The Blossoms of Shujun
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The Blossoms of Shujun

June 10, 2010
The Blossoms of Shujun Imagine a layered cake, a parfait, or any layered dessert. A similar type of layering occurs in thin films of block copolymers, only the layers are tens of nanometers thick (a hundred thousand times thinner than a sheet of paper)! If we place a liquid on the surface that attracts one of the layers beneath, then the layers within the film will rearrange themselves in an attempt to allow the attracted layer to reach the liquid. The floral arrangement, shown here, is actually an electoron microscope image that captured such a rearrangement, only it has been magnified twenty thousand times. More about this ImageThis imagery provides a unique avenue by which an interest and appreciation of scientific research can be nurtured. It is precisely this concept that underpins VISUAL (Ventures in Science Using Art Laboratory), a recently launched educational outreach program of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center on Polymers (MRSEC) (supported by the National Science Foundation's Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers Program) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. VISUAL is based on the premise that the visual arts can serve as an effective means to stimulate, educate and promote materials science research to the general public and to students of all ages.

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