The Physics of Bleik

DSC_0033The picture above is of Bleik beach in Andøy in Northern Norway. I will readily admit that I want to bait you to click on the link with that picture. And why not? That place is stunningly beautiful. You can see that even on a cell phone image.

Being a physicist, I stood on that beach together with my son and looked at something else, too: Diffraction patterns. There are several layers of them on the seabed and, visible in a more subtle way, at the air-water surface. It is all waves, you see.

I doubt that I could have gotten you to click with the picture below but here it is. These patterns are also beautiful, if you know how they come to be. I asked my son what it reminded him of and he instantly talked about our last trip with the small propeller plane that connects our island to the rest of the world.

DSC_0036To be frank, realizing the similarities of nature’s structures substantially adds to the sensation of being in the middle of all of it. At least, to me. I think of the sea floor looking like the surface of the sea or the sand dunes of a desert in satellite pictures.

In other words, science and knowledge do not make things dull, as many still claim. Not at all. As a scientist you do not just see the scenery, even though, of course, its beauty is accessible to you, too. At the same time, though, you see much, much more. This is part of the payback for struggling through your studies.

Realize, too, that the desert and the sand dunes may very well lie on Mars. 😉


11692568_786977204756800_3044591635946855095_nAlexander is a physicist, teacher and science communicator who is currently working at the Norwegian Centre for Space-related Education at Andøya Space Center in Norway. Even though, in his case, work and play do overlap, the content on this webpage is entirely private. You can follow Alexander on Twitter, Facebook and Google +.

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