Prof wins national prize for striking research photo

Monday, November 21, 2022

Painting, poetry, science, curiosity, patience – it all came together in a striking photograph that has earned a Waterloo Engineering researcher national recognition.

Dr. Zhao Pan, a professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering, and Dr. Floriane Weyer, a collaborator from the Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, won one of three jury prizes this week in Science Exposed, an annual contest that showcases images captured by Canadian researchers.

Their photo of coloured water droplets suspended from fibres crossing at various angles was inspired by droplets Pan saw hanging from cypress leaves in a 500-year-old Beijing park after a sudden downpour.

“I play with droplets every day, but these were much larger than any I had seen in the lab,” he recalled. “I was amazed by Mother Nature, so I decided to do some research into it.”

Go to A little art, a little science for the full story.

Coloured droplets hang from fibres in a winning image created by Dr. Zhao Pan of Waterloo Engineering and a collaborator in Belgium.

Coloured droplets hang from fibres crossing at different angles in a winning image created by Dr. Zhao Pan of Waterloo Engineering and a collaborator in Belgium.

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