Monday, October 12, 2009

Enter the Bubble Chamber

A classic example of a pimue decay
I have been very fascinated with bubble chamber photography lately. These photographic images capture short-lived reactions of electrically-charged particles moving through a chamber of superheated liquid. The resulting images offer a variety of straight lines, spirals, and curves that share a similarity to shapes humans seem predisposed to draw and enjoy. These shapes have been been part of our expressive output from the earliest cave drawings to the doodles of your average worker suffering through a long office meeting. They are also seen in the work of Roger Ballen and Wassily Kandinsky among others.

Chamber of Enigma © Roger Ballen

Composition VIII, Wassily Kandinsky
As a lover of film and vinyl records, bubble chamber photographs also hold a certain old school charm as they have been largely replaced with more modern particle detectors that use a variety of electronic readouts to track particle paths.

One final bubble chamber tidbit. A bubble chamber photograph was used for the US cover of The Stroke's debut album, Is This It.
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