[box]This post originally appeared on the FTMF.info planning blog.[/box]
In this post, let’s explore the link between the twin worlds of microbiology and creative thought, drawing inspiration from three brilliant scientific discoveries. Labcoats on, people!
If a sea sponge (phylum porifera) is forced through a sieve to disintegrate it down to its cellular level, those cells, if left alone, will recombine into a sponge again:
Lesson: some ideas only make sense as a whole – passing them through a ‘sieve test’ can reveal whether they were ever meant to be, while others may naturally merge together.
A single-celled slime mold (physarum polycephalum) can solve mazes, mimic the layout of man-made transportation networks and choose the healthiest food from a diverse menu – and all this without a brain or nervous system:
Lesson: deploy resources efficiently – really smart solutions often arise naturally, yet knowing what’s best still requires lots of prior research. But hey, if a slime mold can do it…
Scientists have created an artificial jellyfish using silicone and muscle cells from a rat’s heart. The synthetic creature, dubbed a medusoid, looks like a flower with eight petals. When placed in an electric field, it pulses and swims exactly like its living counterpart:
Lesson: even the most difficult concept can be somehow ‘brought to life’ – be it in a new context, through the addition of a couple of key ingredients, or sheer appliance of science!
Today is the 50th birthday of the first practical LED, an invention built on an understanding that has transformed our lives: enabling cheap, mass-produced and very hardy display and lighting technologies.
A while back, GE produced a great piece of branded content featuring its inventor, Prof. Nick Holonyak, where he offers some insight into the moment that his light emitting diodes were first conceived:
He leaves us with the advice to “Learn more, do more, build more, reveal more”, which doesn’t take a physicist to know is just brilliant advice for life, for ‘inventors’ of all kinds.
“And you know what? This isn’t the end!”
Nucleus Medical Media’s 2011 3D medical animation demo reel shows surgery, anatomy, mechanism of action (MOA), and physiology produced for medical devices, pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology, marketing agencies, lawyers, and more.
What Nucleus don’t include in their showreel’s YouTube description, but will become apparent, is that they are probably among the finest computer animators working today.
In my view they depict very complicated biomechanical processes so very clearly, and quite beautifully too. Here’s the aforementioned showreel:
My question is, how is it these guys are nailing it so hard?! Are they scientists trained in CAD, or the reverse?
You might have heard of quantum levitation, AKA the Meissner effect, flux pinning or superconducting magnetic levitation. But if you haven’t had the pleasure, then here’s what the fuss is all about:
When those two magnets are placed on the track and sent swirling in different directions, don’t you wish you could have a go yourself? Just me? I suppose I do bloody love magnets. But I’m not alone in this, however…
A team from the ‘Japan Institute of Science and Technology’ (JIST) have sought to create a table-top game using the principles of quantum levitation at it’s core. Their inspiration? The classic racer wipE’out” on PlayStation.
Although there is some skepticism as to the authenticity of this work (there is no JIST and their video looks too smooth) the proof of concept alone is very cool, and obviously a lot of work has been put into this very clever fake. Take a look for yourself:
Emotive, powerful discourse on why one man believes in science, not religion – Science Saved My Soul