CosmoCaixa reveals the secret forms of nature in the new exhibition Nanocosmos
Barcelona, 1 June 2023
- The CosmoCaixa Science Museum presents the premiere of Nanocosmos: the reality hidden to the human eye, a new exhibition featuring micrographs by the writer, artist and filmmaker Michael Benson. The images were painstakingly created using scanning electron microscopes at the Canadian Museum of Nature.
- The new show, open to the public free of charge in the Plaza at CosmoCaixa until June 22, comprises 36 black and white images that fuse art and science to reveal the beauty of things invisible to the naked human eye: from the antennae and proboscis of a butterfly to the wing of a dragonfly and the stamens of a flower.
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Indian Ocean radiolarian probably of the species Hexacontium hexactis. Radiolaria are zooplankton found through the oceans of the world, and tend to have spherical, star-like shapes. Single celled predatory protozoa of a diameter between 0.1-0.2 mm, radiolaria have intricate mineral skeletons frequently featuring a central capsule, as here, and an outer shell. © Michael Benson, Kinetikon Pictures.
Silica skeleton of an Indian Ocean radiolarian probably of the species Cenosphaera cristata, which exhibits a remarkable complex, interlocking internal latticework. Like many spherical or semi-spherical radiolaria species, this one resembles a regular polyhedron comprising numerous semi-hexagonal facets. © Michael Benson, Kinetikon Pictures.
An ant likely from the genus Leptothrax emerges from inside a Canadian mentha or mint plant. The towering stamen directly behind and in front of the ant, and also visible behind it, are tipped by numerous “T” shaped anthers, which produce sperm-bearing pollen grains, also visible. © Michael Benson, Kinetikon Pictures.
Nestled within a flowering plant, a Canadian aphid—probably an immature example of a species of Macrosiphini—is the focal point of an ecosystem in miniature. From top to bottom and left to right, everything seen here is only about three millimeters across in any direction. © Michael Benson, Kinetikon Pictures.
Paired wings of a Cuban dragonfly. About 3,000 species of these fast, predatory fliers are known, with most being tropical. Dragonflies have four different flight modes, can move in any direction, and can change direction suddenly in mid-flight. Their wings comprise thin membranes with intermediate tubular veins, comprising a complex sandwich structure on the micro-scale. © Michael Benson, Kinetikon Pictures.
Front view of the paired wings of an Ontario dragonfly. The wings exhibit a complex design of tubular veins and membranes, allowing them to bear high inertial and aerodynamic loads. Unlike with most insects, dragonfly wings are powered directly by flight muscles attached to the base of each wing. Large dragonflies are thought to achieve airspeeds of about 35-54 km/h. © Michael Benson, Kinetikon Pictures.