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Parsing the Universe

There is more to life than meets the (naked) eye.

Like many artists, I am fascinated by the technologies that extend human vision.

Through microscopes we marvel at actually seeing the foundations of life, magnified to the cellular, molecular, and atomic levels; or at the beauty and symmetry of the zigzag and ribbon and star shapes of diatoms.

Through Edgerton’s stroboscopic camera we witness the nanosecond of a bullet shattering an apple, or the Medieval Islamic art-like patterns created by a drop of water hitting the surface of a pool.

Through the Hubble telescope we even transcend time and space, viewing images of the early universe.  We learn that things infinitesimally small and stupendously big share shapes: the golden spiral manifest in rivers seen from space and the structure of the human lung; the birth and death of stars and the Higgs particle; leaf patterns.

These technologies allow the human eye to see the unseen.

This is why we don’t take science on faith. Paradoxically, while we base what we know on what we see, what we see and hence what we know, continually changes as our knowledge increases through new technology.