Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your nanogarden grow?
Harvard engineer Wim Noorduin has a green thumb. Only his thumb is only a few microns wide. By carefully controlling gradients of chemicals, he guided the construction of flower-like crystal structures to match their larger biological forms. It’s certainly art, but it also demonstrates a masterful manipulation of chemistry on the nano scale.
Just how small are they? As NPR reports, these flowers could fit in the lapel of the tiny Abraham Lincoln statue on the back of a penny (back when pennies had the Lincoln Memorial on them, anyway). These electron microscope images are false colored to recreate fantastic flowers, and these manipulations will one day help control the construction of useful microstructures.
If you’re seriously engineering-inclined, here’s the original research as it appears in Science.
Nine Views (Croatian: Devet pogleda) is an ambiental installation in Zagreb, Croatia which, together with the sculpture Prizemljeno Sunce (The Grounded Sun), makes up a consistent model of solar system.
Prizemljeno Sunce by Ivan Kožarić was first displayed in 1971 by the building of the Croatian National Theatre, and since then changed location a few times. Since 1994 it has been situated in the Bogovićeva Street. It is simply a bronze sphere around 2 metres in diameter.
In 2004, artist Davor Preis had a two-week exhibition in the Josip Račić Exhibition Hall in Margaretska Street in Zagreb, and afterwards he placed 9 models of the planets of the solar system around Zagreb, to complete a model of the entire solar system. The models’ sizes as well as their distances from the Prizemljeno Sunce are all in the same scale as the Prizemljeno Sunce itself.
Preis did this installation with very little or no publicity, so his installation isn’t well known among citizens of Zagreb. On a few occasions individuals or small groups of people, particularly physics students, “discovered” that there was a model of the solar system in Zagreb. One of the earliest efforts to find all of the planets was started in November 2004 on the web forum of the student section of Croatian Physics Society.
The locations of the planets are as follows:
- Mercury - 3 Margaretska Street
- Venus - 3 Ban Josip Jelačić Square
- Earth - 9 Varšavska Street
- Mars - 21 Tkalčićeva Street
- Jupiter - 71 Voćarska Street
- Saturn - 1 Račićeva Street
- Uranus - 9 Siget
- Neptune - Kozari Way
- Pluto - Bologna Alley (underpass) - included in the installation before being demoted to dwarf planet
The Scientifically-Inspired Art of Luke Jerram
This guy is killin’ it.
It would be difficult to find a science-inspired artist more consistently amazing than Luke Jerram. His best-known work is surely his blown-glass microbes and viruses, which have graced Tumblr dashboards and Facebook walls the world over. A beautiful gallery, with behind the scenes photos of glass in action, here.
Top L-R: HIV, Human Papilloma Virus and Swine Flu
Less-known, but equally as impressive are his sonic sculptures, where invisible sound waves are visualized as silent, three-dimensional experiences
Middle L-R: 28 seconds of Hiroshima, 9 minutes of Tohoku (prev. here)
I think his most remarkable work is a musical installation called Aeolus (lower left), where a field of taut cables vibrate with the wind due to vortex effects, creating music within the tubes of the arch. I’ve featured that musical installation before, with links to the physics behind it, if you’d like to read more.
Last, but not least, a scientific-glassware chandelier that I am sure that many of us would be happy to hang in our homes … or finely appointed labs.
I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. Check out Luke Jerram’s full website and portfolio here, and be prepared to be amazed.
A detailed glass anatomical model could be the perfect gift for the science nerd on your list, if you can stomach the $25,000 price tag. Photo by Garry McLeod via Wired