Crystallization Experiment: Flies

Crystallization Experiment: Flies

Ari Riggins ’23

Computer Science, Visual Arts

In this image, a lantern fly is shown encased in crystals made of sugar. It is part of a series of crystallization experiments completed over the past year investigating different substrates such as yarns/fibers, leaves, and insects. The lantern flies were collected in the fall of 2022 and then placed in a sugar solution to grow the crystals and were produced with a larger body of work displaying different crystal formations and aging compositions. This crystallization work continues today with the use of borax in the creation of larger structures.

Scrat the Microscopic Squirrel Astronaut

Scrat the Microscopic Squirrel Astronaut

Eric Franklin (graduate student), John Schreiber (senior research specialist), Martin Jonikas (faculty)

Molecular Biology

This tiny squirrel—10 times thinner than a human hair—was created in a microscope called a cryo-FIB (focused ion beam). A cryo-FIB is like a cellular vegetable peeler, peeling individual cells open so we can look inside them. In this case, I didn’t fully finish peeling the cell, and the un-peeled material happened to look like a squirrel! I call him a microscopic astronaut because he’s just a few micrometers long, and the inside of the microscope completely lacks air, like outer space. The name “Scrat” is from the “Ice Age” movies, because the microscope is frigid: -190°F! Scrat is sitting on a single photosynthetic algal cell, but I also like to think of it as Scrat’s long-sought-after acorn. We study algae because they absorb CO2 from the air better than crops, and we want to use that ability to make crops that grow more sustainably. To me, Scrat planting his acorn represents our lab’s goals of planting seeds—both the seeds of future discoveries as well as the seeds of improved crops that will feed people more sustainably.

Lightbreak

Lightbreak

Luke Shannon ’24

Computer Science, Visual Arts

A generative light algorithm expands the phenomenon of light reflection and refraction to allow for light to reflect against itself, and at impossible angles, as follows. First, pick a point and direction. Second, release the ray. Third, calculate intersections. Fourth, calculate reflection angle. And repeat.

Configurations of a Six-bigon Ring

Configurations of a Six-bigon Ring

Lauren Dreier, (graduate student), Tian Yu (post-doc), Francesco Marmo (faculty, University of Naples), Stefano Gabriele (faculty, University of Milan), Stefana Parascho (faculty), Sigrid Adriaenssens (faculty)

Form Finding Lab, Civil and Environmental Engineering; School of Architecture

A bigon is formed by joining two elastic ribbons with a fixed angle at both ends. Bigons are bistable, meaning they can be flipped between two orientations. We chained bistable bigons together to form bigon rings, which can assume multiple stable shapes by manipulating individual cells in and out. We find that not all geometric configurations are stable, and changing the geometric properties of the bigon unit cell changes this energy landscape. Here we present a selection of stable configurations that a six-bigon ring can take across various intersection angles. This work was supported by Princeton SEAS Project X Innovation Fund and the Council for International Teaching and Research, Global Collaborative Network: ROBELARCH at Princeton University.

Dancing Before the Hunt

Dancing Before the Hunt

Andy Dobson (faculty), students from Ecology and Epidemiology of Parasites and Infectious Diseases, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Mpala FIeld Station, Laikipia, Kenya

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

African wIld dogs perform a wild dance before heading out for their evening hunt.

Weaving a Plasma Web

Weaving a Plasma Web

Shurik Yatom (staff research physicist, PPPL), Elle Starkman (multimedia specialist, PPPL)

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

A thin plasma filament rapidly dances on the surface of water, creating a web-like appearance.

Life Finds a Way

Life Finds a Way

Luke Maier (graduate student)

School of Public and International Affairs

This image shows acidic steam clouds rising over calcified trees at the boiling hot springs of Paintpot Hill in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. The so-called “Paint Pot geysers” in this area of the park get their name from the thick, opaque mineral-rich water bubbling out of the geysers. The rich minerals have petrified many of the trees in this area, though some living trees remain, having found a way to survive amid these harsh conditions.

[Honorable Mention] Metaz0a

Metaz0a

Wendi Yan ‘23

History of Science, Visual Arts

Metaz0a is a virtual organism that challenges the traditional dichotomy between “natural” and “artificial/technological.” It imagines a future of harmonic meta-symbiosis amongst what is now conceived as “nature,” “technology,” and “human.”

Primordial Vision

Primordial Vision

Wendi Yan ‘23

History of Science, Visual Arts

As a virtual hybrid of alchemy and 3D printing, Primordial Vision returns the viewer to a state of existence in which what lies within one’s visual field is alien, unknowable, and unknown. In this primordial state of vision, there is not yet a power dynamic between the perceiver and what is perceived. There is a suspension, a gap in the viewer’s processing, as these images take the viewer out of their current relationship with nature, technology and all materials.

Ice Ice Baby

Ice Ice Baby

Beth E Jarvie (staff)

Keller Center in the School of Engineering and Applied Science

Ice ice baby, trapped just below the surface, halted in release, restrained in time, in condition, in transport, waiting for the thaw, deliverance, absolution, liberation.

I spied these beautiful orbs of gas floating under the ice on a chilly hike last December at Tyler State Park. A cold snap created some magnificent, jagged slabs of ice stacked along the edge of Neshaminy Creek. However, I was captivated by these spherical, graceful bubbles, which seemed so gentle and playful among the angular, cutting chunks of frozen creek water. I strive to focus attention on the overlooked and often unseen moments of beauty and art that exist within our sight but rarely garner the appreciation they deserve. This image represents one of those moments.