One day, while looking at a brain slice through the microscope, I observed something unexpected - I witnessed the true beauty of the brain.
I study Purkinje cells, a type of neuron that resides in the back of the brain. While observing these neurons, I noticed that they bear a striking structural similarity to trees. In fact, this "Purkinje Pattern" - larger branches subdividing into smaller branches - is present all throughout nature on both microscopic and macroscopic scales. These neurons are about 100 microns (µm) tall, but a similarly shaped tree could be 50 meters (~150 ft) tall. My science-art images show Purkinje neurons in all their branched glory.
I am fascinated by the structure of these neurons and I often ponder why this shape has developed so many times in nature. You can find examples of the Purkinje Pattern - a term I coined - in trees, coral, antlers, lightning, capillary networks, river tributaries, dendritic quartz, phone tree networks, veins in a leaf, social media networks, and even in our own consciousness as we make binary decisions.
Each image below comes in a variety of colors. Order science-art prints here.