Answer to the Friday Whatsit for February 25, 2011
Congratulations to Kaleigh, who guessed correctly that this is crystallized salt. More specifically, its what’s left when the experiment someone is running dries up and all that is left is the salt from the saline solution their cells were growing in.
I ran the image through an unsharp mask image processing algorithm to increase the contrast and make for a more artistic sort of picture.
Biological systems thrive on salts. There is a lot of salt in solution inside all of our cells, and so when growing them in a culture dish, the balance of salt outside has to be maintained or else the cells will bloat up and pop. Osmosis anyone?