utism is a poorly-understood neurological disorder that can impair an individual’s ability to engage in various social interactions. But little 5-year-old Iris Grace in the UK is an excellent example of the unexpected gifts that autism can also grant – her exceptional focus and attention to detail have helped her create incredibly beautiful paintings that many of her fans (and buyers) have likened to Monet’s works.
Little Iris is slowly learning to speak, whereas most children have already begun to speak at least a few words by age 2. Along with speech therapy, her parents gradually introduced her to painting, which is when they discovered her amazing talent.
“We have been encouraging Iris to paint to help with speech therapy, joint attention and turn taking,” her mother, Arabella Carter-Johnson, explains on her website. “Then we realised that she is actually really talented and has an incredible concentration span of around 2 hours each time she paints. Her autism has created a style of painting which I have never seen in a child of her age, she has an understanding of colours and how they interact with each other.”
A graduate student has created the first man-made biological leaf. It absorbs water and carbon dioxide to produce oxygen just like a plant. He did this by suspending chloroplasts in a mixture made out of silk protein. He believed it can be used for many things but the most striking one is the thought that it could be used for long distance space travel. Plants do not grow in space, but this synthetic material can be used to produce oxygen in a hostile environment. (Video)