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98.06.24
Armchair Activism.

Those too busy (or lazy) for environmental causes have no more excuses.

98.06.18
Free Truman Burbank!

For some, television's pernicious influence is no joking matter.

98.06.04
Alexandria's Ghosts.

As the Internet makes abundantly clear, the line between an archive and a rubbish heap is a fine one.

98.05.27
I Thee Web

Get me to the church online.

98.05.20
Virtuala Esperanto

A language of optimists takes root on the Internet.

98.05.13
6 Billion Human Beings

An online exhibit from the Museum of Natural History in Paris looks at our burgeoning humanity, en masse and one at a time.

98.05.06
Beyond Interface

The state of art on the Net.

98.04.29
Child's Play

The CIA reaches out to a new generation of spies.

98.04.23
Multicultural Lite

A multimedia "essay" has technology serve humanity, and vice versa.

For more, see the complete Web Citations Index.
July 1, 1998

Artistic chemistry It has long been said that there's nothing new under the sun. But how about under the microscope? Visitors to the Chemist's Art Gallery will discover that whole realms of previously uncharted aesthetic territory are being discovered by scientists armed with powerful microscopes. What's more, some of these scientists are turning out to be artists.

Collected at the gallery are links to digitally enhanced images of atoms, molecules, genes, proteins, electrons, viruses, and a variety of other microscopic structures and organisms; to browse these pages is to peer in on a fantastical and colorful world of luminous globules, sprawling tentacles, twisting protrusions, intricate geometries, and craggy landscapes. As pointed out by an online essay titled "Truth and Beauty in Scientific Photography" (posted at one of the sites linked to from the Chemist's Art Gallery), form follows function in these photographs: contrast and color are employed to show distinctions between temperatures, chemical states, directions of motion, and so on.

Artistic chemistry But a spirit of playfulness is in evidence at many of these sites as well. Two chemists in Switzerland have plastered a repeating image of the face of a smiling middle-aged man over the surface of their rendering of an enzyme inhibitor known as a "Hirudin structure." Just below it on the page is a repeating image of Claudia Schiffer covering another enzyme inhibitor, known as an "Er2 Structure." ("Some people find this texture more attractive," the caption explains.) Another researcher has posted an image titled "Carbon Monoxide Man" -- a stick figure created with carbon monoxide and platinum. And one scientist's Web page features an unusual DNA photo shoot: DNA inside a corked bottle, DNA on a cliff, DNA hovering above a backgammon board, DNA at Stonehenge ...

Art and Science. Science and art. But what will the critics say?

Discuss this Web Citation in the Digital Culture forum of Post & Riposte.


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