Most people will say that the wind is blowing to the right in this picture without even thinking about it, because leaves don’t get blown onto trees. That’s because of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, which is something that almost nobody can explain to another person, but almost everybody understands intuitively thanks to things like this we see every day.
Apatite is the mineral found in our teeth and bones, but it also comes in hundreds of other forms and is found in many types of rock. It gets its name from the Greek for “deceive”, because it is sometimes so difficult to tell what type of apatite you are looking at, or even if it is apatite at all. For example, what you are looking at right now is part of an x-ray diffraction pattern for fluorapatite, but it looks more like some mountains and trees.
This week I couldn’t decide whether to do a landscape or continue the diffraction theme, so I did both! Any time a wave meets an object about the same length as it, it gets diffracted and changes direction, and more objects means more diffraction. So in theory**, if you have a big farm and set your fields up carefully, you can do some serious messing with your neighbours radio reception. That particular example might not seem very helpful, but the same idea is used in all kinds of measurement systems, such as the electron diffraction in crystals from last week.
**Science tip: never trust a sentence that starts with “In theory”.
A form of wet precipitation more familiar to most people than “Wet Precipitation 1”, though it’s usually pronounced “rain”. That greenish blue under a big rain cloud is probably the best colour anywhere, which is why I’m one of the few people happy to see a forecast for thunderstorms. Also, this makes it three paintings in a row from right outside the front door…there’s always something new to see if you look up.
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.
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