The Irish summer….I think I see a bit over there, get the barbeque ready!
Wet precipitation is the process that gives us stalactites and stalagmites, teeth, and many other interesting things. Dissolve the right ingredients in water (wet), mix them together in the right way, and all kinds of solids can form out of the liquid (precipitation). I use it all the time to make nanocrystals like the ones in our teeth, and many other people use it for many other things, but exactly how atoms go from bouncing around a liquid to lining up neatly in a crystal is not entirely understood. In my head it looks like this.
This time last month I was in Limoges, in central France, for the 13th conference of the European Ceramic Society. The conference includes a presentation competition for young researchers, and I was lucky enough to represent Ireland in it. As well as meeting some clever people and learning a few things, I had a chance to explore the town a bit. Gare Benedictins is the central train station, a beautiful building at any time but all the better when the sky gets dramatic behind it.
The surface of our teeth is made of a hierarchical structure of very small and very organised crystals. Individual atoms are organised into 50-nanometre-wide crystal rods, which are organised into 4 micrometre wide prisms, which are organised into overlapping layers that make your teeth hard enough and tough enough to last a lifetime. It’s an amazing material and a lot of my research is about trying to copy it. Rather than waste any more words trying to explain, here’s a video that does a much better job!
I had planned something with a bit of science in it for the opening, but the weather we have at the moment deserves a painting I think. So here’s a nice bit of a sunset.
Remember, each painting in The ART Approach is for sale for one week only. Find it on eBay