17 Apr 2010

Neutron Star by Johnny and the Chemists

I made this animation for Johnny Drain, an exceptionally talented scientist who also writes beautiful little numbers. The visuals are modeled on vintage science footage, from films such as the Bell System Science series. It was all done using projectors and a digital stills camera.

Johnny & the Chemists have made a few songs about science and mathematics, including a love song that delightfully rhymes “calculate it” with extrapolate it”. Confusingly, Johnny & the Chemists is actually just one man, Johnny Drain, and a guitar, although he works closely with Natalie Kay-Thatcher, an illustrator who also makes rather lovely videos. ‘Neutron Star’, which was specially written and recorded as an EXCLUSIVE for the 2010 festival.

Taken from the Geek Pop website.

Listen to more Johnny and the Chemists here.

6 Apr 2010

Diffraction pattern of a Manganese-Silicide crystal

This was taken on a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) which is conceptually similar to a normal microscope except that it uses electrons rather than light (photons). Electron wavelengths can be much smaller than light wavelengths so it produces a greater magnification.

The centre dot is the e-beam, the larger brighter dots are images of the individual columns of Manganese atoms and the smaller fainter dots are the silicon. The scale is in micrometres, which is bafflingly small and hard to visualise in our human scale!

The image was taken by Matt LeBlanc, a very interesting physicist studying at Acadia University and soon to be working at Cern. It is one of the most beautiful things ever given to me. I could stare endlessly at it pondering other dimensions of scale and time.