Friday Squid Blogging: Preserving Giant Squid
At the Smithsonian:
At the centerof the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History's gleaming new Sant Ocean Hall lies a preserved giant female squid -- the arresting, spineless star among the vibrant exhibition's animal specimens. Tentacles menacingly outstretched and seemingly frozen in time, the 24-foot squid embodies humans' fascination with the briny deep. But this squid also symbolizes something else: an ongoing experiment in the chemistry of preservation, without which the Smithsonian's new exhibition would not have been possible.
Also note the terrorism tie-in:
To create the exhibit, the Smithsonian had to work around post-9/11 rules restricting flammable materials, while maximizing the lifelike appearance of the squid for public display. They turned not to formalin or ethanol, but to a new fluorinated chemical called Novec, developed by 3M.
If we give up our preserved giant squids, then surely the terrorists have won.
Posted on November 21, 2008 at 4:20 PM • 16 Comments