IYSF has posted some of our favorite pieces along with some background information below to get the ball rolling !
A fractal is an object or quantity that displays self-similarity, in a somewhat technical sense on all scales, but the same type of structures must appear on all scales. The roots and history of fractals go back as far as the 17th century, while mathematically rigorous and intense treatment of fractals can be traced back to functions studied by Felix Hausdorff, Karl Weierstrass and George Cantor . The term fractal however was coined by Benoit Mandlebrot in 1975 and was derived from the Latin fractus meaning "broken" or "fractured". There are several examples of fractals, which are defined as portraying exact self-similarity, quasi self similarity, or statistical self-similarity. Although fractals are a mathematical construct, they are found in nature, which has led to their inclusion in artwork and also being considered art in its own right. Examples of fractals in nature include snowflakes, mountain ranges , river networks, crystals, lightning and systems of blood vessels.
Pictured above is a Julia set related to the Mandelbrot set.
The above image is of an abstract Mandelbrot fractal which has been placed on an orange background for artistic effect .
Above is a fractal from the Mendelbrot set which can be viewed in an online gallery for the most beautiful fractal images.
Mike Tyka is a senior research fellow at the University of Washington and works on protein folding & prediction. He's the co-founder of ALTS Makerspace in Seattle and co-founder of GrooveLabs who designed and built a 40ft playable Rubiks cube at Burning Man in 2009. In his spare time he enjoys working with metal sculpture and exploring the hidden beauty in world. Mike is the creator of the Beautiful Proteins blog (http://beautifulproteins.blogspot.com/) in which he includes some aesthetically pleasing proteins, three of which we have featured below.
Insulin is produced by the Islets of Langerhans in the Pancreas of mammals and induces liver and muscle cells to take up glucos (typically after a meal) from the blood. Shown here is a hexameric form, coordinated by two zinc ions, believed to be the form in which it is stored in the beta-cells of the islets of Langerhans prior to release. Inability to produce insulin (forvarious reasons) leads to the common disease of diabetes.
Neurotrophin (Nerve growth factor (NGF))
NGF is a signaling molecule that binds to sympathetic and sensory neuron surfaces and prevents them from going into apoptosis (cell death). It is part of a larger family of signaling proteins collectively knows as neurotrophins. NGF has been shown to play a role in disorders as varied as coronary atherosclerosis, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
Cystatin C or cystatin 3 (formerly gamma trace, post-gamma-globulin or neuroendocrine basic polypeptide), a protein encoded by the CST3 gene, is mainly used as a biomarker of kidney function. Recently, it has been studied for its role in predicting new-onset or deteriorating cardiovascular disease. It also seems to play a role in brain disorders involving amyloid (a specific type of protein deposition), such as Alzheimer's disease. [wikipedia]
The image above shows part of the cystatin C crystal obtained for crystallography and actually shows 8 cystatin C molecules in a complex arrangement of symmetries.
In humans, all cells with a nucleus (cell core containing the DNA) produce cystatin C as a chain of 120 amino acids. It is found in virtually all tissues and bodily fluids. It is a potent inhibitor of lysosomal proteinases (enzymes from a special subunit of the cell that break down proteins) and probably one of the most important extracellular inhibitors of cysteine proteases (it prevents the breakdown of proteins outside the cell by a specific type of protein degrading enzymes). Cystatin C belongs to the type 2 cystatin gene family.
Sci-art can be sent to IYSF@live.ie