BITS – Throwback Thursday: 1890 Butterfly Egg and Diatom SciArt

In ALL, BITS by Julia Krolik

“Mr. Riedy and other members gave an exhibition of beautifully arranged slides, prepared by E. Thum, Leipzig. These consisted chiefly of beautiful diatom frustules, arranged in the form of rosettes, or interspersed with butterfly scales, and were shown with transmitted light and dark field illumination. There was, also, shown a series of opaque objects, consisting chiefly of variously coloured butterfly scales arranged in the form of vases with a bouquet of flowers, and hovering around the flowers a number of bees or humming-birds. When it is considered that these elaborate designs in their entirety are not distinguishable to the naked eye, and that from 100 to 500 separate bits of butterfly scales or diatoms enter into their composition, they are simply marvellous works of human handicraft. Another slide of a similar nature consisted of 100 distinct species of diatoms arranged in rows, and an accompanying catalogue gives the specific name of each. When viewed under the microscope these various preparations exhibit great brilliancy of colouring and perfection of arrangement.”  

– Mooers, L.M. (1890). Microscopical Societies. The American Monthly Microscopical Journal, Vol.11, p. 166.








About the Author

Julia Krolik

Julia helps SciArt through Art the Science, wrangles data and makes SciArt through Pixels and Plans. She speaks passionately about the importance of visual communication in information sharing. She lives by this quote: "They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea." - Francis Bacon | Twitter: @yuliakrolik