Frizions: painting with polarized light


Devana chasma
Peter Wasilewski

Dr. Peter Wasilewski, a NASA scientist, creates these beautiful photographs by passing polarized light through freezing films of water in Petri dishes. He calls the results "frizions":

The eye and brain combine the mixture of physical colors to produce a striking color impression. I began to control the way the ice grows, into forms I desired, always with color as my guide. Simple forms, detailed and complex forms, and forms that simply happened, as though I imagined them, established my medium. Ice growth became the landscape, and thickness and the polarizer sheet morphed into my color palette.


Peter Wasilewski

The frizion shapes evoke technicolor feathers, crystals, the centers of orchids or fronds of fern - all manner of illusory natural shapes. Some of them resemble effects from Star Trek - extraplanetary terrain, strange atmospheric disturbances, or dazzling galaxies. But Wasilewski says his frizions are a strictly earthbound phenomenon:

Of the 11 forms of water ice so far identified, only the form found on Earth can provide a 'Frizion.' This is because it is hexagonal ( a crystal property that explains the needle and stellar snowflakes and is responsive to the interaction with polarized light.)

Wasilewski's website

Purchase Frizion prints

Frizions at the New Scientist

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Also puts Emoto's stuff to shame - why pretend to use words to 'make' different crystals when you can use SCIENCE!

this exhibit is currently on display here in Juneau, Alaska, through Feb. 21. good stuff!

Emoto who? [/sarcasm]