Saturday, March 15, 2014

Science Cats! Volume 1

Isaac Newton white light spectrum optics cat chloe Cosmos Josef Spalenka
Sir Isaac Newton and assistants explore the visible light spectrum, refraction, and optics in 1666.

I am making a series of pictures celebrating the history of science and technology by inserting our cat, Chloe, into photoshopped science-themed images. They mostly represent themes in the new episodes of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. I will periodically add more pictures to this gallery as new episodes of Cosmos air on television, and as I think of new ideas (or get any interesting requests). Enjoy the science cats!

Watson and Crick DNA double helix model 1953 Chloe cat science Josef Spalenka
Chloe, Watson, and Crick demonstrated the first correct model for DNA in 1953. Francis Crick points at the double helix model while James Watson and Chloe look on. Rosalind Franklin (not pictured) provided crucial X-ray diffraction evidence, but sadly was not awarded a share of the 1962 Nobel Prize with the pictured scientists.

Chloe cat Cosmos Albert Einstein pipe smoke Josef Spalenka
Chloe and Albert have a contemplative smoke break together and think about the theoretical implications of curved space-time.

transistor electronics 1948 William Shockley John Bardeen Walter Brattain Bell Labs Chloe Cat Josef Spalenka
The September 1948 cover of Electronics Magazine showing the inventors of the first transistor in their workshop at Bell Labs: John Bardeen (background with glasses), Walter Brattain (right with mustache), and William Shockley (seated pretending to work). The three men would later share the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics. The development of the semiconductor transistor ignited the computer revolution and directly led to the domination of cat pictures on the internet. Shockley later founded Shockley Semiconductor in Mountain View, CA, effectively establishing Silicon Valley.

Marie Curie radioactivity radium polonium Chloe cat science cosmos Josef Spalenka
Marie Curie discovered the radioactive elements radium and polonium in 1898, the latter of which was named after her native homeland of Poland. She shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in physics with her husband, Pierre Curie, the French physicist Henri Becquerel, and their mischievous lab cat Chloe.

Tiktaalik chloe cat science evolution Neil Shubin Cosmos Josef Spalenka
*boop* Chloe travels 375 Million years back in time and encounters Tiktaalik, an excellent example of a transitional fossil which has mixed characteristics of both fish and tetrapods. As Chloe learned in the excellent book, Your Inner Fish (written by Tiktaalik discoverer Neil Shubin), the anatomy and physiology of both cats and humans shares much in common with their fishy ancestors.

gravitational lensing effect cat galaxies Hubble Chloe Josef Spalenka
A pair of distant cat's eye galaxies are magnified and distorted by the gravitational lensing effect of the Large Red Galaxy (LRG 3-757) in the foreground.

cation cat Chloe carbonate Cosmos "dichloe carbonate" Josef Spalenka
Artist's depiction of dichloe carbonate ions in solution. Originally made for Cosmos episode 2: "Some of the Things That Molecules Do."

Chloe cat Cosmos Helix Nebula space FOX Purrrfect Josef Spalenka
Chloe the cat in front of the Helix Nebula, which is used in the Cosmos logo.
Originally made as a cheesy ad for Cosmos episode 1: "Standing Up in the Milky Way."

Chloe cat science cats! cardboard space shuttle Atlantis costume Halloween Josef Spalenka
The photograph that inspired this series. Chloe inside my cardboard Space Shuttle Atlantis costume from Halloween 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin.

I hope you enjoyed these images of our cat, Chloe, reveling in the wonders of science and exploring the Cosmos! Let me know in the comments if you have any ideas or requests for future "Science Cats!" images, and I can add them to Science Cats Volume 2. And feel free to copy, link, and share with your friends, family, and coworkers!


  1. Great post. How about a picture of Chloe meeting Copernicus? I'm sure he'd be interested to know the world now revolves around cat pictures ;)

    1. Thanks for the comment! And thanks for your suggestion, I'll try to do one with her in an image with Copernicus (or something to do with geocentrism/heliocentrism) next!

    2. Hi Emma, I made a new one with Chloe and Copernicus and posted it here (because the original post was starting to run overly long):

      Thanks for the nice suggestion!

  2. This is wonderful!!... I really enjoyed seeing Chloe throughout history....

  3. These are great! Hope you will continue the series :)