Nature - The Source of Wonder

What's this all about?

Down through the ages, Man has gained wonder and inspiration from observing the natural world around us. The ability to observe has been hindered to a large extent by the limitations of our 5 senses, i.e., Sight, Sound, Touch, Smell and Taste.

Predominantly Sight. What we could see had a huge bearing on our understanding of what we observed. The macroscopic dictated our conclusions about the object we were observing. Until recent centuries, when the magnifying glass microscope became available, we could not peer down into the depths of detail which would inform us further, and with more accuracy.

This especially was true of our understanding of the human body. The nature of our skin; the blood; our eyes; our brain; the true nature of hair and fur. Also the mechanisms of sexual reproduction; what brought about the creation of a baby. Disease processes became understood. Microscopic parasites became known.

Effects on our social interactions Consider our current-day understanding of the reproductive process. Today, we know that there is both an ovum (the female egg) and the spermatozoa (the male "seed") contributing to the embryo which ultimately becomes the young child. Before this knowledge came about, there could be no knowledge of the ovum even existing. You could barely see it with the naked eye, even if you were allowed morally to get close enough to the female insides to have a look. It was obvious to the eye that something came out of the male's penis, and this went into the female and somehow got incubated in there. It was believed that a spirit, the Wonder of God, gave life to that semen. (Understandably that is still accepted to be the case today, of course.) That there might be a biological contribution by the mother was not even considered, I suppose.

So, we can see that the microscope has allowed science to educate us much more deeply. There are probable many more examples of this which you might be able to think of. It shows you the magnitude of importance which can be given to scientific understanding. It can change society's attitude over time.

I have taken a few photographs, just on my doorstep so-to-speak, to show you a couple of examples where you can obtain a new understanding and a new sense of wonder.

The first pictures are close-ups of the aquatic fern, Azolla filiculoides, which is mentioned in my previous hub about cleaning up grey water. The fern is so small we tend to only observe it as a green/pink mass on the water surface - and leave it at that. Yet, shown close-up, it has a beauty of its own.

The second set of pictures show the annoying little burrs which get caught on our trousers and socks when walking through grassy areas and woodlands. You might think the burrs get stuck on you because the tips are a bit like Velcro fastening tape - little turned-over hooks. Yet, have a close look: beautifully designed, backward-facing barbs! No wonder they are so difficult to remove from our clothing! What is the purpose of this? Well, each set of barbs is attached to one seed. It gives the plant an enormous potential for spreading it's genes far and wide, on the fur of an animal.

I bought myself a little digital microscope, from Kaiser Baas, the other week. It's a great source of fun and inspiration. Maybe someone will get some artistic ideas from this little Hub. Hope so. Wishing you success.

Magnified Insights

Further studies

A spider observed in the mulch, on the floor of the forest. Mundane? Maybe, on first impressions. However, when a photograph was taken with my cell phone (HTC Wildfire), using an Australian 20-cent coin as a measurement guide, it was a very reasonable photo.

Little Miss Muffet's Friend

Spider on the right, with Australian 20-cent coin for comparing size
Spider on the right, with Australian 20-cent coin for comparing size

That photo could then be cropped and the spider displayed thus, below. In fact zooming in on the camera gives a much more detailed picture. If you used something like Bluetooth, from a LAPTOP computer directly into the students' cell-phones, that would be a great way to use modern technology.

Anyone who can give us a Latin name for this beautiful creature (seen from the eye of a human, not that of a fly!), please let us know in the Comments, thank you.
Anyone who can give us a Latin name for this beautiful creature (seen from the eye of a human, not that of a fly!), please let us know in the Comments, thank you.

Further Insights of Beauty

Bougainvillea - the beautiful colour of the Bracts contrast with the mundane, petite, true flower in the middle.
Bougainvillea - the beautiful colour of the Bracts contrast with the mundane, petite, true flower in the middle.
What fruit do you think this is?    I will wait to see if anyone comes up with the right answer in Comments.   Then give you the answer.
What fruit do you think this is? I will wait to see if anyone comes up with the right answer in Comments. Then give you the answer.
Thanks to everyone at Lane Cove.... hope this Hub interests you.
Thanks to everyone at Lane Cove.... hope this Hub interests you. | Source

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Comments 14 comments

help101 profile image

help101 4 years ago

I am always seeing minute ways of cleaning up the environment or generating energy. Not many people know these concepts, especially what you have here. The other barrier to their mass adoption is their scale ability and profitability.

I hope as the earth becomes more knowledgeable, we shall find mass ways of using natural means to deal with pollution. I like green, but living in a city now leaves me with less of it to stare at.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania Author

Thank you Chris... I was wondering when someone would give me a comment into this Hub. I am honoured that you are the first.

Do you have access to a microscope? Do you have any young people around you who would be interested? Even "grown up kids," in other words who might be 50+ years old, who would like to see a bit more of the micro- world?

Even that bit of mud or slime, which you find around garbage, has an enormous number of microbes feeding on it. They are essential in the process of turning that mud into useful growing medium for plants.

Please keep sharing.


help101 profile image

help101 4 years ago

Jonny, I don't have access to a microscope right now. I was a horticulture major in campus and got exposed to a lot of botany. I have a friend who would be interested. I am sending this article to him. I will also keep sharing.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania Author

Chris, I am giving further thought to how we can use modern technology to explore the smaller realms of life.

I have an HTC Wildfire cell phone. It's a bit more than I really wanted in technology, because lots of things to do with it are just beyond my ability right now. If I gave it to a 7-year old child, they would be streets ahead of me, a 70-year old!

However, it has come in really useful because the camera facility is amazing. I will add a couple of photos to my Hub above, which will explain a bit better. I saw a spider in the mulch under my forest. The spider was not very big, just the size of our 20-cent piece (28mm dia.)

I took a photo, using the coin as a gauge of measurement. When I zoom into the picture it's amazing the extra detail that becomes apparent - even the hairs on the spider's legs!

Probably the I-Phone works just as well or perhaps better. If any of your students or young friends have cell phones which can do this, it would give you a big new realm to explore with them..... the macroscopic.


Olde Cashmere profile image

Olde Cashmere 4 years ago from Michigan, United States

It's amazing how far we have come in understanding the world around us. What's even more amazing is how we still know very little. This is a remarkable hub and it ignited my imagination greatly. Thanks for sharing this with us. Gorgeous pictures as well. Voted up, awesome, and interesting :)


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 4 years ago from Tasmania Author

Thank U !


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 24 months ago from Essex, UK

Interesting read Alan. And nice to see a promotion of the microscope as a tool for ordinary people to use (not just schools and laboratories). I have a microscope at home which I've had ever since I was a teenager when I used it for looking at pond life - single celled animals and algae - and for such things as pollen grains and onion cells. I confess it's sat redundant in a spare room for all these years, because for some obscure reason adults just seem to lose the enthusiasm that children have for such things.

That 'sense of wonder' as you put it, at the world of the very small should be rekindled in all of us because it is fascinating what can be explored even with a fairly basic microscope. I shall have to dust mine off!

Voted up Alan, because anyone who wants to stimulate their minds should consider gaining access to a microscope and using it to learn about hidden nature. Best wishes, Alun


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 24 months ago from Tasmania Author

Thank you, Alun. To stimulate enthusiasm is such a wonderful aspect of communication. It costs nothing to the initiator. It's priceless for the inspired.


Popit profile image

Popit 19 months ago from Brittany

This hub is fantastic, why have you stopped? I not only enjoyed reading it but marveled at the wonderful close up photography. I shall enjoy reading the rest. You really are my cup of tea :) I can't believe that anyone visiting your hub could do anything other but vote it up.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 19 months ago from Tasmania Author

Thank you so much Kathryn. Being able to inspire is a great leap for both of us.

You might be interested in this snippet of information about the humble cabbage family. They all come from a wild cabbage originating from both sides of the English Channel....(sorry, La Manche).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brassica_oleracea

Wishing you exciting times.


Chris Mills 19 months ago

This is a very insightful and interesting article, jonnycomelately. The photography was very enjoyable as well.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 19 months ago from Tasmania Author

Thank you Chris.... and welcome to HubPages. I hope you find lots more interest here, and look forward to hearing of your own interests.


Discordzrocks profile image

Discordzrocks 8 months ago from Austin TX

So true, nature is everywhere and I believe its better than any computer.

Typing this up on my computer


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 8 months ago from Tasmania Author

Beautiful, isn't it. Enjoy!

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