COOL IMAGES: Beauty, Less Than Skin Deep

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Science  20 Aug 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5431, pp. 1175
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5431.1175a

Magnified up to 2000 times, Ben & Jerry's ice cream looks tie-dyed, champagne crystals bubble, and potassium nitrate from gunpowder bursts from the slide in Technicolor blazes. Biophysicist Michael W. Davidson of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida, has chosen some portraits in his Molecular Expressions gallery strictly for art's sake, while others serve scientific purposes. This full-color photo shows DNA caught in the transition between a cholesteric crystalline phase (in blue) to a higher density, hexatic liquid crystalline phase (in yellow), a form DNA takes when packed tightly into the head of a bacterium or virus. The crystals polarize light from an optical microscope; colors correspond to different crystal thicknesses.

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