Science

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History Illustration Science

A 900-Page Book Catalogs Hundreds of Medicinal Plants through Colorful Renaissance-Era Woodcuts

February 23, 2022

Grace Ebert

Mandragora officinarum L., Mandrake. All images © Taschen, shared with permission

Memorialized in his namesake flower the Fuschia, Leonhart Fuchs was a German physician and groundbreaking botanical researcher. He published an immense catalog of his studies in 1543 titled The New Herbal, which paired colorful woodcut illustrations of approximately 500 plants with detailed writings about their physical features, medical uses, and origins. Fuch’s own hand-colored copy remains in pristine condition to this day and is the basis for a forthcoming edition published by Taschen. Weighing more than 10 pounds, the nearly 900-page volume is an ode to Fuch’s research and the field of Renaissance botany, detailing plants like the leafy garden balsam and root-covered mandrake. The New Herbal is available for pre-order from Taschen and Bookshop.

 

Impatiens balsamina L., Garden Balsam, Common Balsam, Jewelweed

Pulsatilla vulgaris MILL., Pasque Flower

 

 



Photography Science

A Deep-Sea Montage Unveils the Fantastic, Bizarre Creatures Swimming in Monterey Bay

February 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

A compilation recently released from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (previously) invokes the old adage that reality is stranger than fiction. Featuring dozens of otherworldly sea creatures, the footage highlights some of the most bizarre animals spotted during the organization’s ROV dives, which range from the water’s surface to its 4,900-foot-deep floor. The montage includes a diverse array of species from aptly named strawberry squid and the elusive psychedelic jellyfish to the pacific viperfish. The institute’s partner organization, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, is also hosting an exhibition dedicated to the mysterious creatures living in the region, which opens this April. (via Moss and Fog)

 

Peacock squid

Swimming sea cucumber

Feather star

Vampire squid

Strawberry squid

Barreleye

 

 



Photography Science

Rare Footage Captures the Luminous Tentacles of the Psychedelic Jellyfish as It Floats Through the Pacific Ocean

January 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

The findings coming out of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Insitute continue to amaze us: new footage from a recent ROV dive into the midnight zone of Monterey Canyon in the Pacific Ocean captures the incredibly rare psychedelic jellyfish and its vibrant body. First discovered in 2018, the elusive creature has luminous, spindly tentacles that, when drifting in the water, appear like colorful light trails rather than gelatinous appendages. The footage shares glimpses of both male and female specimens and their distinct body parts, and you also might want to watch this phantom jellyfish and its 33-foot limbs. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



History Illustration Science

Dig Into an Enormous Archive of Drawings Unveiling the Complex Root Systems of 1,180 Plants

January 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Wageningen University & Research

It’s generally understood that terrestrial plant life evolved from algae, one key to its successful adaptation being roots that sprawled underground to absorb important nutrients and water. Billions of years later, the fibrous networks are essential to life across the planet as they ensure the growth and health of individual specimens, help prevent erosion, and capture carbon from the air.

A collaborative project of the late botanists Erwin Lichtenegger and Lore Kutschera celebrates the power and beauty of these otherwise hidden systems through detailed drawings of agricultural crops, shrubs, trees, and weeds. Digitized by the Wageningen University & Research, the extensive archive is the culmination of 40 years of research in Austria that involved cultivating and carefully retrieving developed plant life from the soil for study. It now boasts more than 1,000 renderings of the winding, spindly roots, some of which branch multiple feet wide.

We’ve gathered some of the biological studies here, but you can pore through the full collection on the Wageningen University site. (via MetaFilter)

 

 

 



Illustration Science

In 'Wild Design,' Vintage Illustrations Expose the Patterns and Shapes Behind All Life on Earth

January 5, 2022

Grace Ebert

Ernst Haeckel, Kunstformen der Natur, 1904. Gotha: Bibliographisches Institut. All images from Wild Design: Nature’s Architects by Kimberly Ridley, published by Princeton Architectural Press, shared with permission of the publisher

Focusing on the patterns and shapes that structure the planet, a new book published by Princeton Architectural Press explores the science behind a trove of organically occurring forms. Wild Design: Nature’s Architects by author Kimberly Ridley pairs dozens of vintage illustrations—spot the work of famed German biologist Ernst Haeckel (previously) among them—with essays detailing the function of the striking phenomena, from the smallest organisms to the monumental foundations that extend across vast swaths of land. These structures are simultaneously beautiful and crucial to life on Earth and include the sprawling mycelium networks connecting life above and below ground, the papery, hexagonal cells comprising honeycomb, and a spider’s funnel-like web tailored to trap its prey. Dive further into the world of Wild Design by picking up a copy from Bookshop.

 

(Johann Andreas Naumann, Naturgeschichte der Vögel Deutschlands, 1820. Leipzig: G. Fleischer

Ernst Haeckel, Kunstformen der Natur, 1904. Gotha: Bibliographisches Institut

Berthold Seemann, Journal of Botany, 1863. London: R. Hardwicke

Henry C. McCook, American Spiders and Their Spinning Work, 1889. Philadelphia: Academy of Natural Science of Philadelphia

 

Henri de Saussure, Études sur la famille des vespides, 1852. Paris: V. Masson

Oliver B. Bunce and William C. Cullen, Picturesque America, 1872. New York: D. Appleton

 

 



Science

Spectacular Footage Captures a NASA Probe as it Touches the Sun for the First Time

December 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

NASA marked an impressive milestone when its Parker Solar Probe was the first ever to touch the sun and return earlier this year, and footage from its historic mission offers a stunning glimpse at the massive star’s upper atmosphere. The black-and-white timelapse shows a view from the probe as it hurls through a flurry of glowing bands and sparks that dart across the frame with celestial bodies panning in the background. These structures, known as coronal streamers, are part of the magnetic field surrounding the star—it doesn’t have a solid surface, meaning satellites like Parker come in contact with the fiery matter while flying through it. These sweeping plumes are often visible from Earth during solar eclipses.

During its travel, the probe also captured the Milky Way, Earth, and other planets from a rare angle, which astrophysicist Grant Tremblay labeled in the screenshots below. This was the satellite’s eighth attempt to permeate the sun’s atmosphere since it launched in 2018, and the successful mission garnered quite a few staggering statistics. NASA shares:

At closest approach, Parker Solar Probe hurtles around the sun at approximately 430,000 mph (700,000 kph). That’s fast enough to get from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., in one second… At closest approach to the Sun, the front of Parker Solar Probe’s solar shield faces temperatures approaching 2,500 F (1,377 C). The spacecraft’s payload will be near room temperature.

For a similar look at the sun’s details, watch this timelapse chronicling one month of its evolution. (via PetaPixel)