I’ve had a lifelong love of science, and it travels with me wherever I go. My natural curiosity and scientific training lead me to look beyond what’s happening and ask why it’s happening. This is fun (for me at least), because it turns the world around me into my own science lab. Here’s an example.
I took this photo from a window overlooking the main square in the historic center of Tallinn, Estonia. When I snapped the shot, I was trying to be artsy-fartsy, and didn’t realize until I returned to our apartment that the image in the bottle was flipped, both top to bottom, and side to side. The spire on the 13th Century Town Hall is now pointing down … of course, the bottle is acting as a convex lens! This is exactly what Optics 101 tells us it should do.
Fast forward a few months to my eye doctor’s office, where as usual, I’m waiting. I’m looking at a creepy picture of the inside of my eye, and suddenly, the blue bottle flashes into my mind. It occurs to me that the blue bottle is doing exactly what my eye does when I look at something.
And since I had time to kill, I thought this process through. The town hall obviously starts out upright. The image goes through the bottle, and is flipped upside down, and right to left on the backside of the bottle. This upside down image then hits the lens behind the cornea of my eye, and is flipped again onto the backside of my eyeball (just like the bottle.) Then my brain jumps into action and mentally flips the image again, so what I actually “see” is oriented correctly. Phew!
I admit that my mind works in strange ways sometimes – probably most of the time. And over the years, poor Terri has been subjected to more unsolicited science explanations than she can count. But it certainly perks things up – for me anyway. Cool science demo, or waaaay too much time on my hands?
P.S. If you want to see this concept taken to an entirely new level, check out the marvelous photos by our blogging friends Pam & Richard at Naturetime.
1. By CoolKoon via Wikimedia Commons
4. By MrPanyGoff via Wikimedia Commons