Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Video animation can be powerful

As most of my readers know, I am a trained biochemist. When I went to university and while I worked in the field, most of the cell biology that I came to know I had learned by reading a text description and by looking at a two-dimensional static cartoon representation. I had to extrapolate these rudimentary items into a three-dimensional dynamic mental model that was useful for me when conceptualizing cell biology concepts.

Well that was then, this is now.

Thanks to BioVisions at Harvard University, they have produced a video animation sequence of how a leukocyte (a.k.a. white blood cell) works at a basic level. The video animation is so detailed and so powerful that it comes very close to the kind of three-dimensional dynamic mental model that I was taught to create for myself all these years. My first reaction while watching this was quite emotional really. To finally almost ‘see’ what I’ve been trying to ‘imagine’ by entire scientific career gave me an amazing feeling.

The animation video is available in two formats:

1) A non-narrated three-minute version with a powerful music overlay. It can be found on this page and it auto-starts.

2) An almost nine-minute version that contains the same animated sequences as the three-minute version; however, it is slowed down to accommodate narration of the action. It can be found here under the title “Inner Life of the Cell”.

Take a peek at the video and let me know what you think from either a scientific or non-scientific perspective (or both!).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is like watching poetry Eric - thank you for posting it -

My post graduate research involved some ultrastuctural study of the bg algal symbiont of an angiosperm - was many years ago and and those moments of wonderment and awe over the majesty of cell ultrastucture and functional design were recaptured as if they were yesterday