Like every new discovery, this one began with a question: how would the tears of joy look like under a microscope compared to one of grief? Rose-Lynn Fisher asked herself that question kept on exploring.
She studied 100 different tears under a microscope and found that, for example, that basal tears (the ones that our body produces to lubricate our eyes) are far different than the ones when we are chopping onions. The tears that come from stomach-pain-type-of-laughter are not even similar to the ones of sorrow. Each and every tear carries different artwork under a microscope.
Her project is called The Topography of Tears.
TEARS FROM LAUGHING UNTIL CRYING
TEARS OF CHANGE
TEARS OF GRIEF
TEARS FROM ONIONS
There are 3 types of tears, as explained by Joseph Stromberg of the Smithsonian’s Collage of Arts and Sciences: basal, reflex and psychic (which are triggered by emotions). All tears contain organic substances like oils, antibodies, and enzymes that are suspended in salt water. Different types of tears have distinct molecules. For example, emotional tears have protein-based hormones including the neurotransmitter leucine enkephalin, which works as a natural painkiller that is released when we are stressed. Fisher said, “There are so many variables—there’s the chemistry, the viscosity, the setting, the evaporation rate and the settings of the microscope.”
TEARS OF TIMELESS REUNION
TEARS OF ENDING AND BEGINNING
TEARS OF MOMENTUM, REDIRECTED
TEARS OF RELEASE
TEARS OF POSSIBILITY AND HOPE
TEARS OF ELATION AT A LIMINAL MOMENT
TEARS OF REMEMBRANCE
Like snow flakes and fingerprints, no tears look the same. I can’t believe the difference between all of these. The more we know, the more we don’t know and have yet to explore the wonders of the human body.
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