Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Intelligent design at Georgia Tech

Coupling the possibilities offered by genetic engineering with the discipline of microelectromechanical systems, scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have recently turned their attentions to the prospect of controlling the growth of diatoms to provide useful 3-D microstructures.

Really Magazine reports here on the astounding possibilities this offers, but those whose pulses are not set racing by such news can still derive much pleasure from the article, for it provides a link to the on-line version of Ernst Haeckel: Die Radiolarien (1862). Dr Haeckel’s work involved the engraving of copper plates with pictures of some of the more than 100,000 varieties of marine diatom.

But never mind about all that; even if marine biology means as much to you as it does to Dolly Parton, you cannot fail to find these engravings things of wonder. Here is Plate Number 34:

Click on it to enlarge it, and marvel at the beauty and complexity of the structures.


Gumby said...

They are truly beautiful, their loveliness tainted only fleetingly by the Dolly reference which confused me enough to view them initially as prototype breast implants, something Queen Victoria might envision, or endorse.
It might be late, I might be giddy (an hour looking at marine diatom), but is that a Collosphaera gracing the Queen's regal and severe coif?

Tony said...

Oh, for goodness' sake!

Still, I see what you mean.

Gumby said...

Because it seems you write nothing without reason, you must admit that the juxtaposition of Dolly and the etchings is strange enough to be thought provoking in itself.

I'm still laughing, for goodness sake, trying to find your subconscious connection.

Gumby said...

Disregard the last...
My eye happened to catch the surcingle bracing poor miserable Queen Victoria, and the connection was revealed.

Tony said...

I have no idea what you are talking about, you strange N. American person, and looking up surcingle didn't help. Surely "the belt that passes round the belly of a horse" can have nothing to do with our great queen, but perhaps you see things differently in Calgary.