Glass Microbiology
September 3, 2009 4:21 PM   Subscribe

Glass Microbiology "These transparent glass sculptures were created to contemplate the global impact of each disease and to consider how the doctoring of scientific imagery affects our visualization of phenomena."
posted by dhruva (9 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Wish they had an online store. I'd like to purchase a communicable disease.

Wow, first time I ever said that...
posted by Splunge at 5:12 PM on September 3, 2009

Beautiful, and well-thought out.

I've always hated false coloring of Electron Microscopy pics, especially since visible light wavelengths are larger than an individual virus particle.
posted by benzenedream at 5:45 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

They're red if me and a vial of fluorescently labeled antibodies say they are!

Well thought out? Don't get me wrong, I love the disparaged as much as the next guy, but if you're going to get bent out of shape because they're drawing things too small to be seen using light with a color (or for that matter, lines) you might as well just punch people when every they use a verbs that suggests that things move instead of ceasing being one place and start being at another over and over and over.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:21 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

yeah...everything has a color. maybe each individual is too small to percieve its color, but fill a vial with them and you'll see what color they are. also, compared to the glass protist models at the AMNH in NYC, these are pretty can see some of them here...warning: crappy flash (sometimes loads images from previous click), glass models not identified as such...a few are under 'green algae' and 'cnidarians' (including jellyfish) but most are under 'rotifers'...these things are amazing in person, some are so delicate and covered in spicules you wonder how they even installed them. sorry, but these things are pier 1 margarita glasses in comparison...check em out.
posted by sexyrobot at 6:57 PM on September 3, 2009

Jerram's glass microbes are pretty, and I certainly wouldn't mind having a few around the house, but they're not provoking any thoughts about global impact of disease, whether the pictures are colorized or not. Admittedly I'm kind of dense about the meaning of art and I rarely get the kind of emotional impact from looking at pictures that other people report, like all of the FPPs about various Flickr sets that get heartfelt comments, and I sit here wondering what the big deal is and basically feeling dumb and like I'm missing some important synapses ...

Uh oh, reached the point of no return on that previous grammatical nightmare. Anyway, do people really look at these models of microbes and ponder the global impact of disease? Or do they just see cool and bizarre organisms that look totally different from macroscopic creatures, made from lovely shiny sparkly glass?

Jerram is clearly an "idea man", and some of the stuff elsewhere on his website is delightful. The gifts are whimsical, clever, and Dr Seuss-ish. I'd love a set of self-extinguishing candlesticks.

But for sheer elegance in realistic glass models of living organisms, the work of the Blaschkas (previously) is unsurpassed, as far as I know. I've seen the flowers at Harvard - gorgeous - and I looked for the protozoans at the AMNH in NYC when I was there a few weeks ago. Unfortunately the display I remember from 2 or 3 decades ago isn't there any more and a staffer didn't know what I was talking about (and sexyrobot's link didn't work for me) so I don't know where those breathtaking gossamer and crystal confections went. Is it still possible to see them?
posted by Quietgal at 8:15 PM on September 3, 2009

I know right, and Russia totally isn't orange either!

liars - all of them.
posted by sloe at 10:03 PM on September 3, 2009

So what color are electrons?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:26 PM on September 3, 2009

do they flow?
posted by OneOliveShort at 1:31 AM on September 4, 2009

I don't know where those breathtaking gossamer and crystal confections went. Is it still possible to see them?

YES! they were originally in some cases in the downstairs lobby and i was horrified when they took them away, but they're really displayed much better now in the "Wall of Biodiversity" (link in my comment above) each of the major phyla has its own segment of the wall from bacteria through mammals, with a gorgeous array of specimens for each one. the glass models are there now, hung floating in space and backlit. (it's in the hall of biodiversity along with the model rainforest and the preserved giant squid)

So what color are electrons?

silver. srsly. thats why metals are shiny/reflective...all the free electrons. ever heard the phrase "40 coats of hand rubbed lacquer"? the reason it's so glossy is that rubbing each coat with a soft cloth transfers electrons to the surface which are trapped by the next coat. the only things that don't reeally have color, but appear to, are things like bug wings and feathers where the colors appear due to diffraction effects from fine structure...of course, they have an underlying natural color, but you have to grind it up to see it. (a bit on peacock feathers here)
posted by sexyrobot at 3:02 AM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

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