Science + Art = Awesome!
Today the Department of Microscopic Marvels explores the exquisitely beautiful art of arranging Diatoms, tiny unicellular algae encased in jewel-like glass shells, into complex kaleidoscopic displays, some of which date back to the Victorian era. They’re works of art that are invisible to the naked eye and must be viewed under a microscope.
Ranging in size from 2 to 200 micrometers, diatoms are among the smallest organisms on the planet. They’re a form of phytoplankton and scientists estimate that there are roughly 100,000 existent species. To create the lovely and astonishingly tiny displays pictured above, diatoms must be found, captured, cleaned, organized and then finally positioned into aesthetically pleasing arrangements in microscope slides.
So how is all of this accomplished? English filmmaker Matthew Killip contacted Diatom specialist and master micromanipulator Klaus Kemp in order to find out. Kemp has dedicated his life to studying and perfecting this microscopic Victorian art form and Killip sat down with him to learn about the process of creating diatom arrangements. The result was a short film entitled The Diatomist.