When Science and Art Intersect

Hawaiian Airlines publishes a magazine for in-flight entertainment. It is called Hana Hou.  Passengers are allowed to take a copy with them. I enjoy reading the magazine and save issues for reference material or to use in making collages. The artwork in the magazine is quite exceptional.

The other day when I flew from the Big Island to Portland I had a chance to read some of the articles in the June/July 2009 issue. When I read a magazine, I have a habit of thumbing through quickly looking at all the pictures. I guess I do this because I am such a visual person. When something grabs my attention, like a cool photograph, I stop to read.

The other day I stumbled upon some captivating photographs. The photographs were monochromatic and geometric with an abstract quality. Some of the photographs looked like plant rubbings or prints. Some looked almost like stained glass. The photographs were beautiful and delicate. I had no idea what I was looking at, so I wanted to know more.

As I read, I found that I was looking at images of microscopic slides of algae. Algae? Wow! Science and art intersect.  Is it possible for science to also be art?

The article written by Blair Roberts with photos by Dana Edmunds was about Jack Fisher, a botanist in Hawaii. Jack works at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu.  He is 79 years old and is considered a master slide-maker of marine algae. He has no formal training.

What a perfect example of using a talent and a love for something to be creative.  Jack’s slides are helping researchers study the different species of algae around the world as well as how the environment is being affected over time.  Jack carefully creates these slides and the results are breathtaking.

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