Coloured Pencils, by Flickr Member Rex Boggs
It’s that time of year when college and graduate students begin their new semesters, and we can almost feel the electricity as brain cells come out of hibernation and begin their collision course of learning.
Some of us in the work-a-day world (OK, the entire GLIMPSE journal staff) get a little jealous every fall and spring when students begin sharpening their pencils (or whatever gadgetry the youth of today use to commit ideas to mind).
Imagine our delight when MIT professor, Dr. Caroline A. Jones approached us about using the entire issue of GLIMPSE #4, Color for her Advanced Study in the History of Art: Color seminar students’ first week’s reading. We were both honored, and intrigued by the course description:
…explore [Color's] robust histories as a set of chemical products, a conventional naming system, a racial category, a branch of psychophysics, an anxiety-provoking discourse in art and architecture, and a huge industry attempting to both stabilize chroma and capitalize on its emotional connotations.
We wish all of Dr. Jones’ students a semester of light-bending and mind-bending learning!
Lying dormant in the archive of Britain’s National Media Museum for decades, what everyone thought were black and white films, turned out to be the first color motion pictures ever made. British photographer Edward Turner made the films using his 1899 patented color film process in about 1903, shortly before his untimely death:
A complicated process, it involved photographing successive frames of black-and-white film through blue, green and red filters. Using a special projector…these were combined on a screen to produce full-colour images.
Highlights of these never-before-shared test films can now be seen on YouTube via our 21st-century RGB screens, and of course, at the museum itself, where the specially-formatted projector can be viewed as well.
Thanks to GLIMPSE subscriber, Francis H., for sharing this with GLIMPSE readers! A very well-timed discovery with our Cinema issue.
by Myya McGregory
Is it possible to visualize sound? The Rubens’ Tube invented in 1905 by Heinrich Ruben, a German physicist, might be able to help us answer this question.
Students of physics might be very familiar with this contraption, but for those that are not, it might be helpful to think of a gas grill burner. Just like a gas grill burner, a Rubens’ tube is just a tube with holes in it attached to gas tank. The only difference is the other side is attached to the speaker of a frequency generator.
The idea of being able to see sound is predicated on sound traveling in waves. Humans can only hear frequencies from approximately 12 hz to 20 hz. In addition to hearing the sounds, we can also feel the vibrations from these sounds.
The height of the flame is determined by Bernoulli’s Principle since pressure is equal throughout the tube. When sound waves travel through the tube combining with the pressure from the gas, flames peak at the antinodes of the sine wave. When the gas pressure is lowered the amplitude of the flames will be higher at the nodes. Mythbusters explains it well.
Now that we have established that sound waves can be visualized, let’s have some fun with it!
Jared Ficklin takes the concept one step further in his most recent TED talk. He brings out a flame table and digital renderings to examine eigenmodes, the vibrational modes of oscillating systems. This way he can analyze the effects of more than one frequency and show the complexity of sound. He even created a rendering of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.
How do you visualize sound? Have you ever seen a sound wave? Share your stories below!
by Myya McGregory
If you follow science news you probably already know about the discovery of the Higgs boson particle. Having eluded scientists for years the so called “God particle” was detected in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
Unfortunately those who need to see it to believe it might be a little disappointed. Most heavy particles live fast and die young. The Higgs boson is no exception. It’s mass is between 115 and 158 GeV and it’s half life is less than a billionth of a second. Much like the famous yet elusive designer, Martin Margiela, the Higgs boson doesn’t want its picture taken.
Known as the God particle because its field is believed to give mass to every other particle before it decays, the Higgs boson is in fact omnipresent. We just can’t see it.
So how do we visualize the Higgs boson particle?
The short answer is: we don’t.
We do however see the effects of its energy and we can watch it decay. The Large Hadron Collider is basically a giant particle accelerator. When the particles hurdle towards each other and collide, they release energy and decay into lesser particles upon impact. As explained in CERN’s animation of their experiment, they hope to excite the Higgs field through the collision of two protons. At that time the Higgs boson will be present, but it will quickly decay into other standard model particles.
If you want a GLIMPSE of the experiment click through these pictures to see particles collide, and read more on CERN’s website here.
As many of you will soon find out in the upcoming Cinema issue, persistence of vision is «the phenomenon of the eye by which an afterimage is thought to persist for approximately one twenty-fifth of a second on the retina». While the image is burned on the retina of the eye, we have time to send signals to the brain to identify the image.
Still from a flipbook created at the Museum of the Moving Image. Credit: Julia Rubinic
Persistence of vision, though thought to be a myth, could explain why our eyes perceive one continuous, moving image when we look at a progressions of stills.
This theory not only explains flipbooks but is also the basis of many film devices of the 19th century. The idea that images remain on the retina seconds after viewing means that images can be perceived as moving at speeds as low as 5 frames per second.
This also means that if an image vibrates fast enough, it can be perceived as static rather than kinetic.
Check out this website by the American Museum of the Moving Image to discover more.
Image courtesy of NASAblueshift
Forget men on mars; exoplanet Gliese 581d in the solar system neighboring ours may have conditions just right for supporting some forms of life. While the name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, French researchers made a pretty fascinating discovery about the planet. For a few years scientists have thought the planets orbiting the star Gliese 581 could support life, but until recently it was believed Gliese 581d was too cold. However, when the researchers simulated the atmospheric make-up of the planet, they found it rich in carbon dioxide, creating a warm enough climate to possibly support oceans and rainfall.
Though don’t get too excited (we’re looking at you, Lance Bass). The incredibly dense air on Gliese 581d makes for a red, murky atmosphere toxic to humans. It would also take roughly 300,000 years to reach the planet on a spacecraft. Visiting it may be out of the question for now, but it’s exciting and just a little scary to think about the vast and varying environments where life can exist.
Image courtesy of flickr.com member Tim Fields
While the never-ending slew of new technology that bombards us everyday can sometimes feel overwhelming, complicated, and unnecessary, every so often a product comes along that we at GLIMPSE simply love. Take for example, the SkyProdigy, a point-and-shoot telescope.
SkyProdigy is for people who would love to gaze at the stars but are hesitant to even touch a telescope for fear of breaking something very expensive. You just have to point it towards the sky, push a button, and voila! An incredible view of the moon or the North Star is at your fingertips.
While SkyProdigy doesn’t come out until July, it’s great that astronomy is being made more accessible. Citizen astronomers will love that they can now capture the stunning views their telescopes provide on their iPhones thanks to the ingenuity of the Magnilux Adapter. It seems it’s never been easier to add ‘amateur astronomer’ to your title.
It’s time again to share another one of our favorite text-related images in honor of the new GLIMPSE issue, Text. ‘Typewriter,’ by flickr.com member icultist, gives us this beautiful photograph. The ominous, eerie mood of the image seems to fit with the poor fate of the machine; however it also serves to remind us of how much the written word has progressed throughout history. While some of us at GLIMPSE have never even used a typewriter (!), we can still appreciate the nostalgia that comes with it—one staff member in particular wishes she could shell out the $200,000 plus for author Cormac McCarthy’s prolific Olivetti Lettera 32.
And as the progression of the written word moves more and more towards the electronic reader, we’re all starting to feel that nostalgia for good old fashioned books.
Photo courtesty of Robert Correia Jr.
In “Activating Prayers: Textual landscapes of the Tibetan Buddhist diaspora,” an essay on Tibetan culture that we believe serves as a much-needed counterperspective to Groupon’s Super Bowl gauche, GLIMPSE contributor Christine McCarthy Madsen explores the importance of the written word in Tibetan Buddhism. For ages, their prayers have been communicated through prayer wheels, flags, books, and their methods don’t shy away from the digital age:
Early forms of digital media share the same spinning quality of prayer wheels, even the same clockwise direction. Taking this to the next step, rumours abound on the Internet that the Dalai Lama himself has said that having a digital prayer wheel—or even just the text of the mantra om mani padme hum on your spinning hard drive—is the same as using a traditional prayer wheel. From this idea, copious animated GIF files, computer applets, gadgets, and widgets have appeared to fulfill the practice of setting text into motion with the greatest ease.
Madsen’s article appears in GLIMPSE issue #7, Text. To read more of the article, and to see more stunning photographs of the region taken by photographer Robert Correia Jr., visit glimpsejournal.com.
Image courtesy of M. A. Persinger
The 25 -year-old male sat blindfolded within the quiet chamber. A bilateral frequency-modulated pulse, often associated with apprehension, was applied continuously with 1 millisecond pulse durations. After the 30-minute episode he reported:
I felt as if there was a bright light in front of me. I saw a black spot that became a kind of funnel…no, tunnel…that I felt drawn into. I felt moving, like spinning forward through it. I began to feel the presence of people, but I could not see them. They were along my sides. There were colorless, gray-looking people. I know I was in the chamber but it was very real. I suddenly felt intense fear and felt ice cold.
Excerpt from Dr. Michael A. Persinger’s “The Simulation of the God Experience within the Laboratory.” Issue 6, Visions. Learn how you can read the full article in GLIMPSE’S Visions issue at www.glimpsejournal.com.