Science is the poetry of Nature.

Contributing Authors

Dreamy Images Reveal Beauty in Physics

A dreamy new exhibition of images showcases the art of physics, from the beauty of a bubble rising to the flow of water around coral.

Image 1: Coral polyps sport tiny hair-like appendages called cilia, which they beat rhythmically in the water. Researcher used fluorescent beads to track the flow of water around coral polyps, finding mixing that is perpendicular to the water surface. This fluid motion may enhance photosynthesis and protect the coral from nasty microbes. Credit: Stocker Group, Civil and Environmental Engineering, MIT

Image 2: Water moving around a cylinder forms complex vortex patterns. Credit: C. Morton and S. Yarusevych (University of Waterloo, Canada)

Image 3: This starfish-shaped wave was created by vertically vibrating liquid in a container. The wave pattern alternates between looking like a star and looking like a pentagon. Credit: Jean Rajchenbach, Alphonse Leroux, and Didier Clamond (CNRS and Université de Nice, France)

The images, part of the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics Gallery of Fluid Motion, are drawn from the most artistic and evocative research presented at the Fluid Dynamics annual meeting. The meeting was held from Nov. 18-20 in San Diego.

A panel of referees chose the images based on artistic merit and ability to represent complex physics topics. Among the honorees is a photograph of a flow of honey spiraling as it hits the surface of water in a crystal goblet, representing “liquid rope coiling,” a physics phenomenon that should be familiar to anyone who has ever poured a stream of honey onto a biscuit. In the water, the coiled flow stretches and deforms before settling on the bottom of the glass.


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