Sijie Lin, Priyanka Bhattacharya, Tatsiana Ratnikova and Pu-Chun Ke

Hamlet by Sijie Lin, Priyanka Bhattacharya, Tatsiana Ratnikova and Pu-Chun Ke

“Though this be madness, yet there is method in it”, (ACT II, Hamlet). This image was obtained as part of an experiment to study the interaction of nanoparticles with cellulose, the major component of bacteria and plant cell walls. The characters in the image above occurred unexpectedly in a sample of cellulose film, spin coated onto a microscope slide with a single wafer spin processor (Laurell Technologies). The amusing features, resembling the well-known characters in Hamlet, showed up when microcrystalline cellulose powder was dissolved in a solvent (9% LiCl:DMAC). They were likely residues of the cellulose and formed sporadically. Both science and art involve the ambitious quest of those moments when what one perceives suddenly becomes more than what was anticipated. This piece, in its own way, is a symbolic manifestation of beauty in the trash after a long day at the lab, during one of our numerous attempts in understanding the physics behind the biological study of life. The sample was platinum-coated and viewed at 15kV on a Hitachi S-4800 scanning electron microscope.

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