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July 24, 2015

"Beautiful chemistry"

"Beautiful chemistry," by Yan Liang, Xiangang Tao and Wei Huang, University of Science and Technology of China.

For many, the phrase "chemical reactions" conjures memories of tedious laboratory work and equations scribbled on exams. But Yan Liang, a professor at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, sees art in the basic science. Last September, Liang and a few colleagues launched to highlight aesthetically pleasing chemistry. They then compiled a video showcasing crystallization, fluorescence and other reactions or structures shot in glorious detail. Liang says that finding experiments that meet their visual standards has been a challenge. "Many reactions are very interesting, but not beautiful," he says. "But sometimes, when shot at close distance without the distraction of beakers or test tubes, ordinary reactions such as precipitation can be very beautiful."

The image won experts' choice (first place) in the video (screen shots) category of the 2015 Visualization Challenge, now called The Vizzies, a long-running, annual competition co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Popular Science. [The competition was formerly named the International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge (SciVis) and was previously co-sponsored with AAAS' journal Science.] The competition aims to recognize some of the most beautiful visualizations from the worlds of science and engineering and awards prizes in five categories: photography, video, illustration, posters & graphics and interactives.

To view the video that this winning screenshot was taken from, as well as learn more about the competition and view all the winning entries past and present, see the NSF The VIZZIES: Visualization Challenge Special Report. (Date of Image: unknown)

Credit: Yan Liang, Xiangang Tao and Wei Huang

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