The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Today, three new images of starbursts and colliding galaxies from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Chandra X-ray team were uploaded to the Smithsonian's Flickr Commons stream. Check out these colorful, shimmering beauties, millions of light years away from Earth, in the slideshow below:
Here's what Kim Kowal Arcand, Multimedia Specialist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Chandra X-Ray Observatory had to say about the new images:
"One of the central quests of astronomy is to understand how stars form, shine for billions of years, and eventually die—sometimes in explosive deaths as supernovas. The Chandra X-ray Observatory can focus on the high-energy action of this drama in the remains of exploded star SNR 0509-67.5, in the torrent of star formation in star-burst galaxy M82, or in the Antennae colliding galaxies where supernova explosions are enriching the intergalactic gas with elements that will be incorporated into new generations of stars and planets."
- Here’s something to stress out electronic archivists. An epic infographic on the staggering size of the internet in 2010 [via Mashable].
- XRF Spectoro-what?? Check out a Star Trek-like analysis of an ancient Egyptian scroll over on the Brooklyn Museum’s blog.
- Whoa! Can you imagine? The sci-fi series Fringe recreates the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in a Vancouver high school cafeteria [via @susangittins].
- Gigs I would like: artists peruse the National Museum of the American Indian’s collections for inspiration.
- Early 20th century journeys in Kaifeng, China: travel journals from the Freer|Sackler Archives.
- Soooooo, you’ve probably heard already, but here it goes: The National Archives discovers an altered date on an important Lincoln document.
- Advice in a series of blog posts from Thomas Garnett, Director of the Smithsonian’s Biodiversity Heritage Library, about what to do with your library degree in a challenging economy.
- And related: So, you want to be a librarian?, a la 1947:
Vocational Guidance Films, Inc., "Your Life Work Series: The Librarian," 1947.
Today was the kickoff of the International Year of Chemistry 2011, and so we wanted to take the chance to introduce you to some of the chemists from our collections featured on the Smithsonian’s Flickr Commons.
Our Flickr Commons sets are filled with photos both of chemistry greats that even the non-scientifically inclined among us celebrated in grade-school textbooks, and lesser known individuals that have nevertheless had an impact on the field.
Here’s a rundown of a few of my favorites from the slideshow above:
- Louis Pasteur—French chemist and microbiologist we all know for his breakthroughs in germ theory, pioneering studies on crystal asymmetry, and perhaps most importantly (at least in my opinion), pasteurization: the primary reason we can all drink milk, wine, and beer without getting sick.
- Margaret D. Foster—American chemist who was the first woman to work for the United States Geological Survey, and who completed important research for the Manhattan Project.
- Wilhelm Ostwald—Baltic German chemist and Nobel Prize winner among those typically credited with being the modern founders of the field of physical chemistry, Ostwald also was a passionate amateur painter whose work in color theory influenced the likes of Wassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian (who knew!).
- Irène Joliot-Curie—Although often overshadowed by the work of her mother, Irène was equally as brilliant, winning a joint Nobel Prize with her husband in 1935 for her contributions to chemistry on new radioactive elements.
And since in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Chemistry Nobel Prize awarded to Madame Marie Curie, the International Year of Chemistry 2011 will celebrate the contributions of women to science, I would especially like to call out the ladies in this group. Some are famous, but it is also the work of relative unknowns, such as Jane Blankenship Gibson—a chemist who was recognized for her homemaking as much as her science during a time when women were still relatively rare fixtures in science labs, and yet who pursued her passion anyway, paving the path for women in the sciences today.
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