METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cyanotype light micrograph of a diatom, attributed to Austrian botanist Julius Wiesner (1838-1916). Diatoms are single-celled photosynthetic algae, of which there are about 100,000 species. They have mineralised cell walls (frustules) that contain silica and provide protection and support. The diatoms form an important part of the plankton at the base of the marine and freshwater food chains. The cyanotype 'blueprinting' imaging technique was invented by British astronomer John Herschel (1792-1871). This cyanotype dates from the 1870s.
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