SillyConCarbide writes "Every six months, the Materials Research Society holds a science as art competition. The winners from their most recent meeting are particularly breathtaking. Materials researchers may struggle for years with stubborn instruments, fragile crystals or difficult chemical reactions before obtaining a bit of precious data from the exotic substances they study. Now, the scrutiny of samples not only yields potentially important data, but also artistic inspiration. Polymer films, cerium oxide membranes, and tantalum oxide crystals can look beautiful in the right light — especially if that light is an electron beam."