Chinese Scientists Prove Chemistry Can Be Beautiful [Video]

One of 10 award-winning visualizations from the 2015 Vizzies
Beautiful Chemistry Vizzies
A professor in China finds the art in basic science and shares it in this video. Yan Liang, Xiangang Tao, Wei Huang, Edison (Qi) Zheng, and Jiyuan Liu

For many, the phrase “chemical reactions” conjures memories of tedious laboratory work and equations scribbled on exams. But Yan Liang, a professor at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, sees art in the basic science. Last September, Liang and colleagues launched beautiful? to highlight aesthetically pleasing chemistry. Their video showcases crystallization, fluorescence, and other reactions or structures shot in glorious detail. Liang says finding experiments that meet their visual standards has been a challenge. “Many reactions are very interesting, but not beautiful,” he says. “But sometimes, when shot at close distance without the distraction of beakers or test tubes, ordinary reactions such as precipitation can be very beautiful.”

“Beautiful Chemistry” won the Expert’s Choice award for Video at the 2015 Vizzies. See the rest of the winners here.

This article was originally published in the March 2015 issue of Popular Science, under the title “The 2015 Vizzies”