Caravaggio, The Ecstasy of St. Francis (c. 1594/5)
All of a sudden there was a dazzling light. It was as though the heavens were exploding and splashing forth all their glory in millions of waterfalls of colours and stars. And in the centre of that bright whirlpool was a core of blinding light that flashed down from the depths of the sky with terrifying speed until suddenly it stopped, motionless and sacred, above a pointed rock in front of Francis. It was a fiery figure with wings, nailed to a cross of fire. … The sparkling features of the Being wore an expression of supernatural beauty and grief. It was the face of Jesus, and Jesus spoke. Then suddenly streams of fire and blood shot from His wounds and pierced the hands and feet of Francis with nails and his heart with the stab of a lance. As Francis uttered a mighty shout of joy and pain, the fiery image impressed itself into his body, as into a mirrored reflection of itself, with all its love, its beauty, and its grief. And it vanished within him. Another cry pierced the air. Then, with nails and wounds through his body, and with his soul and spirit aflame, Francis sank down, unconscious, in his blood.
Proboscis of a moth
Butterflies and moths have a very tight evolutionary relationship with the flowers on which they feed. They feed with a long, coiled, straw-like mouthpart called a proboscis. Because flowers come in all different shapes and sizes, butterflies and moths need to evolve mouthparts that can reach the nectar inside different flowers. In fact, Charles Drawin once examined a flower with a nectary hidden nearly 12 inches inside the plant and predicted a moth must exist with an equally long proboscis to feed on that flower. The existence of such a moth was discovered 40 years later.
Image by Dr. Igor Siwanowicz, HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campus.
Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, the first black woman to earn a doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in nuclear physics.