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Organic matter, part of what makes up living organisms, can be defined as material in the process of decay. Though life may be gone, it’s not forgotten, as this matter cycles back through the ecosystem—creating new opportunities for life. Tonight, scale down to the smallest forms of life to discover how organisms break down and understand the journey they take to reincarnate anew.
This month’s After Dark Online is a get-together to fall apart. As autumn sets in, trees become bare, and the northern hemisphere begins to chill, we’re exploring processes of decay, entropy, and how things come apart, making way for revisions and new arrangements.
Decomposing Images with Alex Pinigis
Guess what you’re seeing in these close-up images of decomposition.
Decay with Odd Salon
Curated by Kate O'Donnell, the program includes:
The Tragic Death and Hopeful Legacy of the World's Oldest Tree with Christina Liu
In 1964, a young geographer unknowingly killed the oldest tree in the world. Despite the untimely demise of this special tree, it changed his career and the scientific community's perception of age, radioactive decay, and climate change.
Incorruptible: Padre Pio's Life After Death with Egan Hirvela, Odd Salon Fellow
Padre Pio has long been a notable figure in the Catholic Church. Part of the conditions for his canonization was to have his body exhumed in 2008 to see if his mortal remains were “incorruptible”. But what does incorruptibility mean? Why does it happen, and what causes it?
Energy from Death
A decaying carcass makes a perfect meal for an assortment of scavengers, including the dermestid beetles you can see in this five-minute video documenting our famous exhibit. As they feast on these carcasses, the dermestid beetles and their larvae get their energy and nutrients from the dried flesh, skin, and other tissues.
Try your compost pile at home with this Science Snack: Productive Poop
Check out this meditative profile of San Francisco’s famous Columbarium: Death and Life Combined