Oct 18, 2015 – [Sunday] WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra(ordinary)

Glasgow, Scotland, taken on various dates

For this week’s challenge, I decided to do what I did for a challenge a while back and post an image from my work with the atomic force microscope. It isn’t a typical optical image, but you can’t deny what the chemical instrument “sees” on the atomic scale, heh. In my work, experiments often fail and characterization becomes very mundane when you have to deal with plain, old, boring images of well…nothing. That’s why I always look forward to getting humourous images that resemble interesting objects, even if it meant that the experiment didn’t work. To me, at least that was a form of extraordinary “scientific art”, though I didn’t create it – I was discovering it. For example, the top image looks like a happy family of turtles that appeared after a failed solvent wash, and the bottom one is a top-down view of a volcano that is really a polycaprolactone film surface. My collection is growing – another proof that failure doesn’t have to be negative!

Feb 08, 2015 – [Sunday] WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale

Photo taken on November 12, 2013

I might have cheated a bit on today’s challenge, since the photo was not taken with a conventional camera, but with a microscope. On top of that, it isn’t even a conventional light microscope, but one that functions based on atomic interactions and laser signals. However, given the circumstances of my profession, nothing expresses scale better than an atomic force microscopic image of arrays of peptide “nanodonuts”, each with a diameter of 150 nm (that is 0.00000015 metres). Don’t try to publish this, it’s a failed experiment, and it isn’t the most groundbreaking image ever or anything. In any case, my work revolves around the word SMALL. If it ain’t small, it ain’t interesting. Ten years stuck in nanotechnology and I’m still somehow surviving in this field. They say we’re on the cutting edge but a clever ex-classmate said we’re on the bleeding edge. Can’t say she’s wrong…