Thursday, March 29, 2012

International Space Station Footage at Night

This is absolutely amazing footage taken by the International Space Station as it flies above the Earth.  I especially loved the crackling of lightning, which shows as white bursts on Earth's surface.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Can Math Be Beautiful?

Here's an amazing video clip of a panel at last year's World Science Festival about the beauty of mathematics.  I'm definitely not the best mathematician, but I am a math groupie, and I have experienced my mind being blown by a cool proof.  During a short course in college I learned about the proof showing that the square root of two is irrational.  I don't remember how to recreate the proof, but I do remember that it made my brain freeze.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My New Discover Photo Gallery

Hurray!  The online photo gallery I had been creating for Discover magazine is now complete.  You can see it here.

Stunning Analog Science Art

Here's a beautiful video piece called "Compressed 03."  It was created by Kim Pimmel, who is intensely interested in the analog world.  I am actually very surprised that one can buy ferrofluid online.  Maybe I'll get some myself....

Compressed 03 from Kim Pimmel on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Supercomputer Simulation of Atmosphere

When I was a kid, I followed the T.V. weather forecasts all winter.  They were exciting because, on any given night, the forecaster might hint that a snowstorm was heading for my North Carolina hometown.  Of course, snow meant no school, as well as days of sledding, throwing snowing balls, and breathing in  crisp, cold air.  Since then, weather has fascinated me.

I am also interested in the beauty of computer simulations, so when I saw the video below, I thought I had to share it with my readers.  Watch it and enjoy!  Also, try to find the little red hurricanes swirling off America's east coast.  Very cool.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Picturing Science

The tools scientists use to peer inside objects and take closer looks at tiny things have gotten extremely sophisticated.  A new show at the American Museum of Natural History called "Picturing Science" shows images from these amazing instruments.

[Image Courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History]

Friday, March 2, 2012

Meeting a Great Man

Every once in a while, you meet a truly great person.  Today was one of those days for me.  This afternoon, I spent two hours talking with chemist Roald Hoffmann, but Hoffmann is interesting not merely because he won a Nobel Prize in 1981.  He is also intensely interested in the intersection between art and science, as well as in aesthetics and ethics.  I've downloaded several of his essays, and find them all deep and fascinating.  Hoffmann is also in favor of clear writing in professional journal articles, though he told me that not all editors feel the same way, an opinion I find bizarre.  What is the point of writing anything if it's not as understandable as possible?  Don't professional chemists want to read clear writing?

Here's a great quote from the Nobel Prize website that shows Hoffmann's dedication to both language and science:

"The language of science is a language under stress.  Words are being made to describe things that seem indescribable in words -- equations, chemical structures and so forth.  Words do not, cannot mean all that they stand for, yet they are all we have to describe experience.  By being a natural language under tension, the language of science is inherently poetic.  There is metaphor aplenty in science.  Emotions emerge shaped as states of matter and more interestingly, matter acts out what goes on in the soul."

[Above Photo from Gary Hodges]

Thursday, March 1, 2012

When Art Captures the Microscopic World

Have you ever seen an art show featuring paintings of protozoa?  If not, stop by the Thorndike Gallery at Southern Oregon University to see an amazing show by artist Shoshana Dubiner, who has created a series of paintings that showcase the microscopic life all around us.  And, read more about the show here.