Looking at Tears under a Microscope reveals a Shocking Fact.
Hoax or Fact:
These messages shared online, mostly through social networking sites, claim to show that Human Tears under a Microscope revealed a shocking fact. Yes, it's a fact! When photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher studied the patterns of human tears from various emotions close under a microscope, she observed drastic difference, and they looked like Aerial Views of Earth.
How it Started
Rose-Lynn Fisher was going through a bad phase back in 2008, when she lost couple of dear ones, and her own life was in a state of flux. She was crying a lot. One day, instead of wiping away her tears, when Fisher stopped to look at the droplets of her tears, an idea sprung up. She wondered what and how it would look if she photographed her tears under a microscope?
Fisher was always interested in microscopic work, and when she looked through the lens at her first couple of tears, some wet, some dry, she was surprised to discover some of the tears in fact looked like aerial shots. This is because microscopic view of all the water, proteins, minerals, hormones, antibodies and enzymes in the tears appeared like aerial view of land forms.
Since her first observation made her curious, Rose-Lynn Fisher started a personal project called 'The Topography of Tears,' where she tried to gather and document the three types of tears; basal (lubricant), reflex (like tears when exposed to irritants like onion), and emotional (like weeping). She tested these dried human tears under microscope, and photographed more than 100 tears that came from her as well as some volunteers, which also included a newborn baby.
As shown in Image Gallery, Fisher captured the microscopic patterns of various tears in extreme detail. She wondered whether the tears of joy would differ from that of sadness, and if men’s tears would differ from women's. Expressing surprise about how tears could reveal our feelings, Fisher also wondered if her photos that looked like landscapes can become a map that reveals the human emotional moment that caused the tear.
After Rose-Lynn Fisher's project 'The Topography of Tears' received wide attention, Joseph Stromberg of the Smithsonian’s Collage of Arts and Sciences gave a clarification on her findings. As mentioned above, he explained that there are three major types of tears: basal, reflex, and psychic (emotional), and all types of tears contain organic substances including oils, antibodies and enzymes, suspended in salt water. Different types of tears have distinct molecules, and moreover, the tears seen under microscope are crystallized salt that can be in different shapes and forms. This means, even psychic tears with the same chemical composition can look very different. That is to say, the topography of tears varies based on many factors. In his own words, “There are so many variables—there’s the chemistry, the viscosity, the setting, the evaporation rate and the settings of the microscope.”
Like fingerprints and snowflakes, no tears are alike. Asserting the same, Rose-Lynn Fisher said that her overall project is purely art, meant for her own visual exploration.