Science and art are usually distinct fields, but when they combine, the results can be incredible. Swiss photographer and scientist Fabian Oefner uses photography to capture natural phenomena in spectacular images. Watch Oefner's June TED talk on "psychedelic science" here (the talk just went online), and click through our gallery to see examples of his photographs.
This image illustrates pneumatic force. A balloon covered with paint is pierced, leaving behind a fascinating and vibrant liquid trail.
Here, light breaks at the grooves in the tracks of a vinyl record. "If you look at science, science is a very rational approach, whereas art on the other hand is usually an emotional approach to its surroundings," Fabian Oefner said during a TED talk earlier this year. "What I'm trying to do is bring those two images into one so that my images speak to the viewer's heart but also to the viewer's brain."
To explain magnetism, Fabian Oefner poured ferro liquid -- a dark, oily liquid that contains tiny shards of metal -- onto a magnet. Ferro liquid is hydrophobic, which means it doesn't mix with water. So when Oefner poured colored water onto the ferro liquid, the water spread out into tiny little canals. The resulting images look like a psychedelic slice of a brain.
This is a $10 illusion of the universe. The glowing ends of a fiberglass lamp are swirled to create a likeness of stars and galaxies using long-exposure photography. Fabian Oefner says his exploration of the unseen and poetic facets of the natural world is an invitation "to stop for a moment and appreciate the magic that constantly surrounds us."