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November 10, 2011
"Bubbles in a Petri Dish," by Joshua Dijksman, postdoctoral fellow, department of physics, Duke University. This is an image of a layer of UV light-exposed fluorescent foam bubbles in a petri dish, squeezed between a liquid and the confining lid. Such monolayers of bubbles are used as a model system to study the intricate and poorly understood mechanical behavior of disordered systems like sand, mayonnaise and, yes, shaving foam. This image is one of the first proof-of-principles that shows that a fluorescent dye in the fluid can greatly facilitate recognizing the foam bubbles, which in these studies is an essential yet otherwise strenuous task. This image was awarded second place in the "Envisioning the Invisible" 2010 Mahato memorial event photo contest, organized by the engineering graduate student council at the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University. The event, which will be annual, honors Abhijit Mahato, a former Duke engineering graduate student who was tragically murdered in 2008. Further information about the contest and pictures of other winning entries and submissions is available Here. [Note: Materials and personnel costs were supported in part by National Science Foundation grants DMR 09-06908 and DMS 08-35742.] (Date of Image: April 2010)

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