Attack of the Giant Microbes at NHM this weekend

Remember that one time in college when you drank an entire Costco-sized bottle of Benadryl in two minutes because your roommate bet you twelve bucks you couldn’t do it? And afterwards you had to lay down on your couch for three hours because all of the microorganisms in the room had ballooned to the size of cocker spaniels and were pestering you to join the United Workers of the World and protest NAFTA by burning down an International House of Pancakes? Remember how the only way you could block out their droning voices was to tear up your bedsheets and wrap them around your head?

Pollen, as seen through a scanning electron microscope.
Pollen, as seen through a scanning electron microscope.

If you still remember that, it might be a good idea to stay away from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County this weekend.

But for those of us who don’t have terrifying hallucinogenic memories of gigantic microbes, there’s a treat: Tomorrow, the museum will display a slew of images taken by a scanning electron microscope, or SEM. An SEM takes pictures of all things ridiculously tiny by firing electrons at them in a high-energy beam line by line, in a way that has entirely too much science in it for me to explain comprehensibly.

But the fun doesn’t stop at two dimensions. Artist Jason Hackenwerth will be on hand, creating giant balloon sculptures of microscopic items. These are amazing to see up close; check out Jason’s website for examples of what will be on display.

The exhibit will be on display from 10 AM to 4 PM, and is free with paid museum admission. Check out the NHM’s website for more information.

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