The Art of Science
When two groups of an organism no longer mate with each other, we recognize them as separate species. Reproductive isolation can arise when groups of plants accrue adaptations to different pollinators. Columbine (genus Aquilegia) flower petals have a unique shape, forming a tube (spur) that produces nectar desirable to pollinators. Hummingbirds are attracted to the red and yellow color of A. formosa and most efficiently transfer pollen between short spurred flowers (right, center). Hawkmoths are attracted to the white color of A. pubescens and most efficiently transfer pollen between long spurred flowers (left, center). We can use natural hybrids of these species in which color and spur length vary (petals imaged using an Epson Perfection V370 scanner) in order to identify the genes that cause variation in these traits, adding to our knowledge of the genetic basis of the process of speciation.
Second Place Tie
Semiconducting polymers have great potential for a wide variety of low-cost, flexible electronics. The electrical properties are determined, in large part, from their arrangement in the thin film across many length-scales. Based on the analysis of a high-resolution electron micrograph, solid lines have been drawn parallel to the average direction of the polymer backbones. Looking through the film one observes long, flowing, and overlapping/woven structures that illustrate the complexity and elegance of the self-assembly at the nano- and micron-scale. The polymer backbones often locally align over several hundreds of nanometers and form domains. The overlapping/woven regions bridge the domains together, forming a highly interconnected morphology that is believed to benefit the electronic properties.
Second Place Tie & Winner of Popular Vote
This photomicrograph of a garnet mica schist collected in the Solu Khumbu rregion of Nepal near Mount Everest, is a beautiful example of a metamorphic rock that dove to temperatures near 400 degrees Celsius and pressures of .5 GPa, approximately 15 km below the surface of the Earth. Taken under crossed polarized light this photomicrograph illuminates microscopic mineral properties and metamorphic textures that explain the history of deformation this rock has experienced during its journey back to the surface from depths of 15 km to topographic heights of 5 km where it was found in the Himalayan Mountains. Chemical reactions enabled the growth of new minerals and textures in the rock while other minerals broke down during deformation. This stunning example of a garnet, muscovite, and quartz rich schist is reminiscent of Van Gogh's famous 1889 oil painting 'The Starry Night' and is a beautiful visual record of the growth of the Himalayan Mountains.
This etch-a-sketch style picture was created during a growth of GaSb by molecular beam epitaxy. It is the result of a random walk pattern taken by excessive metallic Ga droplets on the surface during growth, due to Sb deficiency. I think it looks like a robot looking at a person with lots of hair, but other people have seen different images, which is why I believe the artistic interpretation of this picture is so great. Hope that you like it!
It should be noted that I also entered this picture in the Materials Art competition in 2011.
Image of lipid domains in model myelin lipid bilayers obtained with fluorescence microscope.The image was post modified by ImageJ software (pseudo color, find edge). We found that lipid domains in myelin membranes are controlling the adsorption of a certain protein (Myelin Basic Protein), which is responsible for the stability of myelin structure by acting as a protein glue between bilayers.
Pseudocolor plot of the fifty-first most observable mode of a reaction-diffusion system. Given an initial configuration of a linear dynamical system linear readout of the internal states, the Observability Gramian completely characterizes the resulting energy of the resulting output signal. By computing a spectral decomposition of the Observability Gramian, one can identify the most relevant components of the state space needed to reconstruct the output signal. Novel numerical linear algebra techniques allow fast low-rank adaptive approximation of the Gramian quickly getting good resolution of the important directions while ignoring the others.
Two organisms contacting each other before fusing blood vessels and allowing blood to flow between two colonies. The blood vessels of these animals have been injected with two different fluorophores, Alexafluor488 and Alexfluor594, which allow us to image the extracorporeal vasculature of each animal. The differentiated ends of the vasculature, known as ampullae, have just contacted each other and have begun the allorecognition process.
Scanning electron microscope image from the cross-section of electrical-chemical deposited Au clusters on ITO surface. The hierarchy micro-nano structures serve as delicate framework in wettability study.
Tin and manganese oxides were ground, pressed into pellets and reacted in nitrogen gas to form SnMn2O4 (tin manganese oxide spinel). Upon heating in a reducing atmosphere (5% hydrogen:95% nitrogen gas), the spinel structure is reduced to manganese oxide and pure tin. The phase change prompts the formation of tin particles with a range in diameter from hundreds of nanometers to tens of microns. Similar phenomena occur in other ternary compounds. Preferential removal of sacrificial phases and elements that leave behind specialized architectures offer promise for template-free synthesis of porous materials.
Photoelectrochemical etching (PECE) has been applied to InAlGaN system to make highly-efficient energy devices. We are able to make a selective and controllable etching of the different layers of complex epitaxial structure grown by MOCVD and make complex optoelectronics and electronic devices. In the photo the tensile strain of the SiN over the GaN has lifted up a partially etched laser stripe and another stripe has penetrated in that gap after bending for several microns without breaking.
Brittle stars are amazing fragile creatures but possess impressive powers of regeneration. Their unique evolutionary position makes them a potential Rosetta Stone for explaining the origins of appendage regeneration and the corresponding lack of limb regeneration in humans. The image is a montage of two epifluorescence micrographs of regenerating brittle stars stained for cell structural elements and nuclei.
Garden of Golden Flowers pictured here is a scanning electron micrograph of gold nanoplatelets grown into layers forming flower-like structures. The golden flower is synthesized by using amino acids as reducing and capping agent. The golden flower is just one of the many structures, such as nanoribbons, nanoparticles etc., that can be synthesized with amino acids, but it is definitely the most enchanting structure among all.
A Technicolor Approach to your Brain
Panuakdet Suwannatat, Gabriel Luna, Tobias Hollerer, and Steven Fisher
This image is a high-resolution, wide-field montage of the entire surface of the mouse retina. This image is comprised of several hundred images (tiles) individually collected and then seamlessly stitched; together into one large image, in a manner similar to that of Google earth. Individual cells, in this case retinal astrocytes, are then manually identified and annotated by a researcher, subsequently those annotations are used by a custom visualization program to segment out single-cell boundaries and assigned unique hues to discern bio-territories. This novel technique allows scientists in the visual neuroscience community to extract biologically meaningful quantitative data on an unprecedented scale to use for comparisons to aging, developing, or diseased retinas.