What am I looking at? Rainbow Riddle

Portuguese Version


The images created during the daily scientific and medical endeavours at the Champalimaud Foundation can be as beautiful and compelling as any work of art. To the untrained eye, these images might also appear baffling, but, if you know what you’re looking at, they may just reveal information that can spark discoveries, contribute to the improvement of patient quality of life and maybe even alter our understanding of reality.

Through a combination of images, sound and text, each edition of this series asks Champalimaud Foundation researchers and clinicians to consider images from their own work, decoding these complex visuals and deepening our understanding of their work through this simple question: “What am I looking at?”

Who says scientific graphs have to be in boring colours? For the fourth edition of ‘What am I looking at?’, the Champalimaud Foundation’s Lung Unit has provided a rainbow-inspired image, and when you discover what it represents, it may leave you breathless!

“What could pass for a multicoloured mountain range actually illustrates how a simple breath test is being used to screen for cancer.

Powerful chemical analysis techniques with fancy names – such as gas chromatography or ion mobility spectrometry – can be used to separate a breath’s complex mixture into its individual molecular components.

This image shows us the different types of components. The peaks and valleys tell us how much of each molecule is present – the taller the peak, the more there is of that molecule. The spectrum of colours, from purple to red, helps highlight these differences in concentration.

Using something as simple and non-invasive as a patient’s breath, clinicians and researchers are able to utilise this data to screen for early-stage lung cancer.”

Original Idea: John Lee
Concept Development & Curation: António Monteiro, Carla Emilie Pereira, Catarina Ramos, Diana Cadete, Hedi Young, João Van Zelst, John Lee, Marta Correia and Teresa Fernandes
Source (Text & Image): Champalimaud Foundation Lung Unit
Script: Hedi Young and John Lee
Design: Carla Emilie Pereira
Narration: Hedi Young and Marta Correia
Sound: João Van Zelst
Translation: Catarina Ramos
Dissemination: Diana Cadete

Loading Likes...