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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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Essay/
Physics
Out of nowhere

Does everything in the world boil down to basic units – or can emergence explain how distinctive new things arise?

Paul Humphreys

Essay/
Cosmology
How cosmic is the cosmos?

Ever since Heisenberg and Tagore, physicists have flirted with Eastern philosophy. Is there anything in the romance?

Zeeya Merali