The breathtaking limestone caves in Waitomo, New Zealand, are home to hundreds of thousands of the beetles – which light up the caverns like bright blue stars. The caves are a perfect breeding ground for glow-worms, which can only survive in very dark, damp places where their light can be seen. More
Lake Retba, which runs through Senegal, West Africa, gets its color from an unusually high salt content—in some up to 40-percent! Microbiologist Michael Danson says that the water gets its candy-colored hue from the salt-loving organism Dunaliella salina (an algae). “They produce a red pigment that absorbs and uses the energy of sunlight to create more energy, turning the water pink,” he told the Daily Mail.
Digital images by Harvard physics and chemistry professor Eric J. Heller. His digital abstract art is inspired by a world we cannot directly see; the quantum realm of electrons, atoms, and molecules. The strange, often chaotic quantum domain yields forms, which he uses as a medium, creating images which convey the mystery of quantum physics.
Art has a unique capacity convey insights, intuitively and emotionally, about complex subject matter. If there is a short circuit to wisdom, it is through art. I try to exploit the powers of art to relate secrets of Nature only recently uncovered. A key element in my work is exploitation of Nature’s almost narcissistic self-similarity, her repetition of pattern on vastly different scales and in radically different contexts.
1st place: Portrait of a bug – Igor Siwanowicz / Max Planck Inst. of Neurobiology
Every year, the Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition highlights the beauty and complexity of the world as seen through the light microscope. The top 20 pictures for 2011 focus on a wide range of biological and geological subjects, with a little fun thrown in.
Greg Dunn is working on a doctorate in neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, but he uses the materials that he encounters in his work to create some of the world’s most unusual works of art. He admits “It was a fine day when two of my passions came together upon the realization that the elegant forms of neurons (the cells that comprise your brain) can be painted expressively in the Asian sumi-e style. Neurons may be tiny in scale, but they possess the same beauty seen in traditional forms of the medium (trees, flowers, and animals).”
The baobab is found in the savannas of Africa and Madagascar, mostly around the equator. It can grow up to 25 meters tall and can live for several thousand years. The baobab is leafless for nine months of the year. If you were to describe the baobab, you would say that it looks like it has been picked out of the ground and stuffed back in upside-down.
Absolutely stunning photos captured by astronomer Oleg Bartunov on a recent journey through the Himalyas. His two images show almost the whole spectrum of the rainbow in a natural event rarely recorded at Mount Everest. The phenomenon is the result of light reflected off tiny ice crystals inside the body of the cloud’s water vapour.
In Victoria, Australia, a hauntingly beautiful phenomenon turned the Gippsland Lakes (and midnight swimmers) luminous blue. ‘ It was like we were playing with radioactive paint,’ said photographer Phil Hart who snapped the bizarre sight as his friends emerged from the lake in the dark of night.
The lake’s light was caused by a microorganism that happened to be in abnormally high supply when Hart snapped these amazing photos in 2009. The harmless “Noctiluca Scintillans” microorganism lights up when the lake water is disturbed. To capture the glowing photos, Hart put his camera on a slow shutter speed and threw sand and stones into the lake water.