Is that beer on your tie?

A molecular biophysicist helps fund his lab with lush microphotos that decorate neckties, calendars and greeting cards

Carlin Flora
Oct 19, 2006
In Michael Davidson's photographs, a Tylenol pill looks like a tie-dyed explosion, a drop of Pina Colada appears to be an array of peacock feathers, and an Intel microprocessor resembles a futuristic urban map. To achieve these effects, he gets close to his subjects -- really close. For the past 35 years, the molecular biophysicist, who heads up the Microscopy Office at Florida State University's National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, has captured the intricate universes under his microscope slides and developed them into vivid works of abstract art. The lush images have been reproduced on neckties, calendars, sportswear, and greeting cards. Though he never studied art or photography, Davidson has landed an astonishing 1,500 magazine covers. And his lab's artistic arm, Molecular Expressions, has created nearly 750,000 images, including microphotos of DNA, vitamins, pharmaceuticals and beer, to name a few. (The lab is always looking for original samples....

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