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Invisible World of Water

November 13, 2021–April 17, 2022

diatoms - small microscopic algae in circle and triangle shapes

The first project in the Academy of Natural Science’s year-long focus on water, the exhibition Invisible World of Water renews our appreciation for the vital element of water through artworks that combine the marvel and insight of both scientific and artistic inquiry. Centered around two micro phenomenon of water–snow crystals and diatoms—the exhibition will present two parallel histories of observation and show the interplay between the micro-cosmic and macro-cosmic. Diatoms–microalgae–the wondrous jewels of water encased in glass, that lie at the heart of the food chain, and generate a major portion of the world’s oxygen are often compared with snow crystals. Combining rare historical Victorian arranged diatom slides by Harold Dalton and others; microphotographs by Ukichiro Nakaya; contemporary ceramic sculpture by Margarita Hagan; and stop-motion imagery by physicist Kenneth Liebbrecht, - the Invisible World of Water will consider the hidden connections and that flow between water, land and air through earth’s hydrosphere. The Academy of Natural Sciences important role in waterway ecology began with Ruth Patrick, a diatomist who advocated for an integrated, holistic approach to waterway health in her groundbreaking work in ecology.