Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has produced more proof that science can make beautiful art.
The public voted on its favorite scientific images, with a tie declared from votes cast via Facebook for the most artistic image of the annual competition.
In one image, custom-made carbon materials caught by a sophisticated scientific microscope seem to take on the shape of a sunflower lying in a tangle of grass.
Researches are synthesizing new materials within of the pores of commercially available carbon felt, creating smaller and smaller pores to increase surface areas. The material could have applications in cooling, energy storage or transportation.
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The other top winner was another microscopic image, this one looking like coral against a dark background.
It is actually a battery electrode surface using certain molecules from a complex mixture of raw components.
A third winner was picked by PNNL director Steven Ashby.
The Director’s Choice Award went to a brightly colored image of amorphous gel at the molecular scale, caught as it transformed from a liquid to a stable nanoparticle solid. The photo was from research to develop a material to treat harmful emissions before they pass through the exhaust pipe of vehicles.
It’s not just the local community that has recognized the beauty in images created as part of research at the Department of Energy national lab in Richland.
An image included among the 94 submitted for the PNNL online contest was picked as a finalist in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology’s BioArt contest.
The image shows a surprise found by scientists studying how ancient glass has aged. They found the remains of bacteria that once lived on the glass.
The research is being done to help determine the long-term stability of glassified waste to be made at the Hanford vitrification plant.