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Maker(s):Abbott, Berenice
Culture:American (1898-1991)
Title:The Science Pictures: Soap Bubbles
Date Made:1982
Materials:Gelatin silver print
Measurements:Mat: 30 in x 24 in; 76.2 cm x 61 cm; Sheet: 19 1/4 in x 15 1/8 in; 48.9 cm x 38.4 cm
Narrative Inscription:  INSCRIPTION: recto, lwr. l. (pencil): 31/60; SIGNATURE: recto, lwr. r. (pencil): Berenice Abbott; INSCRIPTION: verso, ctr. (stamp, black ink): BERENICE ABBOTT / THE SCIENCE PICTURES; PARASOL PRESS LTD.1982 / ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Accession Number:  MH 1983.21.7
Credit Line:Gift of Joseph R. and Ruth Lasser (Ruth H. Pollak, Class of 1947)
Museum Collection:  Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

Close-up view of soap bubbles.

Label Text:
In the bath tub, in your hand, or in the laundry machine, bubbles are everywhere. This picture captures that breath-taking moment before bubbles pop—scientifically, when the air pressure inside the bubbles is just a bit higher than the pressure outside. The curvature of the bubble is achieved by surface tension, which tries to pull molecules of water and soap into the tightest possible grouping. When the internal pressure of multiple merging bubbles is exactly equal to one another, the surface tension creates a perfect flat surface between bubbles—seen in the straight lines in this picture. The fragility of bubbles can be interpreted as reflecting the vulnerability of life. When the bubbles of our life pop in this great universe, who will hear it?

-Shion Kubota ’19, Society of Physics Students, Mount Holyoke College (Oct. 2017)

science; patterns

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