronaut photos by Tim Dodd. The life of an earthbound astronaut can be a bit depressing.  Like a snail without its shell, Dodd depicts the everyday life of an astronaut who dreams to be back in space, where he belongs… and it’s hilarious!

Dodd bought the high altitude Russian spacesuit at the auction site last year and has been working on this project ever since.

“I’d been scheming how to best use the suit,” he writes on his blog. “I have been revisiting my childhood love for space and my obsession was growing stronger and stronger. It was only natural to use this suit to project the inner child in me, still dreaming about space.”

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Good morning world!

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Decisions, decisions

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Always brush your teeth!

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Boldly going where no astronaut has gone before

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I’m super depressed Chris Hadfield was named TIME’s “Astronaut of the Year”

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It just isn’t the same

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Time to mow!

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Did a little grocery shopping

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I always order my ice cream à la space

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Out for a walk with my dog Laika

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Did some research at the library

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Houston, we have a problem

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Testing out my solid rocket boosters

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Playing with my Zero-G simulator

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Watching my favorite movie

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Goodnight world

You can find more from Tim Dodd at his photography site.

-RSB

Chalkboard Quantum Mechanics by Alejandro Guijarro

April 2nd, 2014 | Brain, Space

Alejandro Guijarro Chalkboards 1

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Alejandro Guijarro Chalkboards 3

Alejandro Guijarro Chalkboards 4

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Alejandro Guijarro Chalkboards 9

There is something enchanting to be found in chalkboards, an intellectual canvas where remnants of hypnotic scribbles and fantastical ideas are scattered. They epitomize that moment where knowledge and imagination meet to foster new ideas. Academic brainstorming sessions in fields such as quantum mechanics often result in a flurry of mysterious equations, symbols, and geometric shapes, and Alejandro Guijarro set out to capture them.

Alejandro is an artist based in London and Madrid who works primarily in photography. Over a three year period, he traveled the world visiting institutions known for their prowess in quantum mechanics: CERN in Switzerland, Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, and UC Berkeley.

From the artist:

“I’ve visited top universities all over the world for this project: Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, Berkeley, Cern in Switzerland, Brussels, Vienna and institutions in China and Spain. It was a challenge to find places that still had blackboards rather than whiteboards or interactive screens. Many of the boards were in professors’ own rooms where they do their research. Some of them were intrigued, wondering why I wanted to photograph work they didn’t consider important. They didn’t see what they had done as art.”

Quantum mechanics (you can read about here, good luck!) is a branch of physics dealing with the strange, quantum realm of atomic and subatomic matter. You would have to work hard to find a more confusing (and compelling) topic to capture in photographic form. All of this mystery builds the intrigue found in Alejandro’s photographs. The aesthetic is certainly a nice interaction of line, color, and form, but the real magic lies in knowing these symbols represent the very fabric of our reality. It’s fascinating stuff!

If you’ve enjoyed these, you can find more from Alejandro Guijarro at his site.

-RSB

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