Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Breathtaking photomicroscopy of seeds ... and more!

About ten days ago I was tweeted about a wonderful post by Maria Popova at Brainpickings. Already a confirmed fan of Popova I was surprised to have missed this March 27 post:

T h e   M a g i c   o f   S e e d s   a n d   t h e   S c i e n c e   o f   I n s u r i n g    E a r t h ’ s   F u t u r e 


What tiny parachutes and a man named Wolfgang have to do with the future of all living species.

Image via Brainpickings - from Wolfgang Stuppy.
I was extremely pleased not to miss out on this post as one of the people featured in the  short 5 min video is Wolfgang, my contact person at the Millennium Seedbank last October. Its not just a good video either... I think you might agree its rather a brilliant short film by LONELY LEAP titled: 

Beyond the Gardens: The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership

CLICK HERE to go to the video I can't embed tonight!
nb: notes from the film page:  Most people know Kew Gardens as home of the world's largest living plant collection but are not aware that it is also the location of an internationally important botanical research and educational institution. Going beyond the gardens as we know them, Lonelyleap produced two films for 2012's Tropical Extravaganza Festival which showcase the behind the scenes work of Kew's scientists whilst also exploring two of the festival's themes, Earth and Air.
The second film in the series looks at the work of the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership in Sussex, home to 10% of the world's plant diversity, and how the Seed Conservation Department is helping to save wild plants and habitats for our future.
Music by Helios -

Wolfgang Stuppy I have introduced in a post late last year... his profile on is formal and extensively productive.... yet he was the most charming of people and found time to be helpful despite his workload and other distractions at the time I was there.

If you visit the Kew website you will find a number of blog posts by Wolfgang with excellent images and descriptions. My hope is to one day sit in the 2 hour(?) lecture he is known to give with the most amazing slideshow images, stories and incredible knowledge to bring it all to life. I've no doubt his delivery would be incredibly engaging... his imaginative mind would ensure that.

MSB - Sophora secundiflora seeds EW
Red seeds of the Texas mountain laurel (Photo by Ellen Woods)

Skip over to read about these red seeds here...   and to this page to read about one of my favourites that I got to draw last October... 

Seed of the Month - Ravenala madagascariensis

By: Wolfgang Stuppy - 06/03/201
Truly blue seeds are about as rare as hens’ teeth.  In the first of his ‘Seed of the Month’ series, Millennium Seed Bank seed morphologist, Wolfgang Stuppy, explains why.

MSB - Ravenala madagascariensis    MSB- Ravenala_madagascariensis single seed
Malagasy traveller’s tree (left) and a single seed (right)

Dont forget: A visit to Brainpicking's post where I found this post's title as well as great photos and the video.
Before I go... next week I should have some rather interesting news to post on my next venture starting tomorrow. It involves Plant Science and is a local project I will be connecting with for a short residency. Orientation day tomorrow.
I spent some time today updating my website in readiness for the next phase. I've painted solidly over the four days of Easter there are new artworks to include as well.

Wishing you all a good week ... bye for now,

NB: image from website home page:


Valerianna said...

Fantastic film... and I'm totally captivated by the first seed image in this post, wowsy!

Sophie Munns said...

Amazing when you see some of the brilliant images... so drawable and one can imagine wonderful sculptures.

Really glad you got to see this excellent film Valerianna!

Shell said...

That video is fantastic. I love the actual 'seed bank' - what a fantastic space! Did you actually go in there? Isn't it great when you meet inspiring people? Sounds like an amazing man - I love the 'seed morphologist' job title! Hah! Are these images below yours? I love seeing these process images. They're beautiful.

Sophie Munns said...

So glad you watched the video Shell!
Yes I spent time in the seed vault and briefly in the actual Cold room... although not for long in there. I never found time to return and get suited up in the protective gear or locate someone to accompany me... both crucial given the element of risk.
Wonderful people Shell... welcoming and certainly inspiring!
Wolfgang was made for his work... charming and eloquent!
Only the last image is mine which is now on the front page of my website... thanks for your warm comments Shell.

Dominique said...

Hello Sophie,
J'ai pensé à vous ici

je vous envoie le lien au cas où vous ne l'auriez pas déjà rencontré dans vos multiples découvertes
Je ne trouve pas votre adresse mail
et celle inscrite sur votre page est inconnue de gmail :-)
Bonne journée

Sophie Munns said...

Bonjour Dominique,

Très bon de vous entendre et de lire sur cet artiste!

Le courrier électronique est sophiemunns @ ... je ne suis pas en utilisant l'un gmail maintenant ....

J'espère que vous êtes vraiment bien ...
meilleurs voeux,

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