Science for the Masses: Looking Glass Leggings

Hippocampal Pyramidal Neuron w:o key

Large pyramidal neuron from rat hippocampus (the memory center of the brain!)

I want everyone to see how cool science can be. I want them to see how beautiful a cell can be if you let it.

When I tell people that I work with brains, half the time they get excited and ask me more. The other half of the time, however, they get a look of discomfort on their face and think that what I do is “icky.” So I went on a search for ways to show people that what I do and what I look at is actually quite beautiful.

I took a course in college on scanning electron microscopy (SEM), something I highly suggest looking up, because if there is anything that can make tiny things look beautiful, it’s SEM. I decided to take photos of the brain cells and spinal cord of a rat (that’s right, a rat).

These photos are what came from that class:

Through colorizing them and patterning them in different ways, I turned them into this fabric:

IMG_6600

 

And then turned them into these leggings:

My goal with these leggings is to both inspire people to add a little science into their life and wardrobe as well as ignite curiosity surrounding the items in the photos. I want people to look up what the heck a neurite is, what the hippocampus is for, and what is so special about cerebellar granule neurons.

If you need a little bit of science in your life, you can find Plaidypus Looking Glass Leggings in the “Leggings” section of our Etsy store, or at Wadoo Gifts in Fort Collins, CO. And remember, science is cool. Even rat brains.

New Leggings Line!

scanning electron microscopy lily pollen leggings plaidypus fashion

I’m really excited to introduce our new line of leggings! They’re still being tweaked for sizing, but will be up on my Etsy shop and in Wadoo by May.

‘So what’s so exciting about these leggings?’ you may ask. I’m glad you asked. You see, there is a panel of interesting fabric scanning electron microscope lily pollen leggings teal blue plaidypus fashionrunning down the side of the tights. And this fabric was designed by yours truly based on scanning electron microscope images*. The images I have printed on fabric so far are of lily pollen and a rat’s spinal cord, but expect to be getting in more designs soon of rat cerebellar neurons (used in movement) and rat hippocampal neurons (the hippocampus is a part of the brain’s memory system).

Here’s the first prototype that I made for a good friend of mine as a birthday present (she’s the adorable one with the matching blue hair):

IMG_3388 scanning electron microscope lily pollen plaidypus design leggings

The panel down the side of this prototype is a lily pollen image that has been mirrored to create the diamond pattern and then falsely colored.

Here are the other colors I’ve printed so far (the same lily pollen image in magenta, the teal lily pollen, and a rat spinal cord in browns/oranges):

scanning electron microscopy magenta lily pollen leggings plaidypus design scanning electron microscope lily pollen and rat spinal cord plaidypus

And here are the designs I’m expecting to get in during the month of April (the first one is cerebellar neurons and the second one is hippocamal pyramidal neurons):

yellow cerebellar granule cells neurons scanning electron microscopy plaidypus designblack and white hippocampal pyramidal neuron scanning electron microscopy plaidypus

Keep your eyes peeled for more information on these guys. I’m going to try to finish prototypes this week and get a draft of packaging done so I can start making them for sale.

*Scanning electron microscopy is really cool, and if you want to see some other images using this technology, I highly suggest doing a Google Image search of “scanning electron microscopy”. There are some especially pretty photos of snowflakes and bacteria.