Sand: the epitome of a relaxing vacation by the water for thousands around the world. But, what’s in sand? What makes up its grainy texture that smoothes your skin and hurts your eyes? Dr. Gary Greenberg wondered the same thing when he first started checking out sand under his microscope. What started with simple curiosity led Greenberg to something beautiful. With magnifications of up to 250 times, Greenberg used acupuncture needles to arrange his specimen and then started photographing it. The beauty of what Greenberg found left him speechless. “Every time I look through my microscope I am fascinated by the complexity and individuality created by a combination of nature and the repeated tumbling of the surf on a beach,” Greenberg stated to Catalyst in October, 2011.
Greenberg adds that studying sand doesn’t only make for marvelous pictures; it can reveal the history of a place both geologically and biologically. For example, a grain of sand from the desert will probably be pitted or covered in pock-marks from where it collided with other grains while a grain of sand from the ocean will have a much smoother surface.