Celebrating the art of science
November 14th, 2011
02:09 PM ET

Celebrating the art of science

In the course of their work, scientists get to see some really cool things. Princeton University's Art of Science competition challenges researchers in the New Jersey school's community to capture some of that stunning beauty that is either natural or manufactured in the course of study.

Princeton released an online gallery for this year's contest today. Light Years is featuring some of them for your enjoyment.

The image above, by graduate student Yunlai Zha in the department of electrical engineering, shows arsenic sulphide dissolved in a solution, after being spin-coated and baked on a chrome-evaporated slide.

Believe it or not, this "flower" and the surrounding "water" are made of the same material: a ferrofluid, which is a liquid mixed with small metallic particles. In the presence of a magnetic field, it can become magnetized, and can be a liquid or a solid depending on whether there's a magnetic field or not, explains Elle Starkman of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

This mouse neuron has been growing for about two weeks in a tissue culture dish. Assistant professor Lisa Boulanger and her collaborator Lawrence Fourgeaud tagged the neurons with fluorescently-labeled antibodies so that they could see certain proteins of interest. In this image, under laser illumination, insulin receptors glow green and dendrites show up as red. The scientists collected this image using a spinning disk laser confocol microscope.

Boulanger uses these neurons to study specific immune system proteins that are found in the nervous system. Her research may help design new treatments to reduce the risk or slow the progression of a variety of disorders, including epilepsy, autism, schizophrenia, and type 2 diabetes.

This is the winning image from this year's competition, "Chaos and geomagnetic reversals" by postdoc Christophe Gissinger. He shows here a model illustrating the reversals of the Earth's magnetic field.

Read more about this and other entries from Princeton.

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Nondende

    Science is a wonder beautiful pics.

    November 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  2. neni

    Science,d wonder of human nature!!!!!

    November 16, 2011 at 2:40 am |
  3. Get your mind around this

    Magnificent images! LightYears scored a home run with this. Thank you!

    November 16, 2011 at 1:14 am |
  4. sunny lovetts

    Evolution is Bull crap. I have proof, look in the mirror.

    November 15, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • bewertow

      I hope you're kidding...

      November 15, 2011 at 1:00 am |
  5. DrK

    I love it. I get to see glimpses of God.
    Areligious, no xtian Obama voter in case anyone's stereotyping.

    November 15, 2011 at 12:13 am |
  6. YourMom

    The pea party hates it when CNN has articles like this.

    November 15, 2011 at 12:11 am |
  7. sybaris


    None of that is in the Bible!

    Science is de work of de debil

    November 14, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  8. MAry

    well science is of low interest to most people because it is a very complicated subject

    November 14, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • Enrico

      Teach us Mary!

      November 14, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  9. thes33k3r

    Science! The best method we have to try understand the universe and our place in it.

    Beautiful images. Kudos to CNN for Light Years.

    November 14, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • Enrico

      Yeah! Thanks science, for teaching us all, that the world is big and full of shit!

      November 14, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
      • ToldUso

        That may be an accurate description for you, too.

        November 15, 2011 at 7:10 am |
  10. EdgarX

    Science is the Alpha and the Omega. It unmistakably tells us who we are, how we exist, where we came from and where we’re going. Without it we are blind creatures navigating a giant universe with no clue. Science is who we are. Science is who we’ll be. Science is the only truth. Science is all there is !!!

    November 14, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • Enrico

      Science has yet to fully explain the beginning or the end. So how could it be the Alpha and Omega? Just a theory.

      November 14, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
      • Yes It Is FAKE

        Absolutely correct! So, as an alternative to science and rationality, let's just base our worldview on a fantasy some 2000 y.o. unwashed nomads hallucinating in the desert pulled out of their collective a$$es! That makes sense!

        November 15, 2011 at 1:26 am |
      • bewertow

        Beginning: the big bang.

        End: heat death

        November 15, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  11. guest

    I would absolutely hang the first and last images on my wall – amazing.

    November 14, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Enrico

      You can! Just nail your PC to the wall and turn on the screensaver!

      November 14, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
      • Jason

        Your comment made my night. Thank you, Enrico.

        November 14, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
  12. sharoom

    These are pretty cool. I've seen videos of the ferrofluid one and the way it just morphs is awesome!

    November 14, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
  13. areyouserious?

    How does the coolest article on CNN today have zero comments?

    November 14, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • Guest

      Because there is no way at all this article can be even remotely linked to anything about politics,religion,or race,or any of that other stuff idiots comment about online

      November 14, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • JT

      Because most off the American public had rather read articles about the Kardachians than something that might educate them.

      November 14, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
      • MissionAccomp

        You are so correct.

        November 14, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
      • Enrico

        You are so incorrect! Most Americans don't read. They watch the Kardachians.

        November 14, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • Enrico

      In the name of science I have to ask, how can you not know that by posting your comment, the accusation of 'zero comments' to your question becomes mute? You should have remained silent or at least asked how this article could only have 'one comment'. The lack of respect and desire to know the truth of science has not only shown you are no man of science yourself, but rather, simply presumed (which no respectable scientist should do) that commenting on science would make you cool. Wrong presumption my friend! Not only are you still not cool, but you have also screwed with the dynamics of several parallel universes. I hope your happy now!

      November 14, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
      • Andrew

        Pedagogical note... the word you're looking for is 'moot', not 'mute' 😛

        November 15, 2011 at 1:41 am |


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