JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
Roughing my way through a volume of the Philosophical Magazine for 1891 I came upon an article1 illustrated with these beautiful and slightly ironic images of experiments conducted on selenium. The slightly odd thing about this is that in the first image on the left in the montage of the three images (below) of selenium we see that the basic colors at play here are yellow/gold and blue, which happens to be the colors of the national flag of Sweden--the chemical symbol for the element selenium is "Se", and the detailed country code for Sweden happens also to be ".Se". Further, the man who first identified the element selenium back in 1817 was J.J. Berzelius (1779-1848), who of course is Swedish, and widely recognized as being the Father of Chemistry in Sweden (contributing the coining of the words "catalysis, "Polymer", "isomer", and "allotrope", among much else). So, well, that's that--there was just a lot of Se/Sweden stuff going on here. (The last bit here is a stretch: Berzelius does among other thigns have a lunar crater named for him, appropriately, as the Greek word for "moon" is "selene", the root of the name of the element.)
And of course the images are beautiful, and wouldn't stand a chance at being recognized as a found-art form for another two decades with the first appearances of non-representational art (as art).
1. Shelford Bidwell, "Some Experiments with Selenium Cells", pp 250-256, found in The London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, (edited by William Thomson, George Fitzgerald, and William Francis. Printed in London by Taylor and Francis), volume XXXI, fifth series, January-June 1891. viii, 523pp, 6 engraved plates.
And the full images: