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Tropicos 2019

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Art and science on the same wavelength

Our sun emits a broad spectrum of radiation. We humans only see light in wavelengths from 400 nanometers to about 750 nanometers—deep violet to deep red. We tend to assume that our view of the world is universal, but the surprising capabilities of other animals reveal whole new worlds. Biologists have been mistaken when we interpret patterns expressed by other organisms through our own filters.

This issue of Tropicos explores some of the intersections between tropical biology research and perception, color and vision. We were inspired by the new, kinetic work of art at our Panama headquarters, Chromoestructura Smithsonian, designed by Venezuelan artist, Carlos Cruz-Diez.

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