Psychedelic Science

Discover magazine created a gallery of wild pictures from the world of science.  Below is an image of soap bubbles.  Click on image to visit the gallery.



2 responses to “Psychedelic Science

  1. Definitley far out, man! So beautiful!


  2. Jonathan Groves


    These are definitely some wild images!

    I’m familar with the Mandelbrot set. The Mandelbrot set is based on a simple mathematical formula: The complex number c is in the Mandelbrot set whenever the sequence z_{n+1} = z_n^2+c remains bounded (z_0=0). See for more.

    I’m not as familar with the Julia set, though. Loosely speaking, we can say that the Julia set consists of complex numbers where complex rational functions behave erratically in the sense that iterations of a function on points near a fixed z_0 behave dramatically differently than how the iterations behave at z_0 itself. Julia sets are related to chaos theory in which a slight change in initial conditions can have a dramatic effect on the outcome. Weather forecasting is a good example as well: A slight change in conditions can dramatically alter the effects of a weather system, which explains why long-term weather forecasting is very difficult. If our measurements are off a bit, the perceived outcome based on those measurements can differ sharply with what will actually happen later on. More information on the Julia set can be found at

    The picture of the nose cavity surprised me. I thought before clicking on the image to enlarge it and read about it that this was some kind of bug! Maybe this is not surprising after all: Our noses can really bug us from time to time!

    The image of a model of a sunspot is a fun image to look at. I wonder how much it differs from a real sunspot. I wouldn’t know because of my following the advice of the mascot Willie the Don’t-Stare-into-the-Sun Worm.

    As for the Volvox algae, I had thought that Volvox is a name of some allergy medicine or at least some sort of medicine. But I could be wrong because medicines have such strange, unnatural names–at least to me–that I can’t remember even half the names I see. Sounds like a good advertising strategy, doesn’t it? Create names that people can’t remember! I bet Spongebob finds that Volvox algae to be really close to home.

    I’m not sure what to think about the image from the biology textbook that supposedly opens a chapter on human sexuality other than maybe hippies.

    Jonathan Groves

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