New museum display!

For the past few months, I’ve been working on a museum display featuring my leaf research. The display was commissioned through the University of Arizona’s Science and Society program. After two weeks of focused work in a wood / machine shop, I’ve finally finished the display. As of Friday evening, it’s up at the Flandrau Science Center. The display features interactive question and a set of preserved leaves that you can handle and magnify. After a few preliminary observations on Saturday, I think it’s likely to be a success!

The leaves you see in this picture are mounted in clear resin on plexiglass cutouts. I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to successfully produce large, bubble-free, flat, scratch-free objects with no defects in the leaves. With my undergraduate students we went through four or five iterations of the process before converging on a final method. Email me if you want to make some of your own!

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Sezgi says:

    This seems really interesting. I would like to make this on my own.

  2. leilei says:

    The leaves are so cute.And I want to make it myself.If you can,please send me the points of this work.I tried,but failded.

  3. leilei says:

    Thanks very much.I will try the new methds.

  4. Ali says:

    The leaf-vein architecture seems really neat. I would like to do something like it for my science fair project. Thanks for inspiring me!

    1. bblonder says:

      Let me know if you want advice or help!

      1. Ali Huxman says:

        I’m going to use four different variables:
        High Temp
        Low Temp

        I don’t know how much of what yet, but it will play out over time. I will probably use about 8 annuals in each area (I don’t have ideas for plants yet ): ) and then look at the leaves somehow. It’s a really messy sketch of what I probably will do…. any advice on plants?

      2. bblonder says:

        Hi Ali,

        I think my answer depends on what part of the leaves you want to look at. If you want to look at the veins, you will have to work very hard – the chemical steps you need to do to see leaf veins require a lot of time. Maybe you could look at leaf shape or size instead? My only advice for the plants to use is that you should choose ones that aren’t really tiny – you’ll just have a hard time working with them (or losing them). Feel free to email me ( if you want to talk more about help for your project, and good luck!

  5. Ali Huxman says:

    OK. Thanks for helping me narrow it down. I really want to do veins, and think if I would I might be able to use a light table.


    1. bblonder says:

      Good luck! You can make your own light table with some white plexiglass and some fluorescent lights, or buy one for about $50. Let me know if you need advice on what to get.

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