The Waves: microcosm/macrocosm


The chemical properties of pure water are universal, and unchanging, and what gives seas and oceans their unique identities, are the chemicals and minerals that exist within the water matrix, and between the spaces of its polar molecules. To make this work, the water was removed from samples of Atlantic seawater, in a manner that reveals the defining, but usually invisible, elemental signature of each. These images were taken using a Differential Interference Contrast microscope at 100-times magnification. It’s remarkable how the microscopic landscapes revealed by this process resemble so closely the ocean from which they came, as it might be seen from many thousands of metres above. The molecules have spontaneously arranged themselves into themselves into representations of waves and spume, and in a manner not unlike Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa and so in a minute spot, fractions of a centimetre in diameter, microcosm and macrocosm meet.


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