Photographer shoots for 'psychedelic science' (pictures)

Simple scientific phenomena such as magnetism and sound waves may never have looked as striking as they do through the lens of photographer Fabian Oefner.

CBS Interactive staff

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1 of 10 Fabian Oefner

Liquid Jewel No. 03, 2013

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.

This gallery originally appeared on CBSNews.com.

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2 of 10 Fabian Oefner

Blue Danube, 2013

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."

This gallery originally appeared on CBSNews.com.

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3 of 10 Fabian Oefner

Black Hole No. 05, 2013

This image illustrates centrifugal force, as paint whirls outward from a metal rod attached to a spinning power drill.

This gallery originally appeared on CBSNews.com.

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4 of 10 Fabian Oefner

Millefiori No. 01, 2012

This photo by Fabian Oefner shows pop art-like structures created by magnetic liquids and colored water.

This gallery originally appeared on CBSNews.com.

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5 of 10 Fabian Oefner

Millefiori No. 08, 2012

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 gallery originally appeared on CBSNews.com.

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6 of 10 Fabian Oefner

Aurora No. 01, 2013

Fabian Oefner poured whiskey into a large bottle, then dropped in a match. The resulting burst of fire is gone in a flash, but stopped in time, the image resembles a smoky head of cauliflower.

This gallery originally appeared on CBSNews.com.

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7 of 10 Fabian Oefner

Dancing Colors No. 05, 2012

In this visualization of sound by Swiss photographer Fabian Oefner, colored crystals leap from the surface of a speaker as it emits sound waves.

This gallery originally appeared on CBSNews.com.

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8 of 10 Fabian Oefner

Nebula No. 10, 2011

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."

This gallery originally appeared on CBSNews.com.

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9 of 10 Fabian Oefner

Marbelous No. 05, 2013

An unusual look at the properties of oil, as colorful marbles of oil paint float in a solution of water and methylated spirits.

This gallery originally appeared on CBSNews.com.

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10 of 10 Fabian Oefner

Grain of Scent, 2013

Tiny individual droplets of a fragrance hang in the air for a fraction of a second, forming a scent sculpture.

This gallery originally appeared on CBSNews.com.

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