Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A tribute to Dr Jon Darius...



Above the Saimyoji Temple, Takao Mountain, Kyoto, Japan, maple leaves are disturbed by an evening breeze (from the pages of Japan: The Four Seasons, Johnny Hymas, first published 1990, fourth printing 1993). (see side pix).


A friend text me this afternoon, to let me know that he had visited my blog and concluded that it was just my diary with no other comments whatsoever. We shall not grudge him of his comments because, as I have said in my earlier postings, blogs to some are 'syiok sendiri', to others its nothing more than a digital virtual diary and to some others its just an outlet for them view their thoughts ideas which, perhaps, the mainstream media might find it trivial or petty or at worst, they just couldn't be bothered to publish anyway..hahaha. If my friend had care to read the finer prints of my blog mast...he would have read what this blog is all about. Anyway, no heart feelings...life goes on. .... While I was looking for my London street guide I bought on my first trip to the UK, I came across a book 'Beyond Vision' by Dr Jon Darius. He was an OUP author, Curator of Astronomy at The National Museum of Science and Industry, London and a close friend and associate. He died a few years ago. His book was published in 1984 by Oxford University Press (OUP), Oxford. The book is basically a collection of one hundred historic scientific photographs. Scientific photographs record information inaccessible to the human eye. On all scales from the submicroscopic to the cosmic, they expand our limited vision, revealing vanishingly faint images, invisible radiations, events imperceptibly swift or slow, remote realms of space and ocean which we cannot capture unaided.


The one hundred scientific photographs that my late friend, Dr Jon Darius, had assembled (over a quarter of them in full colour) have been selected not simply for their aesthetic appeal but for their historic significance, just like the first malaysian astronaut...(I am sure someone will capture that historic moment). The selection ranges from the earliest daguerreotype of blood cells, the crucial test of general relativity at a solar eclipse, the X-ray diffraction pattern which cracked the genetic code, the first color view of the foetus inside it's mother's womb, the revelation of an infrared rainbow, the discovery of image of extraterrestrial volcanism - each of the photographs is in some sense unique. Some are classics like Rontgen's radiocardiogram of his wife's hand or the discovery of plates of Pluto; others like the photographs which launched aerial archaeology, will be less well known.


More often than not, these photographs will have been the object of measurement, but occasionally they earn their place sheerly through the extent of their influence.

The collection spans the history of photography from its origins 150 years ago to the present day (1984 heheh). It sets the scene with a concise history of scientific photography. 25 years have gone by Jon, am I am still looking at your book. Your work and your memory stays with us. I doubt any copy would still be in bookshops anywhere and OUP probably had put it out-of-print by now...hahaha.








2 comments:

mistyfished said...

selamat raya posa ;-)

Khaeruddin Sudharmin said...

thank you. you too...