Inverted MICROscopy




To my set up under the microscopic I added two cross polariser sheets which triggered the birefringence effect of the crystals with asymmetrical crystal structure such as the DMDNB. Birefringence is the optical property of a material having a refractive index that depends on the polarization and propagation direction of light


image Nedyalka Panova – DMDNB crystals

The traditional kaleidoscope continually changes symmetrical images and become popular optical toy when first manufactured in 1816 by  Sir David Brewster Principal of the University of Edinburgh, 1859-1868.

While nowadays artists and craft people can ‘carve’ kaleidoscope in every found object one can imagine.

The World Arts Film Festivalis is awarding the inaugural Kaleidoscope Awards for excellence in the art of filmmaking:


artist Koji Yamami


image Nedyalka Panova – DMDNB crystals


image Nedyalka Panova – DMDNB crystals

The configuration of the crystals under the lens of the microscope shows different colours when one of the polariser sheets is rotated in an angle in relation to the other. Birefringence is responsible for the phenomenon of double refraction whereby a ray of light, when incident upon a birefringent material, is split by polarization into two rays taking slightly different paths.

The optical illusion observed when peeping in a kaleidoscope made from this 19th century invention a prize looking toy for artists and scientists. A great collection from Japan Kaleidoscope museum can be seen between the 15th and the 18th of April 2016 in the Byre Theater at St. Andres

The show is called ‘Symmetry of Light’ and I will contribute with my birefringence kaleidoscope ‘Twisted Beauty’.


image Nedyalka Panova

Twisted Beauty, silica based aerogel, linear cross polarisers (2015)




Scientia sine arte nihil est…


Artist in Residency

While artists and scientists are usually seen as worlds apart, residencies like mine are becoming increasingly common. They are seen as a good way of bridging the gap between arts and humanities and science and technology. By introducing artists to scientific research topics and facilities, it offers up new material for them to work with.

For the scientists, this collaboration is seen as a way of bringing a fresh perspective and allowing original ideas to flow. This aims to stimulate them to follow novel lines of interdisciplinary research

As a Visual Artist working at the boundary between Art and Science I am interested in material paradigm i.e. the synthesis, structure and performance of the existing and new materials which may have already become or is about to become part of the artistic landscape.

relevant links:

Revue d’histoire des sciences 2006/2 (Volume 59)



Time Reverse – TIRAMISU


Tea’N’Tea is a project which looks closely to one of the research area of applications of organic polymers – detecting the aromatic molecules of TNT, DNT, DNB and RDX.

An independent artistic research about land mine situation in Europe, during the Homeland War and especially, in the post-war period in Republic of Croatia. While the scientific research is specialized in the chemistry and fabrication of organic polymer sensory detectors the artist tackles areas of botany, agriculture, forester, ecology, land use, land cover, military surveillance and reconnaissance.

In humanitarian de-mining it is necessary to achieve complete removal of explosive ordinance before land is released back to the local community.

The project critically explores the existing problem with land mines in Europe and the controversy of the peace time situation. The Art work generated of Art and Science collaboration will be a case study of a project called TIRAMISU (Toolbox Implementation for the Removal of Anti personnel Mines, Sub munitions and Unexploded Ordnance) which run between a Mine action community in Croatia and a research group in Organic Semiconductor Centre (OSC), University of St. Andrews, Scotland, UK.


‘We all need Vitamins’

Arabidopsis Thaliana is a screen plant for biological research. Its life spam [seed to seed] is ~6 week and I am hoping to use the seeds of the mature plants over time and to trace visible particularities that could be associated with the presence of explosives in their metabolic system.

Therefore, I am burying explosive material into drilled with holes boxes and/or directely mixed with the soil. Over time my ‘mines’ will release small amount of nitrogen and other molecules which then will be absorbed by the plants with the water.

I expect this ‘extras’ to trigger changes in the plant’s shape, size, colour, spectral response, etc due to its susceptibility to the contamination.


MICROscopy series of the germination of Arabidopsis Thaliana in 72 hours and EX-Plosives, find more images in post Inverted MICROscopy

Plants are dependent on light for their photosynthesis and morpohogenesis and therefore had developed light absorbing pigments, organs and a light tracking mechanism (phototropism) to harvest maximum light from the environment . Under a microscope a newly germinates seed shows etiolated hypocotyls, coleoptiles and roots, photo receptors that act as optical fibers and make the light and plant to meet.


some relevant topics and useful links

Why and what for the leaves are yellow in autumn?

Plants as light traps

Distinguishing nitrogen fertilization levels

The red edge of plant leaf reflectance

Response of leaf spectral reflectance to plant stress

I have bee recording time lapse video of the germination process of Arabodpsis Thaliana


image: Nedyalka Panova, Arabodopsis first steps into this world


image: Nedyalka Panova, Arabodopsis 2 weeks old


image: Nedyalka Panova, Arabidopsis’s imaginary life

After series of observations and focusing at different depth of field the subject cease to be a plant and turn into abstract image shimmering on the display floating in a pink fluid of polarized light.