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Feb. 26, 2009

Martin Waugh: A Physicist Turned Artist

by Guest Blogger

Click to enlarge images

By Ted Kinsman

This week I am pleased to introduce Martin Waugh, a physicist turned artist. Martin is trained as a physicist and he has transformed his basement into a high speed studio dedicated solely to photographing water droplets. There is little doubt that he is the world leader in the field. His images have been used by companies as diverse as Coca Cola and the Discovery TV show "Time Warp." It is hard to envision how something so simple as a droplet of water hitting a pan of water can keep an active mind like Martin's occupied for so many years, but then you see his images. I was fortunate to meet Martin this past April at a show featuring his work in Hickory North Carolina. Below are descriptions of his images in his own words. For more images please stop by his website.

Notes on Liquid Sculpture® Images

inside_and_out

“Inside and Out”
This is a drop of water falling into a deep pool as seen from water-level. This was taken as the coronet is collapsing. The surprising feature is the texture of the portion below the surface. What started out as a very smooth bowl-like depression is now a strangely irregular surface with sharp spikes protruding from it.

earth_rebounds

“Earth Rebounds”
This is a drop of blue food coloring splashing into a pool of clear water. It is remarkable how the food coloring rebounds upward with essentially all of it returning to the top of the spike. This is a testament to the balance of forces and “equal and opposite reactions.”

december

“December”
This shows a drop landing on top of the spike created from the splash of a previous drop. The two drops fell about 1/10 second part in time, so that just as the first one is rebounding, the second one arrives. The resulting shape displays some of the same features as a drop splashing in a thin film (the knobs forming around the “coronet,” and the turbulent waves in the sheet that is formed). However, since the collision occurs in mid-air, there is no effect from a vessel bottom.

narcissi

”Narcissi”
This is a drop of water onto a shiny, dry surface that had 15 beads of red water placed in a circle. As that drop lands, it spreads outward as a thin sheet along the surface. When it runs into the beads, it cuts under them, kicking them upwards.

About Guest Blogger

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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