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Art of Science
“Study the science of art and the art of science.”Leonardo da Vinci
As if pulled from the walls of a modern art gallery, these images of research exploration cross the boundaries of science to enter the
realm of abstract art. Parallels exist between these two domains: The artist seeks to visually express complex ideas or emotions,
while the researcher wants to convey often intangible concepts that may be impossible to fathom without visual representation. These
extraordinary images curated by our editors from research activities across UB are based solely in science. Yet they have crossed an
imaginary barrier to become a true art form.
Into the Void As part of the National Science Foundation-sponsored “URGE (Undergraduate Research Group Experiences) to Compute” program, UB computational scientist Loren “Shawn” Matott has been collaborating with talented math majors at UB and Buffalo State College to design cost-effective systems to safeguard groundwater supplies from contaminated sites. The image visualizes a representative cost surface and dramatically illustrates the phenomena of artificial minima—valley locations corresponding to designs whose costs are only partially optimal. The image recently won a computer art competition run by the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation and will appear on the cover of the organization’s 2013 brochure. The winning entry was prepared in collaboration with Adrian Levesque and Martins Innus, multimedia visualization specialists at UB’s Center for Computational Research.
Loren “Shawn” Matott, PhD ’07 & PMCRT ’07, IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education Research and Traineeship) Fellow
Epicenter This is a vertical satellite image of Tungurahua Volcano in Ecuador. It contrasts areas of natural vegetation (green) with regions devastated by volcanic ash (dark blue to black). The red hot lava filling the crater and the active white volcanic plume are clearly visible. North is oriented to the right, as is the community of Banos (20,000 inhabitants).
Michael Sheridan, UB Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Geology
Blue Moons This is a sample of a rodent inner ear or cochlea stained with
three fluorescent dyes, which are specific for actin filaments (green), nuclei
(blue) and caspase (red). Actin filaments are part of the cytoskeleton found in
all cells. In the cochlea they form an integral part of the structure of the so-called
hair cells. There are three rows of “outer” and one row of “inner” cells.
These cells directly transduce the acoustic vibrations collected by the ear and
convert them into electrical signals, which are transmitted by the auditory
nerve to the brain. The image was collected on the confocal microscope and
demonstrates the dramatic difference in image quality obtained when the
confocal microscope is used compared to a standard system.
Richard Salvi, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Communicative
Disorders and Sciences
This image shows microscopic
gold electrodes that contact a thin
sheet of graphene. Graphene has recently
been shown to be a promising candidate to
replace the silicon chips that power current
electronic technology. The gold electrodes
in the images allow an electrical current
to be passed through the graphene sheet.
They are separated by only a few hundred
nanometers at their closest points.
Girish Bohra, electrical engineering student; and Ratchanok Somphonsane, physics student
Pictured is an optical micrograph of
cultured cells 24 hours after initiation of apoptosis,
a process of self-initiated cell death that is critically
important for physiological regulation and elimination
of genetic disorders. Image represents a unique
combination of label-free imaging of molecular
vibrations by Coherent anti-Stokes Raman Scattering
and high resolution fluorescence imaging
by Two-Photon Excited Fluorescence. Subcellular
distribution of the major classes of biomolecules
such as proteins (red), RNA (green), DNA (blue) and
lipids (grey) during apoptosis was revealed by a
single shot of the nonlinear microscopy laser scan.
Here, proteins abandon the nucleolus, accumulating
in a highly irregular distribution in the nucleoplasm;
genomic DNA condenses and partially segregates
from the proteins.
Artem Pliss, research assistant professor, Institute
for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics; Andrey N.
Kuzmin, research scientist, Department of Chemistry;
Aliaksandr V. Kachynski, research associate professor,
Department of Chemistry; and Paras N. Prasad, SUNY
Distinguished Professor in the chemistry, physics,
medicine and electrical engineering departments
Unraveled The image shows the failure of Single
Walled Carbon Nano Tube (SWCNT) under uniaxial extension.
SWCNT is a one-atom thick tube made up of carbon
atoms. The project is exploring how to replace metals in
electronics with SWCNT, because these new materials are
much stronger and better conductors than are traditional
Cemal Basaran, professor in the departments of civil,
structural and environmental engineering, and electrical
engineering and director of the Electronic Packaging
Laboratory; and Tarek Ragab, assistant director, Electronic
Packaging Laboratory, Department of Civil, Structural and
Yellow Ground Transmission
electron micrograph shows lead sulfide
(PbS) nanocubes grown around
gold nanoparticles. The overall cubic
shape reflects the underlying cubic
crystal structure of lead sulfide.
These were created as part of a study
of methods of creating multicomponent
and anisotropic (non-spherical)
Ken-Tye Yong, PhD ’06, ME ’04 & BS ’01,
research associate professor, Institute
for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics
Blue Orbit Spheres in this image
are made of many nanocrystals of
zinc sulfide, and are from 20 to 200
nanometers in diameter. Zinc sulfide
has potential as a photocatalyst for
degrading pollutants or generating
hydrogen from water using energy
from sunlight. The very small size of
the particles means that they have a
very large surface area for the desired
chemical reactions to occur.
Sha Liu, PhD ’11, Department of Chemical
Springtime A thin histological section of tissue from the tongue of a mouse: The section is stained with three fluorescent dyes that are specific for actin filaments (green), nuclei (blue) and wheat germ agglutinin (red). The red fluorescence represents the cell surfaces; the green, the internal structure and blue, the cell nucleus. This image was collected on a standard fluorescence microscope.
Wade J. Sigurdson, director, Confocal Microscope and Flow Cytometry Facility
As it moves around an indoor corridor, a mobile robot with a range
sensor simultaneously calculates its position and updates an internal
model of its surroundings. Juxtaposition of two versions of the model
are rendered—a more concise representation on the left side and the
full volumetric model on the right side.
Julian Ryde, research scientist, Department of Computer Science and
Alien Exo This image from a scanning electron microscope
shows the structure of a freeze-dried antibiotic (Vancomycin).
The material is exceptionally difficult to image because of its
extreme fragility and tendency to absorb water. This image represents
one of the ways UB supports the health science industry.
Image provided by Peter Bush, director, UB South Campus Instrument
Center with permission of IMA Life, Tonawanda, N.Y.
Fireworks The human brain contains an abundant population of oligodendrocyte
progenitor cells with a unique capacity to repair damaged
and diseased brain tissue following demyelinating diseases like MS and
childhood leukodystrophy. Here are human CD140a-sorted cells transplanted
into a mouse model of leukodystrophy, which lacks any normal
myelin, the electrical insulating substance in the brain. Human cells, in
blue, have begun to repair the diseased mouse brain and are generating
new myelin (red). Human cells also reconsitute astrocytes (green).
Fraser Sim, assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology, along with
scientists at the University of Rochester
Dot to Dot Image shows zinc oxide nanowires grown on a silicon
substrate using a chemical vapor deposition technique. Gold nanoparticles
are used as catalysts for nanowire growth. The green dots are gold
nanoparticles on the silicon substrate, the blue bunches are zinc oxide
nanowires, and the yellow dots are gold nanoparticles on the tips of the
nanowires. Zinc oxide nanowires may have broad applications ranging
from sensors to LEDs and solar cells.
Seongjin Jang, PhD ’08, Department of Physics
Into the Deep These nanoelectronic switches have been proposed for use in future “quantum computers,”
which would have greatly improved computing capabilities compared to existing computers.
Arunkumar Ramamoorthy, PhD student, Department of Electrical Engineering, when image created