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Twenty Thousand Leagues
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Twenty Thousand Leagues

June 10, 2010
Twenty Thousand Leagues These worm-like patterns could appear to be some life form deep on the ocean floor. However, this is far from the case, the periodic patterns seen here were created on a polymer surface place under an electric field. Each "worm" is a ripple on the film surface, with the size and shape of these features determined by the strength of the applied electric field and the properties of the polymer. The colors, like an oil slick, are caused by light bouncing off the surface of the polymer and the underlying support and describe the contour of the surface. 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.