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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

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The diatomist

4 minutes

Amazing hidden worlds become visible through a forgotten Victorian art form

Diatoms, a form of algae, are invisible to the naked eye. But when placed under a microscope, the symmetrical organisms offer grand displays of nature’s remarkable diversity of colour and form. The Diatomist follows Klaus Kemp, one of the last remaining practitioners of the Victorian art form of diatom arrangement, as he hunts down specimens in the UK’s ditches, troughs and gutters to create new displays. His wondrous creations offer a lovely portal into the world of Victorian art and its intersection with science, of aesthetics entwined with investigation.

Director: Matthew Killip

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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Support Aeon

Essay/
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Going nowhere fast

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Ben Allanach

Essay/
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After centuries searching for extraterrestrial life, we might find that first contact is not with organic creatures at all

Caleb Scharf