South West Branch Photo Competition
28 March 2012
The winner and runner up of the Branch’s photo competition were announced at the Festival of Physics in Bristol on 3 March.
The winner of the competition was Pery Burge, currently an artist in residence in the Thermofluids Lab at the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at Exeter University, a position funded by the Leverhulme Trust.
The runner-up was Peter Vukusic with his photo ‘Brilliant whiteness in ultra-thin beetle scales’. He won £25 of Jessops vouchers.
Congratulations to both Pery and Peter!
Winner: Sci-ﬁ Garden Growing’
These two sequential images are of vertically arranged soap ﬁlm, separated by less than one second. The source of ﬂow comes from a mixture of detergent and glycerol draining from bubbles, not seen, at the bottom of the blue vortex ‘stems’ - the images have been inverted for aesthetic purposes.
Vortices push through oncoming speckled red ﬂow; their shapes modiﬁed by this ﬂow, becoming rounded and mushroom-shaped. In the face of the ﬂow, the vortices may also bifurcate - the tall blue form stretching upward on the extreme left divides to accommodate oncoming ﬂow. The relative velocities of upward and downward ﬂow help deﬁne the shapes and patterns as they appear.
Runner-up: Brilliant whiteness in ultra-thin beetle scales
Physicists at the University of Exeter have discovered that the Cyphochilus beetle, a native of SE Asia, has evolved an astonishingly efficient nanostructural system with which it creates ultra-bright whiteness from a very thin layer of scales that cover its body.
The interiors of the scales comprise an interconnected set of cuticle filaments that are arranged in an entirely random geometry. The researchers discovered that it is the spacing of these filaments that is near-perfectly optimised to generate maximum light reflection to produce the appearance of bright whiteness. The Exeter physicists have been working with scientists at Imerys Plc in Cornwall, to try to apply the biological efficient whiteness and brightness principles to the production of white and bright synthetic surfaces such as those found in paper, ceramics and paint.