Today I invited my daughter Sara to share two of her posts from her brand-new science blog helichrysums, which highlights “patterns in the world”. Sara is a college senior with a major in Biology and a minor in Digital arts and is headed towards a career in science visualization. Stay tuned for her website, which will showcase her own science animations!
Alexander Mitsos, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, discovered an efficient solar layout based off the geometric patterns of sunflowers. In concentrated solar power arrangements, fields of mirrors track the sun, refocusing the sunlight on a single point to generate electricity. Mitsos’ lab discovered that the Fermat spiral of sunflower florets can be applied to the arrangement of mirrors to reduce land use by %10 and maintain efficiency.
Also check out the video, Nature by the Numbers by Christobal Vila, which visually explains some of the most astounding mathematical patterns in nature–a must watch if you haven’t seen it.
In The 16 Best Science Visualizations of 2011, Wired magazine showcases the best picks from the 2011 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge. In completely new, innovative ways, scientists and artists come together to create incredible close-ups of viruses, movies explaining the applications of nanoparticles, pictures of dark matter in the universe, and interactive games that reveal the inner workings of cells.
–Sara Remsen, helichrysums