In 1959, the great English chemist and writer C.P. Snow delivered a now-famous lecture called The Two Cultures, in which he lamented the immense gulf between the sciences and the arts in modern society.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
Every year, an exhibition called the Art of Science at Princeton attempts to bridge that divide. Open to all researchers — from undergrad up to professors, and even alumni — the competition attempts to find the most beautiful images "produced during the course of scientific inquiry."
Take this year's winner, Watermarks (above). The photo was captured by Sara Sadri, a Canadian who until recently was a postdoctoral researcher in hydrology at the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Sadri was strolling along a beach in New Jersey last Octover when she was taken by the pattern created by water on the sand. "The water pattern inspired me a lot because if you look closely at the pattern, you can even detect a crowd of people gathered together looking into the future with their hair together blown in the wind," she writes. "It is amazing how the nature created this piece of art and left it there to be discovered."
Sadri clearly thinks there's more art to be gleaned from nature: she's headed to film school at the University of Southern California in the fall, where, she writes, "I am looking forward to creating more artistic works with science in the background."
In the gallery above, we've compiled some of the best shots from this year's competition (including the People's Choice winner, of fruit fly ovaries). You can see the full gallery of the 44 finalists on the Art of Science website.