When science meets art (sort of)

I had been looking forward to a quiet day last Tuesday, to get back into the swing of work after the bank holiday weekend, but instead I found myself with Natalie in a chemistry laboratory at the university, helping her to set up and take photos of plants for a project that she is working on.

Her plan is to identify various flora that have chemical properties, such as those used in pharmaceuticals or biofuels, and to combine photos of them with their chemical structures and a description of how they are used. We were essentially just mucking around at this stage, though, to see how things looked.

We must have taken a couple of hundred photos over an hour or so. We also got a fair few odd glances from other people working in the lab. It was, however, excellent fun. Here are a few of my favourite images from our rather odd photoshoot.*

Eucalyptus
ZebraGrass
Rosemary
EchinopsRoll
Echinops
RoseBeaker
RosePaper
* Natalie would no doubt want me to add that these are just some rough images to get a feel for how things look and to develop a ‘proof of concept’ for her project. The end result will no doubt look a lot better, if only because it’ll be someone with significantly more talent than me taking the photos…

Oh, and please excuse the watermarks on the photos. It’s not that I don’t trust you, but rather that Natalie wants to use the photos for her project so it seemed sensible to protect them. (Thanks, Jenny, for the suggestion.)

6 thoughts on “When science meets art (sort of)

  1. I love these pics. Somehow the plants as decorative elements in the context of lab paraphernalia is amazing. I used to work in a lab, and it would simply never have occurred to me to put these two together. Though I have drawn some cartoon animals on lab whiteboards…

    • I’d love to say that it was my idea, but it was my (chemist) wife who thought of it. Glad you like the photos. I think they’ll work even better with some context of the chemistry that makes these plants so useful. For example, the zebra grass (in the second picture) can – I think – be used as a source of biofuel.

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