The Beauty of Science team have a simple mission statement: “We make beautiful science videos.” And that they do. They specialize in gorgeous videos of chemical reactions, whether that means growing silver and lead crystals or burning sulfur and other elements.
Created through a collaboration between the science visualization studio Beauty of Science and the Chinese Chemical Society, the series is a follow-up to Beautiful Chemistry, a 2014 project that included video of chemical reactions, animations, illustrations, and diagrams to visualize the history and practice of chemistry.
The images in Envisioning Chemistry were made using “high-resolution microscopes, infrared thermal imaging cameras, high-speed cameras, and 4K Ultra HD cameras, to reveal beauty of chemical reactions like never before,” according to the project’s website.
One video from the project, titled Black and White, was featured in the 2016 National Geographic Short Film Showcase in the Top Ten – and it’s not hard to see why. The startling transformations of black lead and white silver are accompanied by beautiful electronic music, the perfect accompaniment as coloured crystals appear to bubble up from the material’s surface, almost like smoke.
The films explore chemistry topics like precipitation reactions, metal displacement, and electrodeposition, using elemental metals like copper, tin, lead, and zinc. “If you think you know what metals look like, well, think again!” as one video warns. By the end of the films, you may even know what words like electrodeposition mean.
The power of the Envisioning Chemistry series lies in its accessibility. Anyone can enjoy these beautiful reactions, regardless of their interest in science.