A Scientist Placed Tears Under A Microscope. What He Saw… I’m Stunned.
Maurice Mikkers is called the "Tearcatcher" and here's why. According to his TED Talk in Amsterdam, Mikkers was diagnosed as dyslexic when he was a child and spent all his time and money on physics, mathematics, and chemistry and behind a computer. He eventually became a medical laboratory analyst, but later transitioned to photography to cultivate his creative interests.
In January 2015, Maurice was working on the crystallization of Diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, when he bumped his toe against the table. Hard.
It isn't surprising considering his backgrounds that he couldn't help but think about capturing the tear with a micro pipet. Afterwards, he transferred the tears bit by bit onto a microscope slide. He was amazed at what he saw when he peered through the eyepiece.
"It was shaped like a little planet," he said in one account. "And its landscape showed beautiful patterns and shapes. At that moment I was surprised and 'hooked' at the same time."
He spent the next few days trying to find ways to make himself cry just so he could observe more of his tears! In March, he invited his friends over and they chose between one of three types of tears to cry:
Basal: Ever looked into a fan or played the 'Staring Game'? Each of these result in basal tears.
Reflex: These come from eating peppers or cutting onions.
Emotional: It's just like how it sounds -- crying from happiness, sadness, pain, or another emotion.
Each set of tears came out as beautiful and unique as a snowflake, and the event, dubbed the "Imaginarium of Tears," was held another time with a different set of volunteers.
Scroll below for some examples from his incredible collection.
Here's a shot of Mikkers's first tear, an emotional tear of pain:
Basal Tears 1: Produced after looking into a fan for a few minutes.
Basal Tears 2: Produced after looking into a fan for a few minutes.
Reflex Tear 1: Produced after cutting white onions.
Reflex Tear 2: Produced after eating a mini red chili pepper.
Reflex Tear 3: Produced after cutting white onions, putting pepper in the eyes, snorting water and eating a red pepper.
Emotional Tear 1: Sadness
Emotional Tear 2: Complete frustration.
Emotional Tear 3: Goodbye.
Emotional Tear 4: Happiness.
To read more about Maurice Mikkers's project, including his process and techniques, click here.
Fascinated in the beauty of tears? Make sure to check out Rose-Lynn Fisher's project, The Topography of Tears.