Photographer and painter Santiago Betancur Z explores the intersection between science and abstract art in his photographic studies of bubbles, as well as producing life-size figure painting. In his photographs and video recordings, Betancur Z captures imagery of soap bubbles against dark backgrounds, showcasing the random kaleidoscopic color and light effects produced by the delicate spheres, and the chance allusions that occur in their surfaces, such as in Scream (2013), whose ghostly forms recall Edvard Munch’s.
We often think of raindrops as spherical or tear-shaped, but, in reality, a falling droplet’s shape can be much more complicated. Large drops are likely to break up into smaller droplets before reaching the ground. This process is shown in the collage above. The initially spherical drops on the left are exposed to a continuous horizontal jet of air, similar to the situation they would experience if falling at terminal velocity. The drops first flatten into a pancake, then billow into a shape called a bag. The bags consists of a thin liquid sheet with a thicker rim of fluid around the edge. Like a soap bubble, a bag’s surface sheet ruptures quickly, producing a spray of fine droplets as surface tension pulls the damaged sheet apart. The thicker rim survives slightly longer until the Plateau-Rayleigh instability breaks it into droplets as well. (Image credit: V. Kulkarni and P. Sojka)
“My younger sister died when I was seven. I remember my mom asking if I’d seen her, and we searched the whole house, and discovered her beneath some hurricane shutters. We think that she climbed up on them to play, and they fell down on her. My strongest memory from that day is these two young girls, holding open our front door when the paramedics arrived. I can see them clearly in my memory, but I don’t know who they are. I may have just invented them, but I like to think that they were angels.”