Archive for December, 2009

V.L- Maine Solarsystem

December 23, 2009

Thanks to EMIP –

BBC News – Video of deepest undersea volcano eruption ever recorded

December 18, 2009

Makes for weird-watching. Can’t blink.

Micro-gravity + Alka-Seltzer = *joy

December 16, 2009

Sublime goodness.

V.I. – Sterioscopic Drawings by Maxwell

December 15, 2009

Back to J.C.Maxwell, his sterioscopic drawings, that is …

Stereoscopy, stereoscopic imaging or 3-D (three-dimensional) imaging is any technique capable of recording three-dimensional visual information or creating the illusion of depth in an image. The illusion of depth in a photograph, movie, or other two-dimensional image is created by presenting a slightly different image to each eye.

… gave an strong visual interpretation of mathematical and generally, hypothetical planes and spaces, much like a mobius strip etc. From page 158 of The Scientific Papers of James Clark Maxwell are the plates I. Horned Cyclide II. Parabolic Cyclide –

Also spotted in The Science Museum. Mathematics bit.

V.I. – William Herschel discovered Uranus

December 15, 2009
Went to the Science Museum today, looking for head fodder, this and following posts are basic visual notes on some of the things I saw and if they turn out to be relevant  I’ll expand on them laters ye.

… him and his sister Caroline also mapped the Milkyway, they were the first to map the structure of our Universe. For two years they surveyed the stars, using their brightness to estimate their distance from earth.

Our sun is in the middle, naturally. It was made in 1784-85 afterall.

Robert Fludd and some Context etc.

December 10, 2009

S’incredible how many scanned in books there are on the interweb. Really, very useful. Above image by Robert Fludd.

This is something I wrote last year for an essay about my working practice in comparison to scientific theory –

Pythagoras* and his Golden Ratio, the application of which helped establish the concept for Microcosm and Macrocosm as a unifying theory, first recognised that by understanding the same traits/characteristics that appear in one entity, this knowledge can be applied to other entities of different sizes. Therefore, by using the Golden Ratio, everything can be considered in the same context.

Robert Fludd was one such man to recognise this theory in his work. A Mathematician and an Astrologer, he wrote many books on the subject, and was credited as the first person to use Microcosm and Macrocosm to explain the circulation of blood in the body, to pretty accurate effect. The heart, he suggested, was The Sun. Our blood is the equivalent of Planets in constant orbit about the heart/Sun and the Universe is our body. Such illustrative analogies crop up consistently in his most celebrated work, Utrusque Cosmi, Majoris scilicet et Minoris, Metaphysica, Physica, atque tenchnica Historia.

To go back to a definition for each of the terms referenced –

Microcosm and Macrocosm is the seeing of the same patterns in all levels of the cosmos. From a universal level to a metaphysical or sub-atomic level. It was  assumed to have derived during the Rennaisance particularly with the popular use of the Golden Ratio or the Golden Mean or the Fibinacci sequence to aesthetic purposes.

A/M.L. – A Dynamical Theory of The Electromagnetic Field.

December 8, 2009

Will need a strong case for analogical and metaphorically stated theory, will put forward several ideas that will then narrow down to something coherant/not boring.

First, worthy of further reading and research is the theory of Electromagnetism, 1865. From the Trailblazing Royal Society –

Few papers in the history of physics have had the impact of this paper, Maxwell’s great synthesis of the nineteenth century theory of electromagnetism. He extended what was already known about electricity and magnetism with one crucial addition, called the displacement current, where changing electric fields generate magnetic fields. The resulting theory is the first success at unifying forces, as it describes electricity and magnetism as just two different aspects of the same underlying phenomenon. However, it goes far beyond that, as Maxwell also showed that light consists of electromagnetic waves, explaining, in one leap, all of classical optics. His theory is one of the pillars of classical physics, but it also contains hints of the theory of special relativity, and therefore the seed of the modern physics revolution that was to follow.

David Wark, Department of Physics, Imperial College London.

READ THIS, from the Philosophical Journal. This is James Clarke Maxwell, he’s Scottish and enjoys Frisbee.

But this is his official lonely hearts ad –

Portrait of the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879). Maxwell graduated in mathematics in 1850 at Trinity College, Cambridge. He applied his mathematical skills to various physical problems, arriving at the formulation of Maxwell’s equations in 1864. With these, Maxwell unified all the different phenomena of electricity and magnetism binding them together in the new electro-magnetic theory. He also worked out, at the same time but independently from Boltzmann, the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of velocities for the molecules of a gas, discovering how it depends on the temperature of the gas.

V.I. – Newton Update

December 8, 2009

Just read on Wired 1671: “A Letter of Mr. Isaac Newton, Professor of the Mathematicks in the University of Cambridge; Containing His New Theory about Light and Colors” –

In one of the most famous experiments ever, Newton used a glass prism to spread a beam of light into a rainbow spectrum, demonstrating that colors were a property of light’s refraction. Not mentioned, however, is Newton’s earlier studies of light, in which he stuck a needle into his eye and recorded how colors changed as he pressed his retina into different shapes.

Irrelavent, but good to know.

Concept Poster

December 7, 2009

Book cover/poster/wrapping paper?/took too long and the middle isn’t in the middle. Still don’t know how to cut and slice or whatever. McWank.

V.I. – Will Burtin

December 6, 2009

Not sure how this will fit in, but Will Burtin’s work is an incredible example of public scientific art. He also stressed the importance of design within science.

From an article in Creative Review, Rick Poyner wrote –

In 1957, after conducting some careful preliminary research, Burtin proposed to Upjohn that he build them a gigantic model of a human cell (above), then the focus of great scientific and public interest. Upjohn took a gamble and accepted his plan, and it was here, observe Remington and Fripp, “that the modern concept of scientific visualization was born”.

On the book Design as Science, The Life and Work of Will Burtin by Roger Remington and Robert S.P. Fripp –

It has been said that Will Burtin (1908–1972) was to graphic design what Albert Einstein was to physics.

Burtin pioneered important contributions to international typography and visual design. He is best known as the world leader in using design to interpret science; as a proponent of ‘clean’, uncluttered sans-serif typography; and for his large-scale three-dimensional models, which carried the craft and the art of display to new heights. His walk-through models included a human blood cell (1958) and brain functions (1960). His major achievement, his clarity and ingenuity with models and graphics made complex information easy to assimilate.

An extract from the book about the above image of Burtin’s “Brain” –

In order to represent time accurately, Burtin rapidly abandoned – or never considered – the possibility that the Upjohn Brain would resemble the human brain itself. The Cell was a scaled-up simulacrum of a cell – it resembled what it represented. But it was more important for the Brain to demonstrate mental function than to resemble the actual organ. Burtin wrote: “In studying the anatomy of the brain some years back, while working on a lead article of ‘Scope’ with Dr. Macleod, I found that the concern over anatomical details prevented or made very difficult an understanding of operational principles on which consciousness – the essential product of the brain – is based.” For that reason the present authors refrain from calling the Upjohn Brain a model. Better to use Burtin’s term, “exhibit sculpture”; or Remington’s, “The presentation was, in effect, a schematic of a functioning brain.”