Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences postdoctoral fellow Wim L. Noorduin, along with his colleagues, have discovered an interesting way to make pictures of flowers from microscopic crystals, as seen under an electron microscope.
“Save Our Earth, Let’s Go Green”, an electron microscope photograph created by Harvard scientists, was recently awarded first place in the Science And Engineering Visualization Challenge 2009 put on by Science Magazine and the National Science Foundation.
Noodlelike fibers stretch to latch onto a green sphere. Alone each fiber is powerless, but together they grip and support the orb, embodying cooperation at a microscopic scale. This electron microscope photograph catches self-assembling polymers in action, but it could also represent people’s cooperative efforts to save Earth, says materials scientist Joanna Aizenberg of Harvard University. “Each hair represents a person or an organization,” she says. “It shows our collaborative effort to hold up the planet and keep it running.”
What’s amazing is that each fiber seen in the photo has a diameter of 250 nanometers, or 1/500th the thickness of a human hair.
2009 Visualization Challenge: Photography (via Silber Studios)
Image credit: Photograph by Harvard University