2nd entry: Saturday, 7th December, 2013
Among other things, I've been looking at neurons in diseased mouse brains, unwanted fluorescence, and the insect brain of a 300 million year old bee, rendered visible via 3D imaging software. I have also been mixing powdered gold, diamond dust, graphite powder and methylated spirits with quantities of molten wax.
I can't show any of the results of the latter, as they are all with the photographer, but here is a picture produced using 3D imaging of a queen bee in a spiral hive. Beautiful, no? It's by Mark Greco.
On monday I'm heading to another university where Dr Roy Lowry will be conducting (performing?) some experiments for me. We will be having the experiments photographed, but I think we will have to rig up some kind of periscope arrangement as the experiments will be quite, erm, explosive. We plan further work, but it is so dangerous that there is a lot of paperwork to fill out first. Safe and healthy, that's us.
1st entry: Thursday, 7th November, 2013
For reasons which I may or may not explain at a later date, to start work on this project I have spent the last few weeks travelling around, visiting chemists at universities. I'm interested in chemical reactions. I want to photograph them, and I think that the way to do it is with high-speed, high resolution digital equipment. I am handicapped by two inescapable facts: I know nothing about chemistry, and am the worst photographer I have ever known.
Last week I found myself in an underground bunker, somewhere beneath Cambridge University, looking at huge flasks filled with liquid helium and liquid nitrogen; they were garnished with frozen gas and existed so that the contents of test-tubes half the width of a pencil could be examined closely using the power of magnetic resonance. I was advised not to stray too close, as the data on my bank cards would be erased. I couldn't tell if the strange sensation I had was due to the magnets, being in a bunker, or the signs I'd noticed on the way down that had said something about nuclear radiation.
After a while I staggered out, onto the bright pavements of Cambridge, my mind reeling with information. I had seen synthetic versions of molecules that exist within enzymes that themselves are found in soil, but in order to see them they had to be grown as cultures in dishes of agar, have electric current passed through them and then be plunged into the centre of an immense 800mhz magnetic resonator. And even then, they only showed up as glowing dots on a computer monitor, dots that had to be decoded, a rosetta stone of lights on a screen.