Invisible World of Water
November 13, 2021–May 1, 2022
The first project in the Academy of Natural Sciences’ yearlong focus on 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-phenomena — snow crystals and diatoms — the exhibition will present 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, exist in virtually every body of water, lie at the heart of the food chain and generate a major portion of the world’s oxygen. They are often compared to snow crystals.
The exhibition includes illustrations from rare books (by Robert Hooke, Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg and Ernst Haeckel); Victorian-era arranged diatom slides by Harold Dalton and others; microphotographs by Snowflake Bentley and Ukichiro Nakaya; artifacts documenting the groundbreaking research of diatom scientist Ruth Patrick; contemporary ceramic sculpture by Marguerita Hagan; stop-motion imagery by physicist Kenneth Libbrecht; and high-resolution photography by Nathan Myhrvold. The Invisible World of Water considers the hidden connections and the 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 diatom researcher who advocated for an integrated, holistic approach to waterway health in her groundbreaking work in ecology.
All exhibits are included with the purchase of a general admission ticket.
Members receive free admission to Invisible World of Water. Not a member? Join now!
Current members, check out the Members’ Guide for more information about your admission benefits.
Hidden Works of Nature: The Microscopic World in the Library & Archives
Every other Friday, January 7 through April 15
How did a 40-year-old draper with no formal education ignite the study of our microscopic world? How do archives document the Academy’s role in microscopy and the study of diatoms? Join us behind the scenes in the Academy’s Library & Archives as staff share collections that illuminate the stories behind scientific discovery.
These informal, 20-minute talks will take place at the top of each hour from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Please meet outside the Library & Archives entrance, inside the Dietrich Gallery.