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Images: Artistic Research Wows in Gorgeous Photographs

Surprising 3D Printing

Kinder surprise 3d printing

(Image credit: © Swansea University, Laura North)

The winner of Swansea University's 2013 Research as Art competition was Laura North, an engineering graduate student who used a micro-CT scanner to reveal the toy inside a Kinder Surprise Egg and 3D print it without ever cracking open the candy. The process could be used to identify and reproduce mummified remains, or to create joint replacements in medicine, North said in a statement.

Glacier in Motion

Kronebreen glacier in the Arctic

(Image credit: © Swansea University, Adrian Luckman)

Geographer Adrian Luckman took the Academic Award in the 2013 Research as Art competition for this colorful visualization of a glacier on the move. Kronebreen, the fastest-flowing glacier on Arctic Spitsbergen, is seen via satellite. Luckman compared images of the glacier taken 11 days apart, revealing how the ice moved. Blue is slower-moving, while pink is fastest, up to 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) per day.

Sweet Temptation

Candies and childrens' hands

(Image credit: © Swansea University, Menna Price & Rebecca Jory)

Don't you want to take just one? Psychologist Menna Price's children helped her out with this image, representing Price's work on the psychology of impulsivity. Photographer Rebecca Jory snapped the image, which won the 2013 Collaborative Award in the Research as Art competition at Swansea University.

"The ability to exhibit self-control in an environment abundant with temptation may be a key factor in preventing over eating and obesity, with tendencies toward impulsivity and immediacy making this very difficult for some people," Price said in her entry form.

Experimental Oops

Failed solar cells

(Image credit: © Swansea University, Matt Carnie)

Let photographer Matt Carnie explain this one: "Standing like tombstones in a forgotten cemetery, these are lead halide perovskite solar cells and they are the results of experiments that didn’t go as well as hoped."

The solar cells did, however, net Carnie the Early Career Researcher Award in the 2013 Swansea University Research as Art competition. The photograph, Carnie wrote, highlights how even mistakes in research are an opportunity to learn what went wrong and make improvements that will lead to a breakthrough.

Ring Around the Visualization

physics visualization

(Image credit: © Swansea University, Ed Bennett)

In this physics visualization, each cube represents the same moment in time of a space 100,000 times smaller than an atom in a theory describing how elementary particles interact, according to creator Ed Bennett of Swansea University. Bennett and his colleagues are trying to observe instantons in this data, objects that describe the properties of some of these intereactions. By moving down the columns, the "noise" dissipates, leaving only instantons behind. This visualization won the Postgraduate Award in the 2013 Research as Art competition.

Rainbow of Scrubs

Surgical scrubs hanging

(Image credit: © Swansea University, Leifa Jennings)

Surgical scrubs create a blue rainbow in this winner of the 2013 Research as Art competition. The photo by Leifa Jennings took the Undergraduate Award and is part of a project by Jennings to educate students on the unspoken etiquette of the operating room.

Calm Seas

Ocean in Northern Brittany

(Image credit: © Swansea University, Alice Hicks)

This idyllic sea scene masks the massive amount of tidal and wave energy lurking beneath, according to photographer Alice Hicks of the Swansea University College of Engineering. A new tidal stream turbine is located here on the coast of Northern Brittany. Hicks and her colleagues are researching the interactions between the turbines, seals and porpoises to ensure that marine creatures are kept safe in the process of extracting energy from the oceans.

Elderly Mobility

Elderly people road sign

(Image credit: © Swansea University, Charles Musselwhite )

An image of an elderly driver supersedes the stereotype of the decrepit old seen on a U.K. road sign in this runner-up image in the 2013 Research as Art competition by Charles Musselwhite of the Center for Innovative Aging.

Where There's Smoke

Forest fire in Canada

(Image credit: © Swansea University, Cristinia Santin)

This fire was no accident. It's a controlled burn conducted in Canada, photographed by postdoctoral researcher Cristinia Santin of Swansea University. Fires like this one release a lot of carbon into the atmosphere, Santin wrote, but the trees they don't full burn are converted to charcoal, which locks up carbon. Santin and her colleagues are trying to understand whether forest fires release more carbon on balance or lock more up as charcoal.

Splashes, ripples and leaks

Computer chip in water

(Image credit: © Swansea University, The Cyberterrorism Project Team)

This image, a runner-up in the 2013 Research as Art contest, is a metaphor for cybersecurity. "This image reifies the widespread water metaphor that is common in discussions of security 'ripple effects' around terrorism and political violence," the creators wrote.

Diamonds in the Rough

New material of geometric crystals

(Image credit: © Swansea University, James Sullivan)

A scanning electron microscope reveals geometric crystals that generate electricity when exposed to temperature gradients. This new material could be used in spacecraft, according to creator James Sullivan of the University of Swansea College of Engineering.

Stephanie Pappas

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science covering topics from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. A freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, she also regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.