This year, Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron marks 15 years of delivering science and innovation to the worldwide science community and 20 years since the company was set up. To commemorate this double anniversary, Diamond is curating a special outdoor photographic exhibition made up of over 70 stunning scientific images selected from Diamond’s science archive taken over the two decades. Featuring as part of Oxfordshire’s annual ArtWeeks Festival, the pictures will be able to be viewed by the public from 14th-22nd May (during South Oxfordshire Artweek) as they walk round sections of Diamond’s exterior perimeter fence where they will be displayed. The fence circles the huge iconic ‘silver doughnut’ shaped building. (Visitors will be able to park and walk around the perimeter.)
The images chosen to make up the exhibition were selected from Diamond’s rich science archive to give an insight into what goes on inside this leading science facility whilst also capturing the beauty of it. Pictures range from artistic images of the building and its state-of-the-art technology to microscopic pictures of scientific samples being examined at Diamond. These latter pictures are taken using the special technology and super bright light from Diamond’s beamlines which help scientists to make the invisible visible and advance science.
The images have been blown up to A0 size i.e. around 1.2m x 0.8 metres or larger and have been directly printed onto aluminium weatherproof boards. Each picture will have an accompanying caption with them to explain what they depict and if the images were captured in an unusual way that will also be covered. There will also be an online ‘flipping book’ available to download featuring all the images and accompanying text.
The pictures were taken over the years, by a range of professional photographers, plus some of the scientists themselves. Some were taken purely for artistic purposes to celebrate the beauty of the building, its science, and its technology. Others were shot to document Diamond’s scientific journey and highlight the capabilities of its super powerful light beams. Many of these images disguise the major challenges faced by the photographers who took these pictures in scientific laboratories where workspaces are often small, and have what is often described as ‘strange lighting’ which is not naturally conducive to artistic photography. Lighting is a big consideration when taking photos inside the building or beamlines. However, Diamond and its technology is set up to take great images of scientific samples often at the microscopic or even nano scale and these can be astoundingly beautiful.
CEO of Diamond, Prof. Sir Andrew Harrison comments; “We are delighted to be able to share these stunning images of science in action at Diamond. We look forward to welcoming visitors and hope our anniversary exhibition will show people just how beautiful as well as how important and inspirational science is.”
Located on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus near Didcot in Oxfordshire. Diamond first opened its doors to users in 2007, and it is also 20 years since the company was set-up. Over the past 15 years, Diamond has experienced considerable growth and helped achieve many science breakthroughs which have made a major contribution to science in general. Diamond today is one of the most advanced scientific facilities in the world, and its pioneering capabilities are helping to keep the UK at the forefront of scientific research.
Diamond Light Source works like a giant microscope, harnessing the power of electrons to produce bright light that scientists can use to study anything from fossils to jet engines to viruses and vaccines. The machine accelerates electrons to near light speeds so that they give off light 10 billion times brighter than the sun. These bright beams are then directed off into laboratories known as ‘beamlines’. Here, scientists use the light to study a vast range of subject matter, from new medicines and treatments for disease to innovative engineering and cutting-edge technology. Whether it’s fragments of ancient paintings or unknown virus structures, at the synchrotron, scientists can study their samples using a machine that is 10,000 times more powerful than a traditional microscope.