Here is a photograph that has been circulating the science news in the last couple of days, simply because it is so unusual, so intriguing, and so beautiful.
It is a photo from a research paper titled Visualization of flow patterns past various objects in two-dimensional flow using soap film. The researchers point out that a simple soap bubble is possibly the most powerful and effective medium when it comes to researching fluid dynamics.
The authors explain: “Although many advanced experimental ﬂow visualizations, such as particle image velocimetry or laser Doppler velocimetry, have been developed and used in ﬂuid dynamics research, the use of ﬂowing soap ﬁlms has remained as an educational tool and economical visualization technique to study ﬂuid-structure interaction and hydrodynamic instability in two-dimensional ﬂuid ﬂows. Making use of the optical properties of the soap ﬁlm and high-speed photography, the wake evolution and vortex patterns behind different bodies can be tracked and captured.”
This photograph is – as many writers and bloggers have noted – “a beautiful reminder that Physics is everywhere, even in soap”.
To see a large version of the photo, in very high resolution, click here: http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/io9/2011/10/soapfilmsbest.jpg
Many people may want to use this as desktop wallpaper.