Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ode to Dew

Drops of water formed by the condensation of moisture in the air is dew. Dew occurs when the moisture in the air is cooled to its dew point.


Dew drops assumes the shape that minimizes the sum of its gravitational energy and its surface tension. Surface tension is expressed as force per unit length. Water has a surface tension of 0.072 N/m.
Man's life is like a drop of dew on a leaf.
The shape of a dew drop cannot be described by a closed form mathematical function. The governing differential equations do not have a closed form solution, so must be integrated numerically to trace the profile of a drop (cf. The profile of a dew drop).

A drop of dew cupped in the leaf of the common garden nasturtium.
The person who doesn't scatter the morning dew will not comb gray hairs.
- Hunter S. Thompson

The term refraction describes the deflection of light that occurs when light waves travel through a change in medium (e.g., from air to water). Water droplets refract light like a lens.
When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.
- Travels in Alaska by John Muir, 1915, chapter 1, page 5.
Refraction Photograph by Markus Reugels
Photographer Markus Reugels uses the refraction of light in water to create still life images in a drop of water.