Art of Science 2013: Princeton University

Every year Princeton University holds a competition to select the best science imagery.  Here are my favorites from the 2013 gallery.

The History of Gliding by Mingzhai Sun and Joshua Shaevitz.
The History of Gliding by Mingzhai Sun and Joshua Shaevitz.

Much like schools of fish or groups of giggling school girls, bands of Myxococcus xanthus, a social bacterium, travel together. In order to hunt prey efficiently and protect one another these cells must coordinate the way in which they move – or “glide” – together. In this image the gliding of hundreds of thousands of these cells was tracked over four hours. Their paths transition from blue to red according to the amount of time elapsed, with blue as the start time and red as the end time.

Blossoming Flame by Bo Jiang and Bret Windom
Blossoming Flame by Bo Jiang and Bret Windom

This series of eleven flames demonstrates the transition that occurs in a turbulent flame as a result of low temperature oxidation of the reactants prior to introduction into the high temperature flame. Scanning left to right, the degree of pre-flame reactant oxidation is increased by increasing the reactant temperature and/or heated residence time. This transition, evident by the increasing redness of the flames, is due to changes in the flame chemistry resulting in new emission profiles and has a dramatic effect on the flame properties, including burning rates, emissions, and turbulent/combustion interactions and flame regimes.

Bridging the Gap by Jason Wexler and Howard A. Stone
Bridging the Gap by Jason Wexler and Howard A. Stone

When drops of liquid are trapped in a thin gap between two solids, a strong negative pressure develops inside the drops. If the solids are flexible, this pressure deforms the solids to close the gap. In our experiment the solids are transparent, which allows us to image the drops from above. Alternating dark and light lines represent lines of constant gap height, much like the lines on a topological map.

Cocoa Engineering by Alex Jordan, Sigrid Adriaenssens and Axel Kilian
Cocoa Engineering by Alex Jordan, Sigrid Adriaenssens and Axel Kilian

A structure made entirely out of chocolate? While it sounds like something out of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, the idea has a serious goal: to systematically understand how the process of design can interact with unexplored materials. What you see here is an inverted hanging shell built with flat ‘frames’ made of chocolate, a quarter of an inch thick each, and welded together with liquid chocolate.

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