Next week, hundreds of virtual and in-person events are going to happen across the country as part of National Science Week.
One event, run at Adelaide-based X-ray imaging company Micro-X, aims to find the art in scientific imagery. Done in collaboration with Digido Studios and Flinders University, the Seeing Things Differently event will allow people to tour the factory making next-generation X-ray machinery, and join in photography workshops.
Visitors will also be able to view a gallery of incredible science-based images made by high school students. Cosmos has been given permission to display the gallery virtually: we hope you enjoy these pictures!
Seeing Things Differently 2020
At last year’s Seeing Things Differently event, high school students took X-ray images of common household objects and combined them with visual photographs.
Final edits have been done by Digido Studios.
Which of these images is an X-ray and which is a visible-light photograph? While the bear and its flowers look like they’re glowing in the dark, they’ve actually just been colour-reversed. The blue rose, however, is an X-ray, which has been digitally coloured.
X-rays have to be finely tuned to use on people while causing minimal damage, but technicians can be more flexible when working with inanimate objects, trying frequencies that reveal interesting layers. The image of the eye, however, was taken with a normal camera.
Different elements absorb X-rays in different amounts. The delicate organic tissues of this flower show up very faintly compared to the metals in the camera, pen and USB stick.
X-rays have been used by palaeontologists for over a century to learn more about fossils. Recently, for instance, micro-CT scanning showed that a pterodactyl had opposable thumbs. Neither the plastic dinosaur (visible light photo) nor the flowers (X-rayed) in this image are fossils, but they both hark back to older times.
X-rays are much shorter frequency than visible light rays, but they’re both part of the same electromagnetic spectrum. This X-ray of a rose has been digitally coloured to show the visible light spectrum.
Cochlear Aurora Photo Contest
The Cochlear Aurora Photo Contest is an annual photography competition open to female high school students in South Australia and the Northern Territory. Run by Flinders University, the contest encourages students to take photographs that convey the theme “Science is Everywhere!”.
The below images are the winning entries from 2020. If you are female and in years 7-12 in SA or the NT, you’re eligible to enter this year’s Aurora Photo Contest. Entries close on 27 September – click here for more information.
“Light travels as transverse waves. Whenever any type of wave energy makes contact with a material surface, it will be either reflected, refracted or dispersed. Reflections are a result of the interaction between electromagnetic radiation waves with the surface of a reflective material. They are created when a surface mirrors light rather than absorb it. If the surface is smooth like glass, metal or water as displayed in the photograph, the light will be reflected at the same angle as it hits the surface. In this instance, the reflected light rays all travel in the same direction. This reflection is called specular reflection. Water being a reflective surface is especially effective at mirroring the light when it is flat and still. The water in the photograph is extremely still, allowing a perfect mirror image of the coloured lights to be displayed as a reflection on the water. Colour is a characteristic of visual perception that produces sensations on the eye as a result of the way an object reflects light. Many different colours are displayed and reflected in the photograph. Reflections and colours are two examples of science displayed in everyday life and captured in this photograph.”
“This photo was taken by me in the National Art Gallery in London whilst on vacation. I not only admired the art work in the gallery but the amazing architecture.
This wonder dominates the stair case but also the intellect’s brain, as they begin to explore how and why this mathematical marvel was created. Who was the engineer? What materials made the dome? And how does the dome hold itself up? Well the simple answer is science and maths.
But this dome doesn’t just appeal to the “intellect”. It appeals to everyone of all ages. Even if they aren’t staring at the dome wondering how big the circumference of the main circle is, most on lookers can appreciate the intricate shapes found within. In fact this simple dome can easily inspire the young minds of tomorrow to look past the simple 2D shapes and look at a collection of different shapes compiled to construct this dome.
So this relates to the subject “Science is Everywhere” as not only does the photo display multiple shapes such as; circles, triangles and quadrilaterals that can inspire young minds, but it also requires complex processes and mathematical and scientific reasoning to construct.“
“This photo captures two principles of science, light shockwaves and reflection. When photons — or rays of light — coming from the blue light shockwaves strike the smooth surface of the mirror, the light bounces back at the same angle. Your eyes see these reflected photons as a mirror image. The blue geode which is a segment of volcanic rock, which is sitting in the middle is illuminated by the shockwaves reflecting off the mirror. The light shockwaves forms when the local air pressure increases and then spreads out sideways, which as shown within the picture as blue dispersion of light. Science is all around us, from every time we look in a mirror to little treasures hidden inside rocks. When you combine them, they create awe-inspiring moments for us to capture.”
“Recently I went on a school trip to the Flinders Ranges. While at a lookout in Bunyeroo valley there was a fascinating rainbow ring around the sun. The natural occurrence is caused by tiny icicles that refract the sunlight causing a ring or ‘halo’ to appear around the sun. I was truly intrigued by this and captured this photo as it was something I had never seen before and with the already naturally beautiful scenery of the Flinders Ranges was simply breathtaking.”
“Science is everywhere and when taking a closer look and observing things from a different perspective so much more can be seen and revealed about the world around us. Nature is very complex and made up of many systems and processes one of which I was lucky enough to witness. When observing the wildlife and plants of my grandparent’s garden I noticed a fairly large butterfly hovering around darting from bush to bush. When I took a closer look, I noticed that it was laying a single egg on various leaves of the grapefruit tree. I attached my micro lens to my phone and captured this photograph of one the tiny eggs. After some research of the butterfly, I was able to identify its species as the Papilio anactus commonly known as the dainty swallowtail. These native butterflies are predominantly found in the south-eastern region of Australia. Females lay their eggs on the edge of soft newly grown shoots of citrus plants. This photograph captures the truly captivating and extraordinary beauty of science and demonstrates how science is occurring everywhere, in every detail of nature science is behind it.”
“This photo shows that ‘science is everywhere’ because this photo includes a lens ball which uses refraction. Refraction is the bending of light it occurs when light travels towards an object of denser mass. refraction is at 0°, at 0° the light goes towards the denser mass of the object, as it hits the denser mass of the object the light comes back at the same direction and angle it went toward the glass or object. I think this relates to ‘science is everywhere’ because refraction can happen in water, air, glass and more. there is science in water because of bacteria and life underwater, in air because of living creatures and in glass because of light, refractions, and more, they all include particles as well.”
“The rose was put into water with black food colouring in it and the patterns on the petals show the movement of the water into them. The water moves up the plant due to two processes – transpiration and cohesion. Transpiration is when the water evaporates from the leaves and petals and then pulls water up the stem (the xylem), of the plant. The water that has evaporated then pulls up more water due to a process of cohesion, where the water molecules stick to each other. This is known as capillary action. By looking at the petals of the rose, you can see how the dyed water has moved up into the petals, which stops the rose from wilting and drying out. All plants do this – proving that ‘Science is Everywhere’!”.
“Occasionally, in freezing climates, peculiar “ice spikes” can be seen protruding upwards from a frozen surface, for example in a lake or bird bath. These can also sometimes be seen forming in ice cubes in the household freezer – their origin lies in chemical and physical properties. As liquid water freezes, first, inwards along the surface of the ice cube tray compartment and then along its sides, its volume increases due to rearrangement of the hydrogen and oxygen atoms to form a lower density (by about 9%), hexagonal prism, crystal lattice – water is one of the few substances in which the solid form is less dense than the liquid. The progressively expanding volume of ice increases the pressure of the liquid water core of the ice cube and forces it upwards through a yet unfrozen hole in the surface. As the liquid protrudes out of the surface of the cube, its surface freezes and envelopes the growing spike of liquid water, until the spike tip freezes over. Water is the most abundant molecule on the Earth’s surface and is all around us – just as science is – its physical and chemical properties on vivid display.“
“The picture taken represents oil droplets upon water, and the differentiating colours showcase the barriers between these two substances. It shows that science can be seen within simple yet still complicated mixtures of oil and water which choose not be combined instead lay upon each other. Science is not one big combination of elements, instead they lay upon each other to form a structure and work off each other.”
“This photo demonstrates Newton’s 3rd law; That for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Force is equal to mass times acceleration (f=ma). The hand transfers force to the bag moving it with a certain amount of force depending on the mass and acceleration of the fist. Then the bag in return transfers the same amount of force back into the fist. This can be observed through the movement of the caulk and the rebound of the hand.“
“Without bees the humans would not be able to survive. Earthwatch Institute declares that bees are the most important species living on plant Earth. Bees go around from plant to plant, pollinating as it goes. Pollination is when pollen from a male part of a flower is transferred to a female flower of the same species. Once the pollen has been transferred to the female it then allows for seeds to be produced. Different species of bees may transfer pollen on different parts on their body. Some bees transfer the pollen on their hind legs and some on their abdomens. Either way, the process is still the same. When a bee is flying, they become positively charged with static electricity. So, when they land on a flower the negatively-charged pollen sticks to the positively static-charged hair on their legs. Some of our favourite fruits, vegetables and nuts depend on bees and pollination. Things like watermelon, almonds, lettuce, cherries, strawberries, garlic, apples, beans, cucumber, peaches, pears, sweet potatoes and so many others wouldn’t be possible without bees.“
“Zooxanthellae are a microscopic algae living inside coral tissue. They are photosynthetic which means they get all of their energy from the sun; they then use this energy to provide a food and energy source to the coral. This is called an endosymbiotic relationship. Zooxanthellae have pigments inside of them that give corals their bright colours.
Being photosynthetic, coral reefs only exist in shallow waters where sunlight can reach them.
Healthy corals can come in different shades of green, blue, red, tan and yellow. In a healthy coral colony, nothing is affected by bleaching or disease. Unfortunately, around 50% of our coral reefs are dead or dying.
When coral is stressed by changes to its environment such as temperature or ocean acidity, the coral can expel the zooxanthellae, leaving the coral skeleton bare. This is dangerous because it leaves the coral skeleton vulnerable to being overtaken by other invasive alga that essentially kill the coral. It is possible for the bleaching to be reversed if the environment returns to normal conditions in a short time span. Otherwise, the coral will die. Coral that has been bleached and taken over by invasive algae often becomes grey or brown in colour.“
“This photo describes a natural object, the flower, inside a man made object, a playground tunnel, thus the name floating on metal. The flower is being reflected into the water because of the water’s reflective surface. The water turns out to be see as pristine blue due to again the water’s reflective surface reflecting the blue of the background behind it. Water is a reflective object that can help create amazing pieces of art and this is helped by science showing us why this happens. We hope that we will start thinking about how science has helped us create things of beauty by simply explaining to us the simplest of concepts, by learning of the law of reflection me and my partner where able to create this photo. Hopefully someday in the future we will be able to use science to help us make everyday objects – like a flower and a tunnel – look like an amazing piece of art.“
“Did you know many scientists believe that all life on earth evolved from a single-celled organism which lived approximately 3.5 billion years ago? Although today there are millions of species which inhabit the sea, land and sky on our planet, they are all connected in a sense that they are all living, breathing organisms with an instinct to reproduce and survive. Even we humans are considered members of the animal kingdom. But what made a group of single-celled organisms so unique and varied? In short, the answer is evolution. Evolution is a species’ natural tendency to change its physical features, behaviour, and diet in order to have the best chance at survival. In the photograph seen above, the eye of a cat (left) and the eye of a human male (right) are aligned in comparison. While the cat’s pupil is a slit and the iris takes up most of the visible eyeball, the human’s pupil is round and the iris is significantly smaller. Variation like this is a result of survival adaption, such that a cat requires sharp eyes for hunting at night, while humans are thought to have smaller eyes to detect emotion and subtly communicate with other humans.“
“COVID has taught us the importance of washing our hands but next time you’re washing your hands, look closely! As light reflects on the front and back surfaces of the thin film of soap the light waves will interfere constructively and destructively to create different wavelengths of visible light. The beautiful swirling effect is a result of the movement of air affecting the thickness of the film, which results in visible patterns.“
“Take this bee for example – this photo of her was snapped while walking through the school yard. At first glance she might just seem like a little insect flying around from flower to flower, but look closer and you’ll notice how crucial her role is to the survival of our world. Without her travelling around pollenating our plantations, approximately 70 of the 100 crops our population lives off would die out. The entire world around us would be drastically affected if bees stopped doing their jobs. Flowers and crops would be scarce, food webs would be altered and entire ecosystems would be disrupted. Bees affect us in almost every walk of life, and they are critical everywhere if we are to continue thriving as a population. Thus, without little bees just like this one pollenating flowers, spring would not have sprung.“
” ‘Where the world begins’ describes a paddock scene with a background rainbow. The photo pinpoints the ideas of society perceiving ‘science’ as mixing chemicals and blowing things up and while this may be true, it’s important to note that science is far more than just these things, this photo shows science through a natural lens. The rainbow that is seen in the background all happens through science, the way the pivot runs all happens through science, everything in this photo is brought to life by science. from the grass to the sky everything comes from some form of science, natural or not. I think is really important to showcase this idea and I wanted to enter a photo that showcases science in its purest form which is why I chose ‘Where the world begins’. I chose the name where the world begins as the photograph very much depicts the begins of most things, for example in order to feed a town farming is required and farming could be considered the beginnings of food production lines. As well as this some of the simplest things like rainbows happen to be some of the first things to ever be observed on earth.“
“In specular reflection the incident light waves bounce off a surface as reflecting light waves. The angle of incidence is the angle between the incident light waves and the normal. This angle is equal to the angle of reflection, this is the angle between the normal and the reflecting light waves. This concept is known as the Law of Reflection, this concept is different from refraction as the waves of light are not being separated into their colour components, in reflection all wavelengths are being reflected at equal angles. The image ‘Time to Reflect’ relates to the subject ‘Science is Everywhere’ as it shows how concepts in photography e.g. reflecting light and images, can have strong links to science and scientific laws. The subject of a frog, is also important as the health of frogs reflect the healthiness of our environment, being small creatures they are usually the first to be affected by changes to their environment by things such as pollution and acid rain.“
“Fingerprint Flames shows a rendition of the Flame Test. A blend of different coloured flames have been created from igniting salts saturated in an alcohol. The four chlorides (potassium, lithium, strontium, barium) and two sulphates (copper, sodium) used, all have unique atomic emission spectra (ES) which is responsible for the range of colours seen. I shot the range of colours radiating from the different piles to communicate the elaborate concept of unique emission spectra. When a chemical compound is given enough energy (provided by fire here), the atoms within absorb this energy and raise to a higher energy-level. However, their instability means they quickly drop back to ground level. During this, energy as electromagnetic radiation is emitted. Each element’s unique electron configuration means they emit specific wavelengths of light and have characteristic emission line spectra. The idea to photograph the coloured flames fusing was to creatively and aesthetically represent how the understanding of ES applies to our society in that, these emission lines act like a fingerprint, allowing us to identify chemicals especially when they are mixed. From making fireworks, to even discovering the components of stars, our society’s use of the concepts photographed truly show that science is everywhere!”
“Science is everywhere. It’s in nature, agriculture and the impact of world food production. Cloven-Hoofed cattle are bred globally for milk and meat production. Farming them has a significant impact on the natural environment. In order to solve issues regarding the subject, we need to look at the biological roots of the problem. One of the biggest dilemmas in the agricultural world today is the fact that we don’t have a solution for preventing the effects that livestock farming gives on the earth, the biggest being the emissions created by the animals and the process of making the food. farming makes up a third of the greenhouse gasses emitted in the atmosphere, and it’s significantly impacted by climate change. Each year, cows produce 34.6 billion kg of CO2, and by limiting demand of cow products, we can reduce the overall emissions by 15%. By using more eco-friendly farming methods, it benefits not only the future of agriculture, but also the future of the overall natural environment.”
“Have you ever been curious why the image appears upside down inside a crystal ball? This photograph best illustrates the physics concept of refraction. The glass sphere functions as a large collecting surface for the light rays; when the light passes through an object of denser mass, such as glass, refraction occurs. In this case, light is bent through the crystal sphere and creates a distortion, hence inverting the photograph. Then refracted toward a common focal point similar to a ‘convex lens.’
Along with the blurred bokeh background, it creates a magical and compelling image. This photo was shot at a contemporary art museum in Shanghai around New Year time.”
All the photos, plus more images like the Royal Australian Chemical Institute’s Periodic Table, will be on display at Seeing Things Differently.
Originally published by Cosmos as Gallery: Seeing Things Differently
Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
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