When science meets art, it’s safe to say that looks can be deceiving. An exhibition of microscopic art will be held this week at the Technion called “LABSCAPES – Views Through the Microscope” in which what appear to be stunning landscape views are created not with paint, but by simply looking through a microscope.
A team of 29 researchers from the Technion – Israel’s Institute of Technology – was inspired to create works of art by zooming in on the hidden worlds of minuscule creatures, crystals, cells, bacteria, viruses and even single atoms using a standard laboratory tool—the microscope.
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For instance, what appears to be a bouquet of beautiful pink roses will make you double-take when you realize that it is actually an image of the common chemical bond between oxygen and hydrogen known as hydroxyl. Another image of what seems to be a barren tree in winter is, in fact, a network of microscopic and nanometric tunnels inside of one large polymer molecule.
These masterpieces of microscopic art were created by scientists from diverse fields of research, such as the exact sciences, life sciences and the fields of engineering and medicine. Even one of Israel’s most notable science stars and winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Professor Dan Shechtman took part in creating the “Galaxy” image, which happens to be diffracted electrons viewed under a state-of-the-art electron penetrating microscope.
According to the exhibition’s curator Anat Har-Gil, “The exhibition provides a rare glimpse into the hidden world of the Technion’s research laboratories.” Har-Gil adds that the concept at the heart of “LABSCAPES” is based on the element of deception; to an untrained eye, the images appear to be of recognizable scenes in nature, but upon reading the description, the viewer discovers that in fact they are delving into the incredible intricacies of a microscopic world right under their noses.
As the fan base for microscopic art and sculpture continues to grow all over the globe, the “LABSCAPES” exhibit is the first of its kind to be held in Israel.
And as these extraordinary “LABSCAPES” images remind all of us — the beauty of life is in the details.