This Isn't a Christmas Decoration

By Jamie Condliffe on at

This isn't a trippy Christmas decoration. Nor is it some form of modern art take on a flower. In fact, it's the result of something much more technical — and it's even won an award for its beauty.

You're actually looking at the result of a scientific experiment performed by engineer Hoi Dick Ng from Concordia University in Montreal. It involved a tank of water, with a cylindrical gate lodged in the middle. Ng kept the water level inside the gate lower than in the surrounding tank; then, when the gate was suddenly removed, high speed cameras captured the moment when water rushed into the empty space.

The original images were black and white, but this image has been colourised according to pixel darkness — the result, more or less, shows the shape and height of the water's surface just after the gate was removed. It looks so good that the image actually won a prize from the American Institute of Physics, when it was named the best fluid dynamics image of 2012. Prize or not, it looks stunning — why not print it out and hang it on your tree? [American Institute of Physics via Scientific American]

Image from American Institute of Physics