February 1, 2013

Prize winning closeup of a sea urchin's teeth.


Credit: Pupa U. P. A. Gilbert and Christopher E. Killian; University of Wisconsin, Madison

Pupa Gilbert is a physics professor here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Here are some more — less close up — pictures of sea urchins by Professor Gilbert. And here's the National Science Foundation's announcement of the results of the 2012 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge, in which Gilbert wins first place and "people's choice" in the photography category. Honorable mentions and winners in other categories at the link. Also details about that very strange image of sea urchin teeth.
Instead of flat sides and sharp edges, the sea urchin produces "incredibly complex, intertwined" curved plates and fibers that interlock and fill space in the tooth as they grow. Though made of a substance normally as soft as chalk, the teeth are hard enough to grind rock....

18 comments:

Mitchell the Bat said...

Must brush and floss after every meal.

Scott said...

Congratulations to Dr. Gilbert. It's nice to be able to see beauty in the work you do.

chickelit said...

Curious about the colors, I found this blog with some representative examples, but no satisfying explanation: link

chickelit said...

Sea Urchin Spines: Coloration: link.

Chemical structures and everything.

The internet is a wonderful thing.

edutcher said...

I'd thought the coloration was from some kind of filter to show off the variations, but marine life is often quite vibrant on its own.

Very cool stuff.

David said...

Chicklit thanks for the cool link. But I'm still not clear if this is the actual color of the teeth or a photographic enhancement.

marvel said...

There used to be a high school competition called "The Art of Science" which contained a lot of these sorts of things. I see it's recently been reconfigured: http://www.princeton.edu/artofscience/gallery2011/

I've never seen anyone comment on the Science of Art, however.

Sorun said...

Curious about the colors

False colors, though a nice selection. Other gaudy choices and he might not have won.

"Each shade of blue, aqua, green, and purple--superimposed with Photoshop on a scanning electron micrograph (SEM)--highlights an individual crystal of calcite...

ricpic said...

Tough to floss.

Inga said...

It could be said for Gatsby and sea urchins, that some things studied up close are far more beautiful than at a distance.

chickelit said...

I've never seen anyone comment on the Science of Art, however.

You've missed some of Palladian's discussions of pigments, for example here, which I expanded on here.

Dr Weevil said...

Inquiring minds want to know: does Pupa Gilbert have siblings named Larva and Imago? One older, the other younger, presumably.

Elliott A said...

About time you blogged about the natural beauty of Dentalworld!

Elliott A said...

@chickelit- There is an ideal ratio of visible front view tooth width of 1:.6:.36 going from central incisor to canine. Even lay people notice when someone's teeth do not show this. Artists make use of this all the time. Another important twining of art and science involves the Fibonacci sequence,(each number is the sum of the preceding two numbers) the ratio of successive growths of many plants and animals (i.e. conch shell), also used by artists to provide proper ratio and proportion.

Elliott A said...

Photographers place interesting objects at the intersection of thirds (think tic tac toe). Photo looks most appealing this way.

ndspinelli said...

Sea urchins are delicious.

ndspinelli said...

Sand dollars are the exoskeleton of a type of sea urchin.

marvel said...

@chickelit and @Elliott A... Thanks for expounding!