The Beauty of Science!

Kidneys made of plants and tiny weeds by Camila Carlow.

Lungs made of flowers by Camila Carlow.

Brain made of flowers and berries by Camila Carlow.

Butterfly Wing-Scales no. 10, Chelsea H-A.

“Skies Painted With Unnumbered Sparks”, 2014, Public art exhibition, Photos by Bret Hartman/TED and Mychaylo Prystupa.

Water Light Graffiti by Antonin Fourneau

Wear Your Chromosomes: Jewelry Collection Made from 3D Prints of Microscopy Data

ymphony No. 7 in D Minor, Op. 70, 1885 ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK A particular region in the prefrontal cortex of the human brain, Brodmann Area 47, is engaged in trying to figure out what’s going to happen next in a sequence of events manifested over time, in spoken language, signed language, music, etc. When expectations are met, these neural circuits are rewarded and reinforced. When expectations are violated, a different part of our brain, the anterior cingulated, becomes activated, focusing our attention on the unexpected sequence. The end of Dvořák’s 7th Symphony is a wonderful artistic exploration of the delicate orchestration of neural responses that allows us to feel both surprised and rewarded by clever permutations of what we’re accustomed to. We retrieve these perceptions from episodic memory traces the next time we hear a similar piece of music.— Daniel Levitin, Neuroscientist, McGill University

Relativity, 1953 M.C. ESCHER I believe that understanding the world is a lot like seeing the world, and the visual illusions to which the eye is prone provide exquisite metaphors for the cognitive illusions to which the mind is prone. When you first look at a drawing such as Escher’s Relativity, everything seems fine. But as you inspect it you suddenly realize that what you’re seeing is impossible—each section of the canvas is coherent but all these possible parts add up to an impossible whole. Escher’s work exposes the masterful fraud that our brains perpetrate upon us—the neural magic show that we call reality. — Daniel Gilbert, Psychologist, Harvard University © 2007 The M.C. Escher Company-Holland.

Composition No. 8, 1939-1942 PIET MONDRIAN Mondrian, in search of “the constant truths concerning forms,” settled on the straight line as the major feature of his compositions. He believed that straight lines are constituents of all forms. Many years later, physiologists discovered orientation-selective cells, which respond selectively to straight lines, and are widely thought to be the physiological “building blocks” of form perception. Each cell responds increasingly more grudgingly when exposed to images that depart from the preferred orientation, until the response disappears altogether at the orthogonal orientation.—Semir Zeki, Neuroscientist, University College London © Kimbell Art Museum/Corbis

Fabian Oefner is a Swiss photographer and artist, who combines art and science. He emphasizes ordinary elements of the natural world, by injecting, in this case literally, colors and textures. In his project Millefiori, Oefner combines ferrofluid, a magnetic material, and watercolors. He explains: The shapes, you see in these image are only about the size of a thumbnail. They are created with the aid of a very peculiar material: ferrofluid. This liquid has a very unique property. It is magnetic, caused by the millions nano iron particles in it. When put under a magnetic field, the particles in the solution start to rearrange due to the attraction and repulsion of iron. If now water colors are added to the ferrofluid, the pop-art looking structures start to appear, forming into black channels and tiny ponds filled with rainbow colored surfaces. The reason why the black ferrofluid and the water colors don’t mix is that ferrofluid is, just like oil, hydrophobic. It therefore doesn’t mix with the water colors. At the same time it is held in position by the magnet underneath it. So it tries to find a way around the water colors and therefore forms these black channels.

A scanning electron microscopy image of a micro patterned silk surface recently placed first in the annual “Science as Art” competition sponsored by the Materials Research Society. The photograph was taken by Konstantinos Tsioris (E’13), a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering working in the Ultrafast Nonlinear Optics and Biophotonics Laboratory at Tufts.

Tilings create an interesting mathematical problem. It is easy to tile a large floor with squares, equilateral triangles, or regular hexagons. But no matter how hard you try, you cannot tile a large floor with pentagons—unfilled gaps always remain. Intrigued by this problem, mathematical physicist Roger Penrose discovered in 1976 two shapes of tiles that could be used to fill the entire plane, and yet exhibit the five-fold symmetry characteristic of the pentagon. This art-inspired tiling exercise might have remained in the relative obscurity of recreational mathematics were it not for a dramatic discovery in 1982. Materials engineer Dan Schectman discovered that the crystals of some aluminum-manganese alloys exhibit precisely the same regularity as Penrose’s tiles, even though such structures were previously predicted to not exist in nature. In spite of the initial skeptical reaction by many chemists and physicists, Schectman went on to win the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering “a new principle for packing atoms and molecules.” The fascinating materials he unearthed are now known as quasicrystals.


Nike Art + Science of Feeling: Josh Rubin’s brainwaves as art

Highly Commended, 2011 NHMRC Science to Art Award The dawn of neurodevelopment – the migratory journey of neural precursors Dr Michael Lovelace, The University of Sydney Image source: A Carl Zeiss META LSM 510 confocal was used for imaging (Bosch Institute Advanced Microscopy Facility, University of Sydney). Description: During the development of the central nervous system, multipotent cells are exposed to a crucial set of environmental cues which determine their commitment to a specific lineage. Disturbances in this process may be a risk factor in disorders such as cerebral palsy. Co-expression of nestin (red), vimentin (orange) and III-tubulin (green) cytoskeletal proteins by the vast majority of cells (yellow) indicates that the majority of the cells are immature and undifferentiated neural precursor cells. The diversity of morphologies of the migrated cells mimics this essential neurodevelopmental process in which cells migrate, terminally differentiate and spatially integrate with surrounding cell types. This image is of cultured neural precursor cells, grown using growth factors to maintain the cells in a largely undifferentiated state, and kept in repetitive long-term passage. Propagated as free-floating neurospheres, they were adhered onto substrate-coated glass and cultured for 6 days before fixation and immunostaining.

Scientific reactions and effects often create amazing visual art — you just have to be lucky enough to capture it on time! Taiwanese photographer Will Ho was vacationing on the Maldives Islands when he was just so lucky.

These stunning photographs, taken by Ho, feature bioluminescent phytoplankton — or light-emitting microorganisms — found in the ocean. These microorganisms glow and can be seen when they are under stress, as seen here when the water hits the shore, or if they are stepped on or agitated.

Wiring of a Human Brain

“Fireworks” by Yunlai Zha (Princeton), an electrical engineering grad ­student, displays the patterns created after arsenic sulphide was dissolved in a solution, then spin-coated and baked on a chrome-evaporated glass slide.

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